The commission was established by departing Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, after IDF Ombudsman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick harshly criticized the military's readiness in his annual report, which was published in June. The commission examined the main issues that elicited Brick's criticism, and came to the same conclusions as those of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"The ground forces are ready and prepared for war. Our report completely doesn't correspond with Brick's," the heads of the commission wrote in their report.
As opposed to Brick's claims, the commission, led by Gen. Ilan Harari (res.) and Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, concluded that there has been a significant improvement in the level of preparedness and fitness of the IDF's ground forces over the past few years.
However, the panel noted that some gaps still remain between the ground troops, which have been neglected for years, and the rest of the army.
The commission hailed Eisenkot's actions to bolster the ground troops, including adding more than NIS 2 billion to their budget annually, to narrow those existing gaps.
A senior member of the commission questioned why Brick remained silent in 2013 and 2014, when the IDF was not training properly, and why Brick had apparently decided to wage a campaign against Eisenkot.
MIzrahi also hit back at criticism from Brick that the commission lacked professionalism and was biased in favor of the chief of staff.
"You cannot tell reservists what to write in such a report," said Mizrahi, referring to the 100 or so reservist soldiers who contributed to the report.
"I've held three major general posts, including serving as the ground forces commander. I know the army. I'm not worried about the chief of staff or his deputy, but the army's fitness," he said. "The IDF is prepared for war. It is true that we lack certain means, but I would never risk signing a document saying the army was fit to face the challenges of war if it weren't," he said.
"Brick cannot be right purely because he received the Medal of Valor after the Yom Kippur War. All those who know me can vouch that I've always spoken the truth throughout my military service, even when the truth was not easy to hear. It would have been easier for me to back Brick's report and by doing so protect myself from a future commission of inquiry but I refuse to lie," Mizrahi said.
One of the reserves officers, who took part in producing the report, said, "The fact there are gaps doesn't mean we are not ready. We've inspected five divisions, and met with dozens of IDF officers before reaching this conclusion."
Nevertheless, the commission pointed out several shortfalls—maintenance of the IDF's emergency warehouse; the low salaries of non-commissioned officers, which the commission recommended raising, the army's logistic mobilization; the low motivation of combat soldiers to become career soldiers; the quality of infrastructure and training, ammunition and open positions for military doctors.
During a meeting Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, the commission members recommended that the premier allocate a separate budget for ground forces to ensure their level of preparedness, which was impacted by relocation of resources to the Air Force and the Intelligence Corps.