IllustrativeNati Shohat/Flash90

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has long asserted that preparing the armed forces for the coming war is right at the top of the army's agenda, but according to a new report published in Israel Hayom, the IDF has been neglecting its own obligation to report its readiness to the government for several years.

According to the Reserve Units Law of 2008, the IDF is obligated to issue an annual report - to be presented to the Defense Minister and the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee - regarding the state of preparedness of all its reserve units. However, it has not actually done so for the last three years, since 2018.

The Reserve Units Law is designed to: "Define the structure of the IDF's reserve units as well as their state of readiness and the intended purpose of each unit; define the outline for calling up the units, as well as the obligations and rights of reserve soldiers; describe the placement of the reserve units within the IDF as an inseparable part of the armed forces upon which the army relies in order to fulfill the state's security needs..."

Clause 3 of the Law establishes that the mandate of the IDF's reserve units is defined by the government according to the recommendations of the Defense Minister who will rely on the assessment of the Chief of Staff, and that the government should review this mandate at the very least annually. The IDF is responsible for ensuring that the reserve units are maintained in a state of readiness, and the Defense Minister is supposed to authorize their state of readiness for war and report on this to the government.

During the period in which the IDF failed to meet its obligations to the government to report on reserve units, three different Defense Ministers held office: Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, and Benny Gantz; not one of them took action to rectify the situation.

A senior political source told Israel Hayom that the failure to compile the reports was "scandalous." Noting that the IDF Chief of Staff is not permitted to free himself of the obligation to report to the government, he said that, "The government oversees the IDF, and it is obligated to receive a trustworthy report regarding its state of affairs. The Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee supervises the army, and it must have access to all the relevant statistics. The fact that the IDF has not provided the data for the past three years is astounding."