Israeli Military Chief Sets Up Team to Examine Army's Preparedness for War

Gadi Eisenkot has given the IDF comptroller, Ilan Harari, 45 days to figure out if the ground forces really are unprepared

Military chief Gadi Eisenkot and members of the General Staff in 2015.
Omer Shalev / IDF

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff has ordered the establishment of a team to examine claims by the military ombudsman that the IDF is unprepared for war.

In mid-September, Haaretz learned that the ombudsman, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brik, had crafted a report harshly criticizing the army’s readiness. Brik’s position completely contradicts a report released earlier in the month by the chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot.

Eisenkot has now instructed the IDF comptroller, Brig. Gen. (res.) Ilan Harari, to examine Brik's allegations.

Brik had called for the appointment of a commission of inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court justice to examine the IDF’s preparedness.

The IDF spokesman said the internal inquiry would be done with Maj. Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrahi and other senior reserve officers “in a transparent manner and with the cooperation of all IDF units.”

Harari and Mizrahi must submit a preliminary report within 45 days.

“The chief of staff noted that the IDF is ready to fight and win," the IDF spokesman said. "However, Eisenkot deems it important to examine the claims in a professional and comprehensive manner.”

Mizrahi has headed the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate, the Ground Forces Command and the Central Command. He retired from active service in 2012 and recently headed a committee appointed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to examine the division of powers between the Home Front Command and the National Emergency Authority.

Brik went public with his criticism of the IDF’s preparedness in June, when he presented the ombudsman’s annual report at a press conference. The document did not directly refer to the IDF's preparedness, but Brik provided veiled criticism of the IDF's exercises, training in general, and weapons used by the ground forces.

He has since sent two detailed letters to Lieberman, the General Staff and the Knesset subcommittee on military preparedness in which he focused on the IDF’s manpower policies, questioning the capabilities of the entire IDF — particularly the ground forces — to fight a war.