(photo credit: IDF)
Former OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Udi Adam, who was officially replaced Monday by Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, warned those attending his farewell ceremony that the lack of "loyalty and camaraderie" was the true failure of the IDF revealed by the war in Lebanon.
"I want to make it clear that professional problems and lessons about the use of forces - these are fixable. But the main failures I identified and experienced during the war had to do with ethical principles such as loyalty and camaraderie," Adam said in a ceremony attended by IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, UNIFIL commander Alain Pellegrini, leaders of northern communities, and families of soldier and civilian's killed in the recent war.
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"There is no mechanical solution to these problems. These are deep-rooted and fundamental problems concerning norms and values, which demand the deepest soul-searching," said Adam, who resigned as the OC northern commander on September 13 following a much publicized rift with Halutz over the handling of the war.
Halutz sidelined Adam the last week of the fighting and appointed Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky as his personal representative in the North in response to criticism by the government over Adam's decision-making in the war.
At the time, senior officers close to Adam said he was "shocked and insulted" by Halutz's decision to appoint Kaplinsky to coordinate land, sea and air operations in Lebanon, but the outgoing commander was cordial Monday towards Halutz, thanking the IDF chief for appointing him to the position.
"This is neither the time nor the place to sum up what happened," Adam continued. "Everything is still fresh and shrouded in smoke. We are busy with investigations and with learning lessons. We must be prepared to draw conclusions from the mistakes made both before and during the war."
Adam formally handed over his post to Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, a commander from the Golani Brigade and the former head of the Israeli Operations Directorate.
Adam called his successor "honest, balanced and professional," and added that he had "no doubt" about Eizenkot's capabilities.
"You are receiving good command and good people who will be with you and believe in you and therefore you will be leading the way," he said.
Adam went on to praise his subordinate officers and said he trusted in their ability to march the army forward and to correct the most urgent inadequacies.
Eizenkot said "there is a change in the security situation along the northern border," and added that the IDF will continue to conduct a thorough investigation into the failures and successes of the war.
Also Monday, Halutz made a surprise visit to the 36th Division in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive inspection he will be conducting in the area in the coming days.
Halutz accompanied 60 officers and military staff members as they evaluated the level of readiness and fitness in the division, according to an IDF spokesperson.
The visit prompted speculation among military analysts that the army is increasing its presence in the region in anticipation of a second round of clashes with Hizbullah, and a possible confrontation with Syria.
Division 36, which is deployed on the Syrian front, has been on high preparedness since the war began on July 12. An IDF intelligence report released last week said that Syria had not returned to its pre-Lebanon war positions and had fortified posts along the length of the border with the Golan Heights.
Encouraged by the recent war between Israel and Syrian-backed Hizbullah, Syrian President Bashar Assad has promised to liberate the Golan Heights several times in fiery speeches and press interviews, making alternating offers for both war and peace to Israel.
"Assad is preparing his army for a confrontation with Israel," Yossi Beyditz, head of research for the IDF's intelligence branch told the Israeli cabinet in a briefing Monday morning.
"These are artillery, missiles and rockets positioned in forward positions. He is preparing for a defensive and not offensive response. He expects that Israel would want to attack him," Beyditz said.
Nonetheless, IDF spokesmen denied that the Chief of General Staff's surprise visit to Division 36 signified that a decision had been made to raise the army's level of alert on the Syrian front. Rather, they called Halutz's appearance in the North a routine inspection of an army division.
"There has been no significant increases in the army's deployment in the Golan," an army spokesmen said.
However, residents of the Golan Heights said that the army had been seen making repairs and fortifying the security fence in several areas.
Earlier this month, IDF officials dismissed comments Assad made to a Kuwaiti newspaper that his nation is prepared for war with Israel, calling the statements "a clumsy diplomatic maneuver."
However, a military source said officials are taking Assad's threats seriously, and troops have been ordered to elevate their level of alertness for a provocation by extremist elements in the region.
In July, foreign news outlets reported that Syria had formed a Hizbullah-like guerrilla organization to attack Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. The new Front for the Liberation of the Golan is made up of "hundreds" of Syrian volunteers, according to WND.
However, Assad has also reiterated several times in the last three months that he believed that peace with Israel could be achieved within six months if negotiations resumed where they left off during Ehud Barak's tenure as prime minister.
The investigative team is expected to submit its assessment of Division 36 to Halutz on Tuesday.
Numerous investigation teams were created following the war and have already found deficiencies in various divisions' emergency storage units, levels of alertness, and professionalism.