IDF reservists on the border with Gaza
IDF reservists on the border with Gaza Reuters

The IDF is not functioning to full capacity, according to a damning audit from State Comptroller, Ret. Judge Yosef Shapira on Monday.

Shapira particularly pointed to the inadequacy of the IDF reserve system and deficiencies in emergency storehouses that would prove catastrophic in the event of another war. 

The audit report focuses on several areas, including: Emergency Preparedness; defense industries; and protection of individual rights in the IDF and the security establishment at large.

In the field of training and emergency preparedness, the report deals with the IDF reserves, which are the principal fighting force of Israel's ground forces, and as a result, are of paramount importance in the battlefield. 

The report revealed that the reserves have taken severe budgetary cuts in recent years, such that reservists have often not been retrained in their skill set over the course of their yearly reserve duty, and that their competency had been hampered in dealing with real-life scenarios in future wars. 

The emergency warehouses are also suffering from a significant number of deficiencies, the report stated.

Moreover, a number of strategic sites have been left unprotected since as far back as 2004, the report added, despite those sites being relegated to the Defense Ministry in 2012 and despite direct intervention from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in March of that year to ramp up security. 

No real progress has been made in protecting those sites since the last report - as far back as November 2013 - Shapira noted. The oversight leaves critical IDF outposts and headquarters vulnerable to attacks and could potentially cause damage to the operational capability of Israel's Armed Forces overall, he fired, as well as to the future of the Israeli economy. 

Tens of millions of dollars of military investment have been lost by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as well, he said, due to deficiencies in the IDF's defense technology development program. These include issues with contracted consultants for defense projects - including violations of the Mandatory Tenders Law - and tens of millions of shekels paid out to contractors without checks and balances on the content of their work. 

In terms of soldiers' rights, the Comptroller found that the waiting period for soldiers applying for rehabilitation for their injuries from their IDF service is too long, and that the Rehabilitation Department often does not receive vital information about patients from the relevant officials, including the IDF itself and officials in the Tax Authority. 

The IDF said in response to the State Comptroller's Report that "the reserves is a significant part of the IDF's overall order of priorities in combat service, and the reservists bring experience, professionalism, quality and motivation to their military service."

"[The State Comptroller's] recommendation on the scope of the reserves must be done with a comprehensive view of conscripts and reserves," it continued, noting that it was attempting to ensure the highest level of military service under a limited budget. 

"The IDF is operating optimally in its reserve training, according to its needs and consideration of budgetary and operational constraints," it said. "In addition, prior to the 2015 effort will be made to establish a dedicated budget for training the reserves, as recommended by the reserve committee."

"The IDF views all of its physical fitness soldiers as a supreme value," it added.