Yoel Ackerman

Was There a Fatal Flaw in Israeli Intelligence?

The catastrophic terror attacks in Israel, presents serious questions. For one, how can a Country which prides itself on intelligence, completely drop the ball? The same question can be asked about the United States, an ally and staunch supporter of Israel. America has already publicly stated that it did not have any knowledge, nor did it receive any warning ahead of time. Yet, Israel will have to address this elephant in the room, after it pummels the Gaza Strip. 

The Israelis historically have had dominant capabilities to monitor communications in Gaza. The Israelis also have some of the best capabilities to break into encrypted communications. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog acknowledged there was an “element of surprise.” It is certainly hard to fathom how Hamas terrorists entered approximately 15 miles into Israel, killed thousands, and also took nearly 150 hostages back into Gaza, all without a single intervention from Israel.  Israel’s media has been asking the same questions. 

While the simple answer could be that Israel “let its guard down” there must be more to this. Reports suggest that this type of attack took months, if not years to plan. “They’ve been planning this for a long time,” former Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata told Reuters. In recent months, much of the Israel Defense Forces’ focus has been in the West Bank. Israeli officials have also been preoccupied with tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Yet, there has also been much division in Israel, between its own citizens. 

In recent months leading up to the brutal attacks, there have been numerous protests against the Netanyahu Government, for trying to change the Judicial structure in Israel. For the last several years, there has been constant division between the “right wing” and the “left wing” parties of Israel. In fact, Israel has not had a steady Prime Minister in a long time. Before the attacks, some members of Israel’s military reserve also refused to report for duty, in protest of the Israeli Government. Perhaps, this internal division created a lapse in Israel security and intelligence. 

While some media reports have stated that Egypt warned Israel several days prior to the attacks, Netanyahu publicly dismissed those claims. It is unclear if those claims are indeed true. Amir Avivi, a retired Israeli general, said that without a foothold inside Gaza, Israel’s security services have come to rely increasingly on technological means to gain intelligence. He said militants in Gaza have found ways to evade that technological intelligence gathering, giving Israel an incomplete picture of their intentions. Perhaps Hamas found a way around Israel technology, as some have suggested that Hamas hacked Israel’s computer systems, causing it to go blank – again, another unconfirmed report.  For now, major questions remain. 

About the Author
Yoel Ackerman is a blogger and content writer at several media outlets, including the Lakewood Scoop and The Times of Israel. He also works as a Paralegal and is currently pursuing a degree in law. His content often includes the news of the day, from a legal perspective.
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