The establishment of a "more professional unit" which would be incorporated as a strategic branch of the IDF was the main recommendation submitted Wednesday to the General Staff regarding the performance of the IDF Spokesperson's Office during the war in Lebanon. The report, assembled by a team of media experts, was presented to the General Staff by attorney Alon Gelert, former counsel-general at the Prime Minister's Office. The report called for more effective synchronization between different branches of the IDF, the lack of which, the committee claimed, impaired the military's ability to issue a unified message to the public during the war.
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In general, the committee commended the IDF Spokesperson's Office, led by Brig.-Gen. Miri Regev, for maintaining a policy of openness when it came to IDF operations inside Lebanon.
"We learned our lesson from Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield when we closed the area to reporters and we ended up with a UN probe of a massacre that never happened," explained one officer in Regev's office.
The report criticized the lack of military spokesmen in the North during the first two weeks of the war, when most of the work fell on the IDF Spokesperson's Office in the Northern Command, led at the time by Maj. Zvika Golan.
The committee cited examples of reporters who wandered around northern Israel without assistance from the IDF Spokesperson's Office.
"The unit needs to better synchronize things to deliver a clear message," said one member of the committee. "They need to be given more tools and behave like a more professional organization."
Other recommendations included appointing a spokesperson for the IDF Planning Directorate, in charge of military foreign relations. During the war, the directorate established a humanitarian center in Tel Aviv that coordinated with international organizations that evacuated foreigners from Lebanon.
"This was an example of a story that could only have improved Israel's image around the world," said one committee member. "But unfortunately there wasn't a spokesman there to get the media's attention."