Prof. Dror's Duty

Prof. Yehezkel Dror has spent a lifetime preaching to leaders who make fateful decisions without consulting experts. Now that the public is all ears, wanting to hear Dror's comments on a prime minister who is suspected of "logical failures" that cost the lives of 33 soldiers, he has fallen silent.

A few years ago, Yehezkel Dror sought to help an intelligent prime minister to whom he had the privilege of giving advice by warning against what the professor of political science called "a logical failure."

Dror asked the prime minister about the probability that his policy would succeed; the answer was a 70-80 percent chance of success. "Then you think there is a 20-30 percent chance that the policy you have chosen could fail," the professor said, then going on to ask: "What are you preparing to do in case it does?"

Dror says that although the two men had a good personal relationship, the prime minister asked him to leave his office at that point. According to Dror, he was not permitted to see the prime minister for a month afterward, by order of the head of the prime minister's bureau. This anecdote appears in Dror's book, "Epistle to an Israeli Jewish-Zionist Leader" (Carmel Publishers, in Hebrew).

Prof. Dror has spent a lifetime preaching to leaders who make fateful decisions without consulting experts, and then refuse to assume responsibility for the subsequent failures. And now that the public is all ears, wanting to hear Dror's comments on a prime minister who is suspected of "logical failures" that cost the lives of 33 soldiers, he has fallen silent.

According to media reports over the weekend, Dror gave in to pressure from his fellow members of the Winograd Committee, which is examining the performance of decision makers in the Second Lebanon War. The others pressed for less harsh language in the final report, scheduled to be released next week. He also relinquished his demand to append his own minority opinion to the document.

In fact, Dror has already expressed his view concerning Ehud Olmert's decisions in the final stages of the war. Just days before the committee was assembled, Dror published a document entitled "A Breakout Political-Security Grand-Strategy for Israel," under the auspices of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. In that paper, Dror addressed the premier's claim that the result of the last 60 hours of fighting, when those 33 soldiers were killed, was United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the war.

"The wording of Resolution 1701 does include components which constitute an Israeli achievement," Dror writes, "but this is more the result of U.S. pressure than the results of Israeli achievements on the battlefield... Moreover, it remains doubtful whether Resolution 1701 will have long-term significance, and deducing that Israel has genuinely succeeded in improving its international standing [thanks to] the resolution requires one to strain one's imagination."

Dror argues that the lack of success in wiping out the bulk of Hezbollah's ranks, the fact that the organization's leaders were unhurt, and the damage that Israel had sustained on the military front and in terms of economical infrastructure have weakened Israel's deterrence capabilities.

It is the country's leader who is primarily responsible for this, according to Dror. Before authorizing a major military operation, the prime minister has a duty to question the chief-of-staff as one would a "hostile witness," Dror wrote. The premier should have then brought up the highest-ranking officer's answers in discussion with the top brass at the Foreign Ministry, the Mossad intelligence service, the National Security Council, and among advisors who are experts on political and security-related matters.

The process, Dror says, can be completed within two to three days. Therefore, "lack of time is not a valid excuse for shortcuts that thwart decisions." Testimonies by witnesses who appeared before the committee reveal that nothing was done in this regard at all.

Olmert's advocates maintain that the prime minister has already drawn the right conclusions from his mistakes, and should therefore be treated leniently. But even today it seems doubtful that Olmert would score so much as a passing grade in Dror's test.

"A new radical approach is needed to defend our homes," Dror writes about the problem with the Gaza Strip, "by posing harsher deterrence together with preemptive strikes ... No entity which isn't a state, and is not susceptible to deterrence, must be allowed to posses an offensive array like Hezbollah's ballistic capabilities. A similar ability must not be allowed to emerge in Palestine."

Yet the professor does not support imposing a total boycott on Hamas, nor is he in favor of preconditioning negotiations with Syria on demands that it abandon support for terrorism.

The political scientist has presented six "urgent recommendations which must and can be followed regardless of other avenues of oversight and investigation." A substantial part of these recommendations can be found in the Winograd interim report, which was released last April. Almost nothing has been done since then.

In the preface to his report for the Begin-Sadat Center, Dror wrote that the document had been written before he had been appointed to the committee. He promised that after the committee concludes its work, he will have the right to update and publish the document.

Now that the committee's other members have silenced him, this is no longer his right - but rather his duty.