Serious IDF flaws spotlighted at Knesset meeting

Major Gen. (res) Yitzhak Brick, the outgoing IDF omsbudsman, continued his criticism’s of Israel’s combat readiness at a Knesset committee meeting Wednesday.

By World Israel News Staff

Major Gen. (res) Yitzhak Brick, the outgoing IDF omsbudsman, continued his criticism of Israel’s combat readiness at the Knesset, Wednesday, calling for a state commission of inquiry to investigate severe flaws  in the IDF’s organizational culture, Israel Hayom reports.

He made his remarks at the Knesset’s State Audit Committee on Wednesday morning.

Brick painted a disturbing picture of poor leadership at the senior levels, sub-par training, a failure to properly absorb new technology, and an organizational structure in disarray.

“One of the most serious problems is the organizational culture of the IDF,” Brick said, according to Israel Hayom, citing as one factor the absence of battalion commanders from their units, who are either attending conferences or in consultations.

“A company commander doesn’t go into the field. He doesn’t educate his soldiers. Battalion commanders are in the field less than 40 percent of the time. They are in discussions all day. Officers don’t know how to carry out a routine. They don’t give orders. They don’t know how to handle equipment,” Brick said.

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Brick also pointed to a “conspiracy of silence” where commanders aren’t reporting the full picture, “part of the reason for this is because they do not see the whole picture themselves and for some, because of the workload.”

He also said that new weaponry isn’t properly assimilated into the Army. “We got rid of the old equipment, and we have not assimilated the new equipment,” he said, Israel Hayom reports.

He noted that Israel has some of the best equipment in the world, “but when they bring the equipment to the ground, they don’t know how to operate it, especially in reserve units.”

He calls the maintenance of the IDF’s reserves “the most problematic of all.”

“Reservists do a week’s exercise and do not take care of a weapon, they do not clean it and they do not dismantle it, there’s no army in the world that goes on like that,” Brick said.

Brick reserved special criticism for the presence of smartphones in the field. “Soldiers sit with smartphones in positions, in the middle of combat.”

“They give orders on phones. Hundreds of smartphones went in with Operation Protective Edge [Israel’s 2014 Gaza war]. They can get killed for this thing in the next war. They’re walking around with smartphones in their pockets. There is complete lack of control,” Brick said.

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Brick said he visited 1,400 units during his investigation which made him aware of the serious problems. He reminded the committee of his experience and said, “I know the army more than any other person who now sits in the IDF thanks to the 10 years I have been in my position.”

Brick spent a lifetime in the IDF, serving in the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, the First Lebanon War and other Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Chair of the State Audit Committee Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich started the meeting by saying that she had come under “disproportionate” pressure to cancel the discussion. One of the arguments was that the meeting would hurt soldiers’ morale, she said, adding that critics have made out Lt. Gen. (res.) Brick as the enemy and not Hamas and Hezbollah.