Ben-Eliezer: The IDF misled Olmert

Infrastructures minister tells Winograd Israel made "all possible mistakes."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 18, 2007 17:52
2 minute read.
binyamin ben eliezer close up 298

binyamin ben eliezer. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

In his testimony to the Winograd Committee, National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer criticized the conduct of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz during last year's Second Lebanon War and the months leading up to it. Ben-Eliezer, however, qualified his remarks, stating that the IDF had not provided the prime minister with the full picture. "I think [the prime minister] was misled, and I'm putting this extremely mildly." The national infrastructure minister said that Israel's response to the kidnapping of the two soldiers was the correct one, but still, "we made all of the mistakes possible." "I cannot break free of the impression that an impossible constellation was created; that the prime minister woke up one fine morning to find that he is the prime minister - and I accept him - but the reality is that he is unfamiliar with the entire topic of defense- he never dealt with it." Like the prime minister, Peretz was not invulnerable to Ben-Eliezer's criticism. "The defense minister accepted his portfolio for lack of a better alternative. He said: 'I want the Treasury' and took the Defense Ministry." When asked about the fact that the IDF appeared to be utterly unprepared for the kidnapping of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev on July 12, the former defense minister acknowledged the army's lapse. "I confess that there was no assessment [that Hizbullah would kidnap additional soldiers.] There never was a situation evaluation that provided for a chance that - one fine day - Hizbullah would do what it did," Ben-Eliezer said. The national infrastructures minister told the committee that, popular opinion notwithstanding, two months before the war broke out a meeting geared towards preparing for an emergency situation was held in his office. "They told me I was a psychopath... I invited all of the representatives... Israel Police, the Home Front Command... and I deliberated with all of them. I said: 'I fear we will be attacked' - ergo, we were prepared in advance for [an attack]." When asked what he would have done had he had the clout to set defense policy, Ben-Eliezer said. "I would have deployed the army and waited a week. I would have forewarned the Lebanese and told them: 'My dear friends, these two boys will come home within two weeks. If not, no stone in Lebanon will be left unturned.'" "If you ask me about the odds for them returning the boys, [the answer is] one percent - but we would have had a week; to draft reservists and train them, to bolster [them with troops] from other divisions, and to be prepared."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN