Israel needs a bigger army, suggests prescient retired general

Prophetic ex-general lambasts former IDF chiefs of staff for pursuing the policy of a “small and smart” army too reliant on air power and intelligence.

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Gaza, IDF
Then-Israeli Military Ombudsman Major General Yitzhak Brick speaking at a State Comptroller Committee meeting at the Knesset, on December 12, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Then-Israeli Military Ombudsman Major General Yitzhak Brick speaking at a State Comptroller Committee meeting at the Knesset, on December 12, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Retired IDF general Yitzhak Brick has become something of an oracle in Israel. Sadly, he was recognized as such too late to prevent the horrors of October 7. But military and political leaders are listening to him now, and he’s got a lot to say about the future of the Israeli army.

For the past several years, Brick warned that Hamas was planning something big, even predicting with astonishing detail elements of the October 7 ground invasion and occupation of Israeli towns.

“We feel that everything is fine and there is no threat, but the public is not told that powers are preparing. These are equipped and trained, and will cross the border and attack and occupy our settlements in the south. The likelihood of this happening is very high,” Brick said in early 2023. “Hamas will conquer settlements, throw grenades into bunkers and shelters and cause a massacre. The local residents, you and me, must defend these communities because the army will not be there.”

At the time, he was dismissed as delusional by Israel’s top military and political “experts” who thought they knew better.

We all know from the Bible that a prophet is never appreciated in his own time. But perhaps it’s not too late to heed Brick and those like him who are keen to prevent the next disaster.

To do so, Brick says Israel must toss out the sage “wisdom” of the past few IDF chiefs of staff and return to fundamentals.

In short, Israel needs a bigger army that trains more often.

“Years ago, then-IDF Chief of Staff Ehud Barak said we no longer need a large military, that the time of big wars was past, that Israel would be better served by a streamlined and technologically-advanced army,” Brick told the religious news outlet TOV News.

“Later, ‘Boogie’ [Moshe Ya’alon] stated that there was no longer a place for tanks on the battlefield. And he proceeded to reduce Israel’s tank force by 1,000! Then came Benny Gantz, who removed another 600 tanks,” Brick continued, noting that after Gantz, Gadi Eizenkot went on to cut the IDF’s artillery force.

Gantz and Eizenkot are still in a position to call the shots, despite being proven disastrously wrong in their strategic outlook. Recent polls show that if elections were held today, Gantz’s National Camp would win and he’d become prime minister. Eizenkot is also at the top of National Camp list, and would likely be made defense minister in a future government. Ehud Barak is not currently in a political party, but continues to wield enormous influence with left-wing protest movements and is a regular on Israeli news programs.

There were a lot of failures that facilitated Hamas’s gruesome success on the morning of October 7, but Brick says one of the key elements was that the IDF just didn’t have the manpower to repel or effectively respond to the invasion.

Indeed, it is still shocking to hear the stories from survivors of the October 7 invasion, particularly their recounting of how long it took until Israeli security forces arrived. At the Nova music festival and in many of the Gaza periphery towns and villages, locals hid and endured atrocities for well over six hours before an organized response by security forces reached them. Israel is not a large country. It’s possible to drive its entire length in that time.

The distance wasn’t the problem. There just weren’t enough men and machines to send to the rescue. Or to effectively repel the onslaught in the first place.

And if Hamas could wreak such havoc, imagine what a larger, better-equipped enemy could do.

In one of his interviews several weeks after the Hamas attack, Brick said it was only by a miracle that Hezbollah did not immediately join the war and invade the Galilee. Israel, he said, would have been unable to prevent the heavily-armed, Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist militia from bringing the Jewish state to the brink of destruction.

At the end of his tenure as IDF ombudsman in 2019, Brick assessed that the Israeli military had become far too reliant on airpower, intelligence and cyber capabilities, all of which on their own could not stop an invading enemy force, especially a suicidal one.

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