Buried in a Ha’aretz story on training exercises aimed at rebuilding the Israeli army’s ability to fight a war is the mention of the newspaper’s own report [emphasis added]
from October 2002 about the expected reduction in training exercises by the regular units for 2003, stating: “The burden of the territories displaces training; only two weeks per year.” This was the plan, but in reality, the troops sometimes trained even less than that. The article also reported that the army was compelled to divert all of its resources to combating Palestinian terror, and it quotes brigade and battalion commanders who admit that, two years into the intifada, their charges have no notion of regular training and exercise.
That article was based in part on a conversation with the head of the IDF’s training department at the time, Colonel Moti Kidor. Kidor told about how, when he tried to warn then chief of staff Shaul Mofaz about the decline in the regular units’ battle fitness, Mofaz nearly threw him out of his office.Four years later, during the [Second Lebanon] war, Kidor commanded the 401st regular Armored Brigade, which became known for the bloody battle of Wadi Saluki. Kidor’s fighters conducted themselves heroically and earned numerous citations, but the gaps in their professional training were made painfully clear.
In other words, as military chief of staff, Mofaz failed to see that police work in occupied territory was destroying the military’s capability of fighting as an army. Today Mofaz is campaigning to lead Kadima on the strength of his military c.v. and his strategic thinking.
Also in South Jerusalem: