The IDF Deputy Commander of the Northern Command during the Second Lebanon War says Israel is learning from last summer and preparing for war.

Speaking at a Monday conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben-Reuven said the IDF is learning the mistakes of last summer's war and is preparing for a comprehensive war.  Ben-Reuven said the war in Lebanon was justified, but turned out "bad" for Israel both militarily and politically.  "It is not good that we failed," he said.

"The year 2000 is when the problems started," Ben-Reuven said.  Israel hurriedly withdrew its forces from Lebanon that year, and Ben-Reuven feels that Israel then began to concentrate mainly on the terrorist threat, as opposed to all-out war.  This led, he said, to a wrong deployment of forces for the war with Hizbullah.

"We can deal with Palestinian terrorism in the course of preparing for all-out war," he said, "but we can't prepare for war while dealing only with terrorism. Until now, we thought that our readiness in the campaign against terrorism would help us in all-out war as well, but this is not the case."

"We were not defeated last year," the general said, "but we failed to utilize our strength and meet our objectives, due to faulty leadership... The war gave us a ringing smack, reminding us of the mistake we made in 2000."

War With Syria

Ben-Reuven feels that Syria will expect to suffer losses in a coming conflict with Israel, "but will try to hit Israel's homefront in order to win diplomatic gains in peace talks that will follow, and also cause another split in Israeli society.  The IDF will need a fast and strong ground forces operation to knock out the areas from where rockets are launched against Israel as quickly as possible - and the army is training for this."

Other speakers at the conference included former Police Commissioner Rafi Peled and former IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash.  Peled said that during the recent war, "no one in the Home Front knew his job, and the people did not know how to deal with the rockets.  If another 200 rockets had landed on Haifa, the city would not have made it." The nearly 100 Katyushas that landed in Haifa during the war killed a disproportionate 12 people.

Ze'evi-Farkash said that both Iran and Hizbullah simply need time to improve their military capacities against Israel.