"The IDF is preparing itself for an all-out war, and this is a major change in the military's working premise following the Second Lebanon War," said Major-General (res) Eyal Ben-Reuven, who served as the Northern Command chief’s deputy during the war.
"By preparing for an all-out war, we can also deal with Palestinian terror, and not the other way round, as it was believed so far," Ben-Reuven said at an Institute for National Security Studies conference covering the different aspects of war.
When conflict breaks out with Syria, he said, Israel will face a challenge, because the Syrians "will be willing to take military and civilian hits but will strive to harm the Israeli home front in order to gain future achievements in a political process and to further split Israeli society.
"Therefore, the IDF's mission will be very focused and will have to be quick, in order to neutralize as quickly as possible the strategic areas threatening Israel's soft underbelly, thus preventing Syria reaching its coveted goals."
Ben-Reuven explained that in order to carry out such missions successfully, an extensive ground operation will be needed, and for this purpose the IDF is currently renewing its maneuvering abilities, including training and perfecting technology.
According to the major-general, if such ground operations were carried out during the Second Lebanon War, it would have ended very differently.
The IDF was not defeated in the Second Lebanon War, said Ben-Reuven, but failed in utilizing its strength and realizing its goals due to poor military and political leadership.
"The war was a harsh slap on the face and proved that we were wrong in 2000, when our readiness and military power was aimed at Palestinian terror, and now we realize that we should be preparing for something completely different."
Ben-Reuven, who was recently in charge of training senior military commanders, pointed out that the army must change its view on this matter.
"Someone who was a good regimental commander will not necessarily be a good divisional commander. It doesn't work that way on the modern battlefield. One must undergo the appropriate training in order to understand their job well," he said.
Former Military Intelligence head Major-General (res.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash also spoke at the conference.
Ze'evi addressed the Lebanese problem, saying Hizbullah was currently dealing with political struggles and strengthening, including arming itself with short and long range rockets.
Farkash also pointed out that the war with Lebanon may actually increase chances of Israel and Lebanon reaching a settlement following the internal processes in Beirut.