Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking with IDF officers during a special Gaza evaluation meeting .
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Bayit Yehudi Knesset faction chairwoman MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli has called on MK Avi Dichter, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to conduct surprise inspection visits at IDF bases around the country after serious concerns were raised about possible weaknesses in military preparedness.
The concerns were raised last Wednesday when IDF ombudsman Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick addressed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and revealed that senior IDF commanders have not told the truth about military preparedness.
“The IDF ombudsman, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, raises serious concerns about the readiness and qualifications of IDF sailors, the lack of manpower, and above all the fact that senior IDF officers are deliberately reporting falsely to us, members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,” wrote Moalem-Refaeli, who is also a member of the committee.
“Due to their severity, I hope that his words are incorrect,” she added. “Otherwise, we have to question whether the fact that Israel has refrained from carrying out a large-scale operation in Gaza is related to the defects he pointed out.”
“In light of this, as the body that supervises the work of the defense establishment and the Israel Defense Forces, we must examine these matters in depth, and therefore I call upon you to make a series of surprise visits to various IDF bases,” Moalem-Refaeli added.
According to her, surprise visits to bases will enable authorities to examine Brick’s claims, and if correct, “we will then be able to demand that the deficiencies be corrected as required, even if they are personal conclusions regarding officers who consciously gave incorrect reports.”
In his warning to the committee on Wednesday, Brick accused senior IDF commanders of lying about the IDF preparedness, writing: “What I’m presenting to you… you will not hear from the top brass of the IDF. Among many commanders, it’s not just that some aren’t aware, but that even those who are aware are afraid to tell, to bring it up, lest they be swallowed up.”
According to Brick, the military has also falsified the conditions of tanks and armored personnel carriers, quoting one officer as saying, “The work needed in order to fix a tank that’s back from training exercises takes at least two days. But in practice, we work on the tanks for just a few hours, leave them with problems and look the other way.”
Brick, who is set to resign after 10 years as IDF ombudsman has increasingly been warning about the military’s dire state.
“The gaps before us today require intensive work and foundational repairs. The mission will rest upon the shoulders of the incoming chief of staff,” he wrote.
In June he warned that there were “serious consequences” for the cutting of thousands of career soldiers under the army’s five-year-long Gideon Plan. While he did not directly touch on the IDF’s state of readiness, he was highly critical of training and the state of the weaponry used by the ground forces.
“It is impossible to hold the rope on both ends,” Brick wrote. “On the one hand, the tasks are increasing – and on the other there is extensive cross-cutting of manpower.”
The imbalance between the manpower remaining after the cuts and the increase of tasks not only places a “heavy burden” on the remaining personnel, but the increased pressure is “detrimental to the level of performance, discipline and motivation of the soldiers,” he wrote.
Following the June report, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot rejected most of the allegations and sent a comprehensive and classified report to the Security Cabinet and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, committing that the military is in a high state of readiness and preparedness for war with the signature of each general in charge of all military sectors.
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