IDF not prepared for war, Israelis losing trust in military – report

Recent scandals have soured the public’s view of the institution and IDF reservists feel they don’t have sufficient training opportunities, new reports find.

By World Israel News Staff

New reports by Israel’s Defense Comptroller and the Israel Democracy Institute paint a picture of a worrying trend in a country known for its strong military – that Israeli civilians are losing confidence in the army and that the IDF may not be prepared for a sudden conflict.

A report by the Defense Ministry Comptroller, Brigadier General Eitan Dahan, leaked to the Hebrew-language daily Haaretz, revealed disturbing findings around the military’s readiness for an emergency warfare scenario.

Haaretz quoted Dahan’s report as heavily scrutinizing the IDF’s management of its reserve units, noting a decline in the quality and scope of training that bordered on negligence.

Not only does the IDF’s lax approach towards ensuring that reserve units are ready for war pose security issues, it also creates a culture of distrust between the military and reservists, the report found.

The report cited a survey of reservists conducted by the IDF’s Behavioral Sciences Department, which found that 70 percent of commanders and 50 percent of soldiers in reserve units said they felt the training in their units was ineffective.

A staggering 60 percent of respondents, both soldiers and commanders, said that they do not trust the IDF to provide them with the equipment they need to do their jobs properly.

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At the same time, a report from the Israel Democracy Institute that’s slated to be presented to President Isaac Herzog in two weeks will show that the Israeli public’s trust in the IDF is at a record low level.

Just 81 percent of Israelis expressed strong confidence in the military, compared to 90 percent in 2019.

Israel Hayom columnist Yoav Limor said that in recent years, “the military has struggled to deal with a series of crises that the public couldn’t help but notice.”

Limor cited scandals around a lack of food and unhygienic culinary practices in IDF kitchens, the IDF’s top brass prioritizing boosting their pensions over giving modest salary raises to active duty soldiers, and the IDF’s failure to provide sufficient transportation for soldiers as events that have caused the public’s trust in the institution to plummet.

He added that the military had initially blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the lower numbers but that 2021 marked the second year in a row confidence had dropped. He said it was time for senior officials to take their heads out of the sand.

“Instead of claiming that everything is fine, the chief of staff and top military officials should wake up to reality and listen to the soldiers and the public,” Limor wrote.

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“If they say that there is a problem – and that is what they say for the second year in a row – then it is time to address it, immediately.