Overnight between Sunday and Monday, foreign reports attributed an attack in Syria to the IDF.
This is the first attack attributed to the IDF since July 28 when news first broke that around 700 IDF air force reservists had actually quit in protest against the government’s judicial reform.
Unlike in March, when many people were signing letters, but bluffing or still sitting on the fence, these around 700 had actually quit, and at the same time as around 10,000 reservists announced they would quit in the broader military.
Many questioned whether the air force could continue to function with such stark losses.
Did the likely IDF attack on Syria prove that somehow the air force is still able to carry out all of the many security needs the country relies on it on?
Is the IDF still ready for battle?
The answer is likely that it is a positive sign for the moment about the IDF’s readiness, but that no one can make any guarantees going forward far into the future.
First of all, the general picture is constantly evolving week by week.
In May, the IDF could report that its incoming draft statistics remained relatively consistent with past numbers, in spite of the judicial overhaul debate and reservist quitting wave. Some partial statistics also came out regarding July, but it is still too soon to know if that picture has changed following July 28.
Anecdotally, young IDF recruits seem to be less impacted regarding being drafted into the IDF than older reservists, but that could change if the crisis continues to drag.
Also, new recruits, while crucial for the future, are relatively useless to the air force for now. It can take several years or more before a new recruit gets assigned to be a pilot in complex combat missions.
The July 19 attack on Syria was the last one attributed by foreign sources to the IDF before Monday.
That attack on Syria did come around the same time that the IDF confirmed a spike of hundreds of reservists quitting up from only dozens at earlier points.
Some interpreted that attack as a signal to Iranian proxies in Syria, Hezbollah, and others that the air force was still fully operational.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that while the IDF views itself as able to continue routine MABAM “war between the wars” campaign operations in Syria and elsewhere with its current reservist losses, this might not apply if Israel was engaged in a wider war.
The difference is basically that routine attacks in Syria and the region require a limited number of aircraft.
A minimum number of experienced fighter pilots can keep those going.
In contrast, a broader operation against Iran or a war with Hezbollah, if necessary, would require “all hands on deck,” and the air force might suffer significant losses in firepower and efficiency, even if it could still fight.
Top IDF official statements have also gradually shifted from saying that the IDF is fully ready, to that it is generally ready, but already damaged and with potentially more significant damage in September and October if the crisis is not solved.
So it would seem that the attack in Syria announced Monday would indicate that Israel’s MABAM is still on track for now, but with little in terms of guarantees for the future.