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'We have the duty to investigate,' IDF Chief Halevi says as army begins to probe Oct. 7 failures

Committee of former generals to conduct external examination of IDF's shortcomings

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi (Photo: IDF)

Israel Defense Forces will begin the process of investigating its failures during the events of October 7, including their lead-up to and its war conduct since, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi announced on Tuesday.

The process is scheduled to begin in the coming days and conclude sometime in May, with internal investigations of every IDF unit led by its respective commander.

Following the investigations and assessments of individual units, the IDF will make decisions on the dismissal of commanders who failed in their conduct.

In a second step, an inspection committee led by retired IDF generals will take over the investigations from May and externally probe the IDF’s performance.

The primary findings of the investigations will be made public to help restore a measure of public confidence in the IDF, traditionally seen as the most trusted institution in the country.

Halevi issued a letter to army commanders explaining the rationale of the investigations.

"We have the duty to investigate. This is a necessity and not a privilege," Halevi wrote.

"Only then will we be able to understand how we could have acted, and how we will act in the future, to better protect the citizens of Israel. Each unit will investigate the battles and the events in which they participated and we will investigate up the chain of command, rank for rank," he continued.

"At this stage, the IDF will investigate the opening events [of the war], but a unit on a break from the fighting, will also have to investigate the events that followed - in the name of learning and preventing the loss of knowledge."

"We will carry out the investigations in light of five leading values: truth, factuality, transparency, responsibility, and camaraderie."

Halevi met with State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman two weeks ago to coordinate their separate inspections of the army’s conduct.

“The meeting was held in a good spirit out of a common desire to act without harming the war effort. To that end, there will be a dialogue between the workgroups, after which the two will talk again,” they said in a joint statement.

Last month, Halevi appointed the members of the inspection committee but was met with criticism within the government. Therefore, it was decided to postpone the external portion until the end of the internal investigations in May.

Israeli media reported that the committee will be led by former Minister of Defense and IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz, and will include retired Major Generals Yoav Har-Even, Sami Turgeman, and Aharon Ze’evi Farkash.

Especially the reported appointment of Mofaz was criticized by members of the government coalition, as Mofaz has been a vocal critic of the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In addition to the investigations, the IDF will also resume the process of new appointments to senior positions in the army, including ranks of colonel and brigadier general, which were on hold due to the war.

The chief of staff will appoint new officers at the level of brigade and division commanders, and appoint new staff officers in the coming weeks.

No new appointments will be made in certain “sensitive” positions that are directly related to the failures of Oct. 7 before the conclusions of the investigations are available, Army Radio reported.

The IDF will also initiate a new multi-year plan to adapt the army to its new strategic situation in the wake of the war.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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