Chava Berman Borowsky

Where was the IDF on Oct. 7th?

The question every Israeli has been asking without receiving any satisfactory answers. Netanyahu’s cabinet chalks it up to the “konseptzia” that Hamas were low-key unorganized terrorists without any major capabilities. The inconvenient truth is that the dangers that the South posed were belittled and neglected by the higher-ups in the army and lower level commanders were dismissed for years already any time they tried to speak up.

There were nine platoons surrounding the Gaza Envelope. Mostly because of bureaucratic reasons they weren’t activated. One of the platoons who were fully prepared and ready to fight was overlooked because it was thought that they were moved to The Home Front Command.

The commanders of the platoons told their reservists to come to the base in Ktziot. From the early morning more and more reservists kept coming. By 12:00 midday there were more than 250 soldiers, many with family members at the Nova Festival and in the kibbutzim, who were totally prepared to go out and fight. At the most critical time of day for a few solid hours these soldiers were told to just wait until they’d receive organized commands. 

There was a very real dilemma that the army faced. Whether to send multiple unsynchronized forces out at once and face the very real danger of complete chaos and tragic incidents of friendly fire or to wait until there was more order and organization. Today many commanders will say that it was a huge mistake and that desperate extreme times call for desperate extreme measures.  

The commanders in Ktziot were told by the Emergency Storage Unit that they were forbidden from taking any weapons until there was a clear order put in place. At one point a few soldiers decided that they would just break into the storage facilities and take what they needed without authorization. The Emergency Storage Unit said that even if there was a break-in they still wouldn’t give any weapons.

Many commanders weren’t getting any of their requests answered. There were multiple deadly fights taking place all at once and there wasn’t enough man-power to authorize what needed to be done. The Sderot police station took a few hours to gain control of while simultaneously there were terrorists in more than ten kibbutzim and yishuvim and in addition there was the Nova Festival. 

The greatest factor that contributed to the calamity of omission and oversight was reliance on an “impenetrable” steel fence and digital systems and sensors. It was thought that infantrymen and tanks wouldn’t be necessary anymore because of digitalization and because of superior airpower. The Chief of Staff of the Southern district even said on record that if there was an infiltration the air power would take care of it in a few minutes and therefore ground soldiers weren’t necessary anymore.

There are many many military, political, and national lessons that we learned on Oct. 7th. Listen to the actual commanders of the South, don’t rely too much on digitalization because it can’t compete with actual feet on the ground, and never underestimate those whose charter blatantly calls for killing every Jew. 

About the Author
Chava Berman Borowsky grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an Orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in 2008 and has since lived in Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Holon, and Ashdod. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, painting, and writing.
Related Topics
Related Posts