Analysis of IDF’s October 7 Operational Failures

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IDFChief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi has initiated a team of former military officers to investigate the army’s operational collapses in the lead-up to Hamas’s October 7 carnage.

The probe seeks to draw operational findings for the military and will not look into the approaches of the political leadership.

The judgment came 90 days after Hamas undertook its terror onslaught on southern Israel.

Former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, former Military Intelligence Directorate head Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, former Southern Command leader Sami Turgeman and former Operations Directorate chief Yoav Har-Even will be among the members of the investigatory team.

The team will probe the acts of the IDF on October 7 and the duration leading up to the Hamas attack.

Responding to the backlash from cabinet ministers, Halevi explained that the investigation would only deal with the IDF’s form of preparedness.

According to Ynet, Halevi told defence officials that he would carry out “a professional investigation by external compliance to investigate the conduct of the army in the war to improve its performance for the future” and reiterated that it would not analyse any aspect of Israel’s reaction on a national-political level.

The IDF had said it would examine the October 7 attack “when we have the operational possibility.”

The military elucidated that it had not yet begun to explore the failures that led to Hamas’s October 7 shock attack, when thousands of terrorists exploded into southern Israel, massacring some 1,200 people and abducting over 240, but assured that “the investigation process is being formulated.”

In a short message, the IDF said the General Staff was choosing the heads of various teams to analyse the incidents surrounding the terror attack. “When things are finalised, they will be reported to the public,” the IDF statement added.

Under the designed probe, Mofaz will examine the IDF General Staff, Ze’evi-Farkash will scrutinise the IDF’s intelligence, Turgeman will investigate the fallen defences on the Gaza border, and Har-Even will analyse the general operational aspects of October 7.

The decision came as a discussion of top ministers planned to arrange for the administration of Gaza following the fight against Hamas completed in a loud and angry conflict between ministers and military arrogance, as right-wing lawmakers screamed foul over the objectives for the IDF to probe its own mistakes.

The altercation saw right-wing politicians, including some from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, aim Halevi over both the inquest timing and Mofaz, a former politician.

The rivalry brought to the surface long-simmering strains between the military and some in the hard-right bloc over Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians, revealing cracks in the essentially harmonious front presented by the ministers since the war broke out three months ago.

It also came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was directed to the region for highly expected talks on plans to wind down action and hand over civil authority of Gaza.

According to the reports, Transportation Minister Miri Regev encountered Halevi during the discussion about the probe, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Regional Cooperation Minister David Amsalem entering the fray as they required to know why the army had chosen to launch its investigation with fighting ongoing in Gaza.

Minister reportedly said he was angry about the inclusion of Mofaz due to his involvement in the 2005 retreat from Gaza. Some on the far-right hope to see the disengagement from the Strip changed in the wake of the war against Hamas and the re-establishment of compensations there.

Smotrich, who leads the far-right Religious Zionism party, supported the attacks on Halevi during the previous night’s cabinet session, writing on X, formerly Twitter, that politicians challenging or criticising military officials do not imply they are not giving full consent to the army amid the war against Hamas in Gaza.

“It is permissible and even desirable to ask the army questions and to criticise it as well,” he wrote. “The attempts to prevent this are undemocratic and very dangerous. This is the first lesson from the initial investigation of the October 7.”

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