'Severe failings' cited in defending home front

Report states IDF did not provide an effective response to rocket barrages which "lasted throughout the war."

car katyusha 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
car katyusha 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Although they were buried on one page amid over 600 other pages of findings, the Winograd Report's conclusions on the situation of the home front during the Second Lebanon War were emphatic and unwavering in their criticism of the IDF. "We found severe failings and flaws in the defense of the civilian population and in coping with its being attacked by rockets," said committee chairman Eliahu Winograd in his statement upon presenting the report. "The barrage of rockets aimed at Israel's civilian population lasted throughout the war, and the IDF did not provide an effective response to it." In his comments, Winograd went on to describe the war as "seriously disrupting the fabric of life." The report itself criticized the General Staff for "the consideration (or mostly lack thereof) of the home front." Without engaging in questions of preparedness or addressing the embattled Home Front Command in its unit-specific findings - as that issue was already addressed by the recent State Comptroller's Report - the report noted that one of the principles underlying IDF doctrine to shorten the duration of combat was "the desire to reduce the level of damage to the home front." It described this concern as important in preventing lack of public will to continue supporting a given engagement, as well as preventing damage to the economy. And while the report noted that in general, the question of preparedness of the home front was beyond the scope of the committee's probe, it did assert that concerning the IDF's general level of operational awareness, mismanagement was evident "in the failure to draft sufficient reservists to the Home Front Command to offer acceptable complex assistance to civilian populations under the threat of fire, and in the failure to... [propose] to either political or military leaders plans for reducing the length of combat." At another point in the report, the committee repeated its criticism, reminding the IDF that part of its role was to protect civilians from enemy fire - a role that the IDF failed to fulfill even partially, with rockets landing in Israel until the final hours of the war.