Smotrich Makes a Stand on Military

Peloni:  It is important to balance the needs of the moment against the needs of the future, but as has been demonstrated in this war on many fronts, and is evident from the war in Ukraine, the future of the IDF must include an emphasis on missile and drone programs.  Hence, the decision to purchase another squadron of the US dependent F35’s only served to re-entrench the military dependency upon the American MIC, just when Israel’s focus should be shifting away from  America and towards expanding domestic development of missile and drone programs.  Also, the schemes of contracting less than essential purchases first as described by Smotrich is something which should be an obvious point of correction for any manager, and it is both right and proper, indeed it is essential, that Smotrich should challenge the responsible parties to maximize act with appropriate husbandry of the state’s assets.  The failure to address the follies which led to October 7 in the past many months has preserved a significant liability against the war effort and which must reasonably be addressed as the state’s budget is expensed in this war.  Consequently, establishing a public committee to examine these issues, with full transparency, would seem to be both a necessary and responsible requirement to address these issues.

Min. Bezalel Smotrich | X | May 24, 2024

I will not be a partner in building the next concept!

The Israeli economy is strong and with God’s help this war will also be successful. But this war costs a lot of money. An order of magnitude of at least 250 billion NIS. And this money, which our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will pay with interest, comes at the expense of other things for the citizens of Israel. At the expense of education and health and welfare and absorption and culture and transportation and more. And my duty as Minister of Finance is to make sure that this money also Managed efficiently and frugally and not wastefully and also invested correctly to buy maximum security for the citizens of Israel.

Unfortunately, the IDF and the Ministry of Defense have been steadfastly refusing for seven months to draw lessons from the events of October 7 and the war we have been waging since then, and insist on killing like last year. They insist on continuing to do more of the same and only demand much more money to do it. Without reanalyzing the threats , without understanding where the failures were, without brainstorming about the required response and about priorities and more.

The system insists on continuing to operate like a state within a state, without transparency, without control and supervision, and without minimal efficiency processes that exist in every other government office. Take for example the State Comptroller’s report published this week on the inefficiency and unprofessionalism of procurement procedures in the IDF, or the outrageous investigation published today in Calcalist on the massive waste around the reserve days.

Now you will understand, in the budget of 160 billion NIS that the IDF has this year, in waste “on the margins” is many billions. This week we had a discussion in the government about an aid program for the residents of the north. We have allocated a billion NIS in cash for this year and have committed to three more from next year, which is apparently a lot, but it is far from enough. Now think how much we could have done for the residents of the north and the rehabilitation of the north if only the IDF would work correctly and more transparently and be more efficient this year “only” in two or three percent. That is 3-4 billion NIS.

And to be clear, I did not limit the IDF throughout the war in anything related to it. On the contrary, at the beginning of the war, I announced that the Israeli economy was strong and would support the war effort, on the front and the rear, as long as it took until victory. Name the victory. But there is a great distance between this and wastefulness, between this and an unwillingness to rethink, to discuss, to ask difficult questions and to make sure that these replica budgets are invested correctly, there is a great distance.

And yes, the truth must be told, after October 7 the demand of the heads of the security establishment that we trust them with our eyes closed and give them an open check is illegitimate. This position that they are the smartest and the only ones who know and are always right and we don’t understand anything and they just have to “explain” to us why we don’t understand, this arrogant attitude is unacceptable. Not all intelligence is in one place, and certainly not in a system that failed so critically and badly in Simchat Torah. We all received a small, shocking and deeply painful reminder the other day in the video of the kidnapping of the female observers.

I will not agree to that. I will not agree that the concept will continue during my shift, I will not agree that during my shift there will be no supervision and there will be no budgetary control over the IDF and the security establishment, and above all I will not agree to cheap manipulations.

And this is exactly what the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Defense in the Cabinet did yesterday, taking advantage of the fact that the defense budget is a very complex event that the ministers are not familiar with and cynically using the holy of holies of Israel’s security.

The attempt to claim that the Ministry of Finance prevents the signing of purchase orders for critical and immediate equipment required for the war and harms security is cheap manipulation. The IDF insists for months on not cooperating and doing whatever it pleases, issues contracts against the law and in huge sums for things that can and should wait, continues to operate inefficiently, mixes cash budgets and privileges, deliberately leaves the orders for urgent things to the end, and takes advantage of the fact that the ministers do not know the details, and then think that he will be able to bend us and spend the budgets by force because who would take upon himself a delay in the procurement of critical ammunition.

I am not afraid of these manipulations. I explained to the ministers the scandalous conduct of the defense system, which came at the end of the day at the expense of their ministries, I clarified that there is no delay in ordering urgent procurement for the purpose of the war (how much is it possible to underestimate the intelligence of the public and claim that the procurement of squadrons that will arrive here in another decade is something that is needed for the current war here and now and it is not possible delay for a few months?!) and that the time has come for the IDF to start conducting itself transparently and efficiently, to cooperate with the establishment of a public committee that will examine the needs of the defense budget in the aspects of reference scenarios, torture, and priorities for force building and strengthening, as agreed between the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and myself on the night of approval The war budget for 2024, then there will be no problem.

I suggested to the Prime Minister and the ministers to come to the next cabinet discussion with the management of the Ministry of Finance, with the Budget Division and the Accountant General and the Chief Economist, to present to the ministers the structure of the defense budget and the many failures in its management, to explain what the dilemmas are and what is on the agenda, where are the IDF’s determinations and the preparations for yesterday’s wars , and what comes at the expense of what. I am convinced that the ministers will be convinced and support my demand for the establishment of the public committee and for a more correct and tight management of the defense budget…

We have a hero. We have tiger warriors and lion commanders. We have a strong economy that can, with God’s help, support security needs. But in order for all of these to give us confidence, we must learn serious lessons, rethink and above all brainstorm and ignite different opinions. And it requires humility and openness and the ability to talk and listen, and these are necessities that unfortunately the heads of the system do not have. And this is one of the main causes of the terrible failure of the 7th of October. It is sad that the lesson was not learned.

I have no intention of giving up!

May 26, 2024 | 5 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Well done Peloni for posting this very educational study and for you referring to Ukraine. None of the comments have taken that up…so far. How was Putin able to think on his feet and act. I have read that Russia is now producing 3 times more shells than all NATO land.

    The effects of this now on these poor Ukrainian soldiers is just painful to see. All unnecessary as Zelensky had almost everything but Johnson was able to change his mind.

  2. Minister Smotrich is a great man. He stands against the army leadership that destroyed the army and led to the Oct. 7 massacre.

  3. The problems described in this article are simply a continuation of the defiance and arrogance of the heads of the IDF and the intelligence services leading up to the war. A whole bundle of heads need to roll after the investigation into the failure of both the intelligence and the IDF on October 7th.

  4. Israel has plenty of “smart and resourceful people” and cannot afford the waste typical of American capitalism.