While the IDF has encountered difficulties in supplying soldiers inside Lebanon over the past few weeks, if a new front opened against an enemy like Syria, the army would have sufficient resources, OC Logistics and Medical Branch Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
"There have been some problems in supplying equipment, water and food to the soldiers," Mizrachi said. "But we have solved the problems and Israel has the ability to equip and arm its soldiers to fight on another front if the need arises."
Mizrachi said the glitches were caused by the intensity of the fighting and the dangers involved in maintaining supply routes. "Getting food into Lebanon is like any other operation, like evacuating wounded under fire," he said. "During combat there are difficulties due to various threats and we do what we can to minimize the danger and to get the supplies to the soldiers in the field."
In some cases, Mizrachi said, IAF air-dropped supplies to troops. Now, with the IDF preparing for a possible long-term stay in Lebanon following the cease-fire slated to take effect on Monday morning, Mizrachi said, the Logistics and Medical Branch has prepared a plan on how it will supply troops in Lebanon until they are replaced by a multinational force. If Hizbullah honors the cease-fire, it will still be possible for the IDF to bring supplies to the troops, he said.
Mizrachi denied reports that soldiers had stolen from markets in Lebanese villages after they were left without food for days and in some cases for a week. One unit, he said, ran out of water and filled up at a nearby gas station. The general also denied reports that there were shortages of artillery shells, as well as flak jackets and helmets for reservists.
However the Post has learned that an elite reserve unit was forced to raise $40,000 from Jews in the US to purchase bullet proof vests for soldiers operating in Lebanon.
"The reservists who went into Lebanon were given everything that every soldier gets," Mizrachi said. "There were some problems but those were solved."
So why were there shortages? Lack of money, Mizrachi said, because of defense budget cuts. "Since we didn't have all the money we wanted we had to give priority to soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," he said. "I wish we had money to buy all the equipment we wanted but when there are budget constraints we need to decide what our priorities are."