Israel's military intel chief 1st top figure to resign after Oct. 7 disaster

 April 27, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

JERUSALEM – Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, Israel’s top military intelligence official, offered his resignation earlier this week over the systemic failures that permitted thousands of Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians to carry out – last Oct. 7 – the worst pogrom against Jews in more than 80 years.

The IDF Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN in Hebrew) head reportedly retired from the Israel Defense Forces via a letter of resignation placed on current IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi’s desk. Haliva will officially step down from his current duties once an appropriate replacement has been found.

There has been intense speculation about Haliva’s position for some time. These concerns were brought into sharper focus due to the IDF’s miscalculation regarding the likely response to the missile strike that killed two senior Islamic Republican Guard Corps generals stationed in a Quds Force headquarters adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1. Haliva was one of the figures who assumed Tehran would continue to play by the sort of gentleman’s agreement rules of the game. But he erred – and potentially catastrophically.

In response, Iran launched the largest barrage of drones, cruise, and ballistic missiles – more than 300 at last count – directly from Iran toward Israel. It was a miracle that the only casualty was a severely wounded 7-year-old Bedouin girl, who remains in intensive care after being hit by falling shrapnel from an intercepted ballistic missile.

Indeed, former Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz penned a stinging opinion piece about Haliva, saying that while the Military Intelligence Directorate has some outstanding people currently working there, its analysis of the intelligence it gathers appears to be faulty – and dangerously so. Under Haliva’s directorship, the assessment was that Qatar’s munificence had quelled Hamas’s genocidal intentions toward Israel. It also misread Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, claiming that Gaza’s Islamist ruling party was placated, when in fact, it was planning the most brutal assault on Jews since the darkest days of the Holocaust.

This is not the first time that an October war has broken out – at least partly – because of intelligence failures with AMAN. On Oct. 6, 1973 – almost 50 years previously to the day – Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked Israel, only to be joined later by other Arab states, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, as intelligence signals were ignored in favor of belief in what is known in Israel as the conceptzia – or "conception"” – most recently, the mistaken belief that Hamas would abandon its murderous ideology for economic gain.

In 1973, the conceptzia that was permitted to take hold was that the collective Arab armies – which had planned to attack Israel in 1967 – were delivered such a humiliating and rapid beating that they would think twice about attacking again. What Israel’s military intelligence failed to properly grasp was that the very seeds of revenge were planted in that humiliation. And it was not as if the border area between Egypt and Israel was exactly quiet in the intervening period.

The so-called "War of Attrition" was exactly as the name suggests: Israel’s military leaders abandoned some of the principles that had made its fighting force so formidable, such as nimbleness and quick action – and in the form of the Bar-Lev line of fortifications, had dug themselves into position close to the Suez Canal, making them sitting targets. And there were frequent – sometimes daily – exchanges of fire between the Egyptian army and the IDF, with the loss of hundreds of lives.

Despite these constant attacks, and despite both Egyptian presidents during this period – Gamal Abdel Nasser, who died in 1970, and Anwar Sadat, who immediately succeeded him – publicly expressing their country’s need to at least regain lost prestige, Israeli attitudes remained laissez-faire. The Jewish state’s leaders would not accept the possibility that the Egyptians – and other Arab states – could have their agency and would act by it.

Thus, the parallels between the intelligence failures of Oct. 6, 1973, and Oct. 7, 2023, are tactical, strategic, and intellectual. Israel’s intelligence-gathering capabilities in 2023 may have been far greater than those in 1973, but the failure and ossification of imagination nevertheless produced catastrophic results. In an article for the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune, Amnon Sofrin, a career IDF soldier and former Mossad chief, said Israel’s military leaders in both cases suffered from "group thinks." In 1973, it never occurred to any senior military leaders that Egypt and/or Syria might attack. In 2023, the same could be said of Hamas in Gaza, although in both cases the intelligence reports suggested that an attack of some kind might well be in the offing.

The most poignant expression of all this was when one of the female soldiers, whose task it was to inspect live footage of the border between Gaza and Israel, saw what was taking place on that day and pleaded with her commanders to not allow this to become another Yom Kippur. It wasn’t; it was far worse. Now, someone – in this case, Haliva – is paying the professional price for this glaring failure.

It is not yet clear who will replace Haliva as the chief of military intelligence. There is a list of potential candidates, although the IDF’s chief-of-staff expects more resignations to follow Haliva's. These figures might try and preempt the anticipated criticism that will be directed at them for the intelligence failures surrounding Oct. 7. Much of the country expects that just as the lack of preparedness that led up to the Yom Kippur War was investigated by the Agranat Commission – which included some high-profile political casualties, up to and including then-Prime Minister Golda Meir – so, too, there will need to be similar soul-searching if Israel is to be able to try and come to terms with an intelligence breakdown of such epic proportions.

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