(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
If the Second Lebanon War would have broken out in three or four years time, Hizbullah might have acquired weapons of mass destruction, Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog said in his testimony to the Winograd Committee quoted by Israel Radio Thursday.
Herzog, who held the tourism portfolio during the war, began his testimony optimistically: "I constantly claim, as painful as the war was, that we were lucky that it started at the time it did and not several years from now."
Herzog added that "the war exposed our weaknesses and perhaps even brought about some amendments. The war may not have been a 'knock out' war, but it did bring about change and I am ready to justify its achievements."
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Herzog criticized the IDF's coordination with the government.
"The general feeling was that the military did not 'come up with the goods' throughout the process. When did these faults begin to seep through? I'd say ten days after the war broke out. Rumors started circulating, especially from the media, that the air force struck the same target multiple times and that Katyusha rockets were still being fired from the same location. It took the political echelon time to realize this. Like everyone, we believed that the military was functioning well but I think a degree of mediocrity was exposed in many vital systems," Herzog said.
Herzog also added the Kafr Kana incident, in which several Lebanese civilians, including children, were killed by an IAF strike, set back the IDF by almost a week, "changed the balance and reopened the whole issue," referring to the international community's condemnation of the operation, that at the later stages of the war caused the IDF to reconsider its strategy, changing the battle from that of surgical air-strikes to a strategy of wide incursions by infantry and tanks.
Finally, Herzog said the media's quickness and accuracy worked into the hands of the enemy. "It was clear they had intelligence rooms dedicated to Israeli media, all they had to do [to improve their strikes] was to listen."
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