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IDF Fires "thinking" generals, institute politician's yes-men
Manhigut Yehudit
IDF Soldiers on patrol in full battle gear

Weekly Update 24 February 2006 Volume 66 Number 18

The IDF: An Uncomfortable Analysis
by: Moshe Feiglin, Founder and President, Manhigut Yehudit

CoS Moshe Yaalon and soldiers

The IDF is part of our culture and national ethos. But the time has come to examine its objective status, the role that it is playing today in the State of Israel and the Gordian knot between it and the belief-based public. Our future depends on our ability to honestly assess our situation. Incorrect analysis will turn the naive, belief based public into the major tool for the destruction of Israel.

Israel is being led by a small oligarchy that doesn't believe in the justness of its cause. It has nothing worth dying for and nothing worth living for -- except itself. This oligarchy will always prefer to preserve itself in the short run at the expense of the very existence of the state in the long run. It sees itself as the Founder of the state and the Creator of a new nation -- the Israeli nation -- to replace the outdated Jewish nation of the exile. As French philosopher John Jacque Rousseau explained -- the oligarchies see the state and its citizens as their private property. As long as the state supplies the oligarchy with the ability to rule and the appropriate cultural environment, it has the right to exist. It is just and fitting to take existential risks in order to preserve the rule of the oligarchy and its values. The leadership is not meant to serve the state, but rather, the state must serve the leadership.

Lieutenant Colonel Shlomo Baum, of blessed memory, once told me, "Shimon Peres doesn't care if the entire state turns into a heap of ashes -- as long as he is standing at the top of the heap." At the time, I thought that he was exaggerating. Today I know that this is true not only of Peres, but of the entire oligarchy that controls the State of Israel. This oligarchy is the strategic threat to the state.

 What is the Current Strategic Threat to Israel?

On the surface, the answer is simple. An all-out war against us by the Arab nations. Atomic or unconventional warfare directed at Israel from one of the more extreme Islamic states. Terror on a scale or quality that poses a strategic threat.

However, if we try to look deeper, and penetrate the barrier of accepted thinking, we will reveal that Israel -- until the mid 80's -- had learned to decisively counter all the above threats. An all out conventional war like the Yom Kippur war is no longer on the horizon. The Syrian army is still armed with outdated Soviet weapons and is no longer a real threat to Israel. The Egyptian army is indeed armed from head to toe with modern Western weapons (thanks to the "peace" agreements), but the place of the traditional ground war that we have known in the past is being usurped by high tech warfare, in which Israel has a pronounced advantage. The IDF is downscaling its armored forces because it understands that the battle will no longer be determined by classic tank combat. It seems that Egypt has understood that the indirect force approach is superior to direct war. As a result, it is focusing its efforts on transferring arms to the murder organizations in Gaza. In any event, the prospect of a conventional ground war attack by Egypt in the foreseeable future does not seem significant.

Since the War of Independence, the Jordanian army has not been a real strategic threat to Israel. (Jordan's attack on Israel in the Six Day War was simply a miracle that compelled us to liberate Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria). The real strategic threat on our Eastern border was from the Iraqi army, which had always joined wars against Israel. Currently, that army is non-existent.

We are left with the nuclear threat and the strategic terror threat. When it destroyed the Iraqi nuclear plant in the 1980's, Israel proved that when it is sufficiently determined, it could deal with this type of threat before it even gets off the ground. Israel also knew how to deal with the threat of terror. Just prior to the Oslo Accords, the murderous terror empire of Arafat was on the brink of bankruptcy in its exile in Tunis. From the mid 1950's (when the famous anti-terror 101 Batallion was activated) until the Oslo Accords in the mid 80's, it was Israel that taught the world how to fight terror. Today, Israel teaches the world how to surrender to terror. This is not because terror has become a strategic threat, but because in Oslo, Israel chose to make it so. Israel chose to flee Lebanon and to put the mid-north town of Hadera within range of Hizballah's chemical missiles. This is undoubtedly a strategic threat -- but it is a threat that we, ourselves, created.

If there is no real strategic threat hovering on the horizon, why do research polls show that the majority of Israelis do not believe that Israel will exist in another thirty years? If the external threat has decreased so significantly, why do we all feel so powerfully that Israel is at the threshold of collapse? What is the strategic threat?

The strategic threat to Israel is completely homegrown. Israel is disintegrating from the inside. The self-destructive course on which we are being led by the elites is initially expressed by the abandonment of our homeland to our enemies and by turning the settlers -- the sector most loyal to Israel -- into the enemies of the nation. However, this process takes root and is expressed by a total rejection of our very right to exist.

In the fifties, Israel went to war against Egypt because of terror attacks stemming from its territory. Today, much of Israel's southern flank is subjected to a steady barrage of rockets, but nobody expects a united effort to stop it. The shock and horror from the terror attack on the bus in Ma'aleh Akrabim fifty years ago is engraved on Israeli consciousness to this very day. But who remembers when the last bus was attacked this year? We have lost our sense of righteousness and with it, the will for our basic existence. The people of Sderot went on with their daily lives while nearby Gush Katif came under rocket fire (until it was destroyed by the IDF). In Ashkelon the show will go on when Sderot is destroyed. And in Tel Aviv they will continue to party as Ashkelon is abandoned.

Israel is being led by a small oligarchy that doesn't believe in the justness of its cause. It has nothing worth dieing for and nothing worth living for -- except itself. This oligarchy will always prefer to preserve itself in the short run at the expense of the very existence of the state in the long run. It sees itself as the Founder of the state and the Creator of a new nation -- the Israeli nation -- to replace the outdated Jewish nation of the exile. As French philosopher John Jacque Rousseau explained -- the oligarchies see the state and its citizens as their private property. As long as the state supplies the oligarchy with the ability to rule and the appropriate cultural environment, it has the right to exist. It is just and fitting to take existential risks in order to preserve the rule of the oligarchy and its values. The leadership is not meant to serve the state, but rather, the state must serve the leadership.

Lieutenant Colonel Shlomo Baum, of blessed memory, once told me, "Shimon Peres doesn't care if the entire state turns into a heap of ashes -- as long as he is standing at the top of the heap." At the time, I thought that he was exaggerating. Today I know that this is true not only of Peres, but of the entire oligarchy that controls the State of Israel. This oligarchy is the strategic threat to the state.

What is the Strategic Mission of the Army?

Once again, the answer seems simple. The IDF is the Israel Defense Forces. The strategic mission of the army is to defend the state of Israel. But a simple inspection of our reality since Oslo reveals a totally different picture. The IDF's top commanders do not concern themselves with defending Israel, but rather with defending the ruling oligarchy. They do not see their main goal as providing security for Israel, but rather as carrying out the orders of the oligarchy. Any general and self-respecting soldier would have resigned (and in some armies, committed suicide) rather than give guns and ammunition to the murderers of the PLO. How could an army whose mission is to defend the nation open its weapons arsenals to an organization of murderers who have spent the past decades brutally murdering the women and children of the very nation they are supposed to protect? How can an army whose mission is to defend the state arm an organization whose declared aim was and remains the destruction of that very state? But the IDF carried out its orders to the letter, with no opposition. In the same way, it carried out its order to destroy Gush Katif and expel its residents.

When the army's clear mission is to defend its country and its citizens, confusion ends. Even the US army displayed this basic common sense when it refused the New Orlean's mayor's orders to forcibly evict residents from the Katrina stricken areas. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore,  in charge of military relief, adamantly told the mayor that the fighters will continue to deliver water and basic supplies to the victims, but they will not forcibly remove citizens from their own homes.

A quick appraisal of the ethical code and goals of the army stamped in every soldier's ID card shows that they could serve -- with no changes -- General Motors or IBM. "Excellence," "Responsibility," "Fellowship" and the like. In effect, the IDF absolves itself of any commitment to its homeland, to the nation of Israel or to its values. Its commanders declare time and again that the mission of the army is to carry out the orders of the government. But obedience is a tool -- not a purpose. Put simply, the IDF is not the Israel Defense Forces, but rather a professional and disciplined military organization that is prepared to assertively implement any mission entrusted to it by the ruling oligarchy.

At times, the army will be ordered to act against an external enemy and at times it will be ordered to act against an internal, political enemy. But for the army this is irrelevant. The Israeli general is not concerned with his homeland, his nation or its values. Only one thing interests him -- carrying out his orders. As a reward for his obedience the Israeli general will rise quickly to the top and will also become part of the oligarchy when he retires from the army -- whether as a politician or as a director in one of Israel's centralized economic monopolies.

The painful (but accurate) truth is that the strategic mission of the IDF is not to defend Israel, but rather, to defend the ruling elite. "The Israeli army will not be able to survive as an effective fighting force if it continues to place itself in the middle of the mainstream political debate in Israel," said an American army commander to the Jerusalem Post after the events in Amona. "It cannot survive if it allows itself to confuse the Israeli public with Israel's enemies." The IDF today is not a counterpoint to the strategic threat on Israel. On the contrary, it enables and empowers it.

The State: A Monopoly on Power

The basic attribute of a state is its monopoly on power. The ability of a nation to use force to maintain its sovereignty is what separates it from a community or any other societal group. The central authority to implement judgment and power is what makes a state a state. (This is also how Maimonides defines a king in his work Mishneh Torah). Without an army, there is no monopoly on power, no state and of course, no rule. As the purpose of the oligarchy in Israel is to rule (and to enforce its values), the body that empowers it to do so is the army.

Who is the IDF?

The IDF is the largest and most complex organization in Israel. But the heart of the army is those officers and soldiers who are at the front lines of combat -- what historian Uri Milstein calls the "blood line." They are but a small percentage of the entire organization but they are the pinnacle of the army -- the fighters positioned to give up their lives -- most of them in the infantry. These are the angels that risk their lives to guard our lives every day. They enlist in the army with an authentic desire to serve their country.

At the beginning of the 1990s, when Rabin shook Arafat's hand and recognized the "just claims" of the "Palestinians", these angels were still children. They don't remember that before the grotesque handshake soldiers did not guard shopping centers and stadiums, Israelis shopped freely in Arab towns and soldiers patrolling their narrow alleys were not in serious danger. They don't remember the time when busses and cafes didn't periodically explode. The soldiers of the blood line don't know that in essence, the oligarchy that sends them to the front lines are the very people that created the strategic danger for which they are now being asked to risk their lives.

The soldiers of the blood line also don't understand that the settlements do not interest the elite that sends them there. What interests them is their monopoly on power. In other words, as long as the settlements (still) exist, and due to the fact that we, the oligarchy, have created a dangerous security situation, we must provide a semblance of security so that we can retain our monopoly on power -- and rule. So the young angel that is sent to guard the settlements may think that he is there for the settlers, but the bitter truth is that he is there to guard the ruling oligarchy.

This precious group of blood line soldiers are the people sustaining the army, the state -- and the oligarchy that presents the true strategic threat to the state.

Who are the Fighters on the Blood Line?

Just weeks before he expelled the Jews of Gush Katif from their homes, Chief of Southern Command, General Dan Harel admitted that the majority of infantry fighters are from the national religious public. Children of settlers make up a large share of this group. Research done by Dr. Yagil Levi shows that the number of settlers killed in the line of duty in the IDF is more than three times their proportional representation in the general population. The number of fatalities from among the entire national religious public is even larger. More than any other sector, it is the national religious that send their sons to the blood line units -- with sincere faith that they are serving their nation and homeland.

The Pyramid of Madness

We are dealing with a reverse pyramid in which the idealistic fighters hold up the oligarchy that endangers the existence of the state. But the pyramid becomes pure madness when we understand that its apex is not resting on the shoulders of the fighters, but instead is piercing their hearts.

For the oligarchy, the settlers are the greatest danger to their rule because they actualize their Jewishness outside the synagogues -- on the real earth of the Land of Israel. They are the only sector that can present an authentic alternative to the dictatorship of the oligarchy. That is why they are intent on destroying the settlement enterprise.

To this end, the oligarchy in Israel has labeled the settlers as enemies of the people. They have no human rights, no right to defend themselves or to be protected (as proven by the thousands of missiles that rained on Gush Katif with no reaction) no right of purchase, can be driven from their homes, their liberty can be taken from them in trials that are nothing more than the theatre of the absurd, and thugs in uniform can break their heads open and molest their daughters.

It is precisely the sector that is being most cruelly trampled that makes it possible for this brutal oligarchy to exist. It is the loyal and idealistic settlers that, more than any other sector -- send their sons to the blood line to defend the state. But in reality, they are not defending the state but rather the oligarchy that is destroying it. The oligarchy continues to feed the terror monster that it planted in the heart of our country with more and more pieces of the Land of Israel, money, infrastructure and resources -- the fruit of the hard labor of Israeli citizens. It is the IDF -- the children of the settlers -- who are called upon to rob the settlers -- their own parents -- of their property and to hand it over to the terrorists.

This of course increases the appetite of the terror monster, the security situation worsens, the rule of the oligarchy is compromised and then it sends the army (the children of the settlers) to restore security to the citizens or in other words, to strengthen the rule of the oligarchy. All the while, the oligarchy forces its Western values on the IDF, making sure that any military actions taken are not effective and do not upset European or American sensibilities. Better that 10 soldiers die than, heaven forbid, the mother of a terrorist.

And Now for Some Good News

The real front in the battle for the existence of the state is in the hills of Judea and Samaria -- much more than in the Oligarchy Defense Forces. A young man who works to strengthen the settlements today defends his country no less than a combat pilot or elite troop in the service of Olmert -- who profoundly endangers them.

The good news is that the key to reversing the mad pyramid and standing it on its base is in the hands of the settlers. They are the people providing the energy that maintains the state. Will they use their energy to liberate it?

Manhigut Yehudit's aim:  To perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty

_ COUNTER anti-Semitism; persecution of Jews, Christians with PROSPERITY, a refuge in Israel _

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Column One: Halutz's Stalinist moment
Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 8, 2006

This past April the IDF published its new military doctrine. The new classified field manual, The General Staff's Operational Concept for the IDF, is the result of four years of serious study. It gives expression to the transformative changes the IDF's way of thinking about war fighting and designing military campaigns underwent since the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war in September 2000.

Yet last week the IDF separated itself from those most responsible for leading its intellectual transformation. On May 30, the heads of the IDF's Operational Theory Research Institute (OTRI), Brig. Gen. (res.) Dov Tamari and Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Shimon Naveh, were notified that they were suspended from their duties due to irregularities in their billing procedures. On Tuesday a distorted version of the events was presented to the public on the front page of Yediot Ahronot. The headline read, "Hero of Israel Suspended from Duties: Brig. Gen. (res.) Dov Tamari, commander of the Operational Theory Research Institute, who received three combat decorations, is suspected of [financial] irregularities."

Tamari and Naveh's suspensions together with Tuesday's headlines effectively terminated one of the most glorious periods in the IDF's intellectual history. It ended a process that OTRI shepherded which, over the past decade, has transformed the IDF into the world leader in operational warfare.

The story of OTRI's disembowelment should alarm anyone who cares about the IDF. It is part and parcel, and indeed an exacerbation of the trend that has been forcing independent thinkers out of decision-making circles in Israel for the past three years. In 2003 this trend was ushered in when, after consulting with his public relations team, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon decided to retreat from Gaza in exchange for absolutely nothing.

Sharon made this decision without advising with the IDF General Staff. For his opposition to the plan, then IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon was fired. So too, Efraim Halevy, former Mossad director, was forced out of his position as director of the National Security Council for his opposition to Sharon's sole reliance on his PR flacks Reuven Adler, Dov Weisglass and Eyal Arad in making strategic decisions about Israel's future. This trend most recently caused the conclusion of Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland's tenure as Halevy's successor at the National Security Council. Eiland made clear his complete opposition to the retreat strategies adopted by the Sharon and Olmert governments in an interview with Ha'aretz this past Sunday. Eiland's comments - like all statements by national leaders expressing opposition to the retreat strategy before them - were completely ignored by the rest of the Israeli media.

SINCE THE summer of 2004, I have been employed as a researcher at OTRI. Naveh's decision to offer me the position two years ago came as a complete surprise. An ideological gulf separates me from Naveh, Tamari and most of OTRI's researchers. Yet, as I became familiar with OTRI's work, I realized it is wholly non-ideological. OTRI concerns itself solely with the pursuit and development of knowledge necessary for military commanders to think critically, systemically and methodologically about war fighting. In promulgating its operational concepts, OTRI pays little attention to who the enemy is or how to fight a specific group of people - Palestinian, Iraqi, Russian, American, Israeli, etc.

Rather, the institute's work focuses on the concept of "enemy" and provides operational commanders with tools to conceptualize both their enemies and themselves for the purpose of designing suitable campaigns. In short, OTRI's methods are a powerful tool - like a tank - that can serve anyone who understands how to use them, without connection to his identity or that of his enemy.

In light of this, the decision to get rid of Tamari and Naveh is even more disconcerting than Sharon and Olmert's decision to force Yaalon, Halevy and Eiland from their posts. In those cases, the political leaders purged the ranks of decision-makers of those who oppose their political goals. In so doing, they acted within what is generally considered the purview of political leaders.

But in forcing Naveh and Tamari out of the IDF, Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz and his deputy Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky sent the message that independent thinkers are unwelcome in their IDF. The political-strategic trend initiated by Sharon has brought about a state of affairs where Israel's decision-making echelon is bereft of all voices opposing Israeli retreats. By eviscerating OTRI, Halutz and Kaplinsky have added an operational component within the IDF to this larger political-strategic trend. They have set the course for purging the IDF of people who - while perhaps ideologically sympathetic towards the unilateral retreat policies - are guilty of the sin of thinking critically about military science.

What exactly did OTRI accomplish under Naveh and Tamari's stewardship? On Wednesday, Yaalon, who began his association with OTRI as Commander of Central Command in the late 1990s, summarized the institute's activities as follows: "OTRI contributed both to Central Command and to the General Staff. Its contribution to the General Staff involved the development of a new operational concept whose development was necessitated by the evolution of the threats [that Israel faces]. OTRI, in conjunction with commanders in the field worked on developing cognitive tools and doctrines on a trial and error basis. The method of operational assessment that is used today in the regional commands and in the General Staff was developed through the joint work of OTRI with field commanders."

Over the past few years, foreign militaries began noticing that something new was happening in the IDF. As Yaalon explains, "The Americans saw there were a lot of changes in our assessment methods, and they asked us to transfer our new knowledge to them. OTRI worked with the Americans to teach them the methods we had developed."

Lt. Col. David Pere, from the US Marine Corps, is now involved in authoring the Marine Corps' operational doctrine. He characterizes OTRI's contribution to the US Armed Forces thus: "Naveh and OTRI's influence on the intellectual discourse and understanding of the operational level of war in the US has been immense. The US Marine Corps has commissioned a study of design that will result in a Marine Corps Concept of Design that is based heavily on Shimon [Naveh]'s [work]. One can hardly attend a military conference in the US without a discussion of Shimon or [OTRI's] System of Operational Design..The Army's doctrinal publication on Operations (Field Manual 3.0), will include design based on SOD in its next edition." Like the Americans, the British, Australians and other armed forces are integrating the concepts developed over the past decade by IDF commanders and OTRI researchers into their formal doctrines. OF COURSE, in spite of all of this, if OTRI personnel were involved in corrupt practices, then Halutz and Kaplinsky would be wrong not to take action.

But they were not involved in corrupt practices. The decision to suspend Naveh and Tamari and two additional OTRI researchers last week came in the wake of a draft report by the State Comptroller on the IDF's training of its senior officer corps. The draft report was submitted to the IDF for review last month. The report's preliminary findings determined that Naveh, Tamari and two other OTRI researchers had not followed all the proper procedures for billing their hours. The report did not allege that the researchers did not work or that they somehow absconded with tax payers' money.

Yediot's report noted that the State Comptroller's draft report found problems with the management norms of both OTRI and the National Security College and that these problems led Halutz and Kaplinsky to transfer the report to the Military Advocate General. Here is the place to note that the relative weight Yediot gave to the two reports was misplaced. Equally curious is the fact that in responding to Yediot's inquiry, the IDF Spokesman's Unit limited its statement to allegations against OTRI and ignored completely the charges raised against the National Security College. There is much that could be added to these general observations. Unfortunately adding to what was already reported in Yediot on Tuesday is illegal.

And that is the heart of the matter. The State Comptroller's Law states explicitly that no one may make use of the materials prepared by the State Comptroller. According to paragraph 28 of the Law, Yediot was legally barred from publishing the contents of the draft report. Furthermore, paragraph 30 of the Law stipulates: "Reports, opinions and any other document promulgated or prepared by the Comptroller in carrying out his duties may not be used in any legal or disciplinary procedure." In light of this, the disciplinary procedure which Halutz set in motion against OTRI's researchers which led to Naveh, Tamari and two other researchers' suspensions and precipitated both Naveh and Tamari's resignations was illegal.

A number of theories are making the rounds attempting to explain why Halutz and Kaplinsky decided to purge OTRI of its leadership. Some say that Halutz and Kaplinsky oppose the whole concept of operational design. But this view does not pass the reality test. The General Staff's Operational Concept for the IDF is rooted in OTRI's theoretical doctrine of systemic operational design. Indeed, it is a complete vindication of OTRI's research.

Others say that Kaplinsky and Halutz cannot abide by Tamari and Naveh because they represent Yaalon's intellectual legacy in the IDF. According to this reasoning, while Kaplinsky and Halutz accept in whole OTRI's conceptual framework and so embrace Yaalon's legacy, they wish to co-opt this legacy and believe they can only do so by throwing Naveh and Tamari out of the army.

Whatever the proximate cause of their banishment from the IDF, the effect of their departure will, in Pere's view, "endanger the IDF." There are two reasons for this. First, any replacement that Halutz and Kaplinsky appoint to succeed Naveh will be unable to carry forward his work. Naveh, like Clausewitz, is a path breaker. He has many disciples, but no substitutes. Second, and more generally, in forcing Naveh and Tamari's departure, Halutz and Kaplinsky are sending a devastating message to the IDFs senior officer corps. By precipitating the departure of the IDF's most prominent intellectuals, Halutz and Kaplinsky are signaling those senior officers that their career advancement is dependent on their willingness to think what they are told to think.

From a national perspective, the significance of the decision to decimate OTRI is similarly bleak. To all intents and purposes, since 1973, Israel has suffered from a nearly continuous breakdown in strategic thinking that has produced an unremitting string of national failures from Oslo, through the withdrawal from Lebanon to the withdrawal from Gaza. Indeed, Israel's continued survival in the face of these strategic blunders is the product of the IDF's ability to compensate for the political leadership's incompetence by producing operational and tactical successes. Woe to Israel if our strategic idiocy spreads to these areas as well.

No Islam, no Osama Bib Ladens, no terror

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