IDF sees internal rift as greater threat than all-out war

Military sees crisis pitting segments of society against the IDF and ground forces against the Air Force; reservists warn a reduction compromise over excellence cannot be ignored and will have disastrous reprecussions

Yoav Zitun|
In the new IDF Multi-Year Plan that was presented by Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi last week and would come into effect in the coming months, the military defined its primary objective as dealing with the societal crisis over the Judicial legislation, as it is reflected in the military. The dangers of a multi-front war, only came second, followed by the military's ability to protect the borders and its training and organizational needs.
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Officials in the IDF said that the plan does not specify that the Iranian threat and probability of an all-out war, are ignored because of the social discord, but concede that more of an emphasis is now placed in that direction.
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הרמטכ״ל למתגייסים החדשים: ״צה״ל הוא ההזדמנות הכי גדולה של מדינת ישראל במחלוקת הזו; יש לנו מטרה אחת משותפת, ואנחנו עושים אותה ביחד - להגן על המדינה״
הרמטכ״ל למתגייסים החדשים: ״צה״ל הוא ההזדמנות הכי גדולה של מדינת ישראל במחלוקת הזו; יש לנו מטרה אחת משותפת, ואנחנו עושים אותה ביחד - להגן על המדינה״
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi
(Photo: IDF)
This is a growing internal threat that is breaking apart the trust in the military as the people's army while pitting segments of society against the IDF, active service personnel and the reservists in key positions – against the top military command and the cabinet, parents of new recruits – against the IDF and the government and even pitting ground forces – against the Air Force.
The IDF is already facing a manpower crisis across the board. Many of the career servicemen in technology and fighting units have left because of low pay, amid the rising cost of living. Brigades made up of reservists saw a drop, in attendance after they were called for service in the West Bank, more frequently, as a result of the uptick in security concerns there and amid the growing sense that only a small number of Israelis carry the weight of service, while others are exempt.
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עימותים בעסכר
עימותים בעסכר
Palestinians hurl stones at IDF forces in Nablus
(Photo: Majdi Mohammed / AP)
Motivation to serve in the infantry is down among the youth, who prefer service in the elite technological, intelligence and cyber field while the prospect of avoiding military service all together, is made easier.
All those challenges have recently been compounded by the refusal of volunteers in the Air Force who man critical positions, to serve amid the government's legislative push which they regard as an assault on Israel's democratic institutions, and while the politicians refuse to hear IDF commanders when they sound the alarm.
The military has failed to impress upon Israelis the price the country would pay in the next war on the northern border and in Gaza, should the IDF's excellence be compromised: Thousands of military and civilian casualties – not hundreds, cities under attack – more than Israel will be able to contain, and long-lasting damage in the billions, to the economy.
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מפגינים ומפגינות בתל אביב
מפגינים ומפגינות בתל אביב
Protesters gather in Tel Aviv for the 32nd week
(Photo: Corinna Kern / Reuters)
"We can conduct any of the planned military exercises in September and October, by calling up the more mediocre reservists to fill the ranks of Brigade commanders, take the lead in elite intelligence units, man the naval war rooms with authority over the submarine force and the naval commandos, all so that we can tick the box of required training," officers in the reserves said. "But that would be ignoring the truth. With no more than 60% to 70% of the required order of battle (ORBAT,) the IDF would be less prepared and weaker than it is today."
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