Unit 8200, illustration
Unit 8200, illustrationIDF

The elite SIGINT Unit 8200 commander recently decided to promote and honor two officers in the unit, who were responsible until recently for intelligence collection in the Gaza Strip, and commanded units that failed in their task to provide an early warning of the impending Hamas invasion.

Galei Tzahal reports that the decision drew significant criticism from other members of the unit.

The first soldier was until recently the head of the department in 8200 responsible for surveillance of Hamas military personnel communications. He served in this role during the months leading up to October 7 and also at the outbreak of the war. Recently, he was declared the unit's outstanding officer, and as a token of recognition for his excellence, it was decided to promote him to Major, despite his department’s failure.

The other was the senior officer of signal intelligence in the Gaza Strip until July 2023, shortly before the war. He was promoted to be the head of the Iran department in 8200, and his promotion process continued during the war with his being sent to a command course, which may indicate an intention to continue promoting him.

The 8200 commander did not stop or at least freeze the promotions until the investigations are completed. The report stated that in 8200 there are strong feelings of "an attempt to forget the failure," and evasion of responsibility of those who should see themselves as responsible. The main criticism is directed at the unit commander, Colonel Yossi Shirael, who unlike other senior officials in IDF military intelligence has not yet resigned.

In response, the IDF spokesperson stated: "The officer was nominated before the war to hold a position as a Deputy-General and took his position in July 2023. Every colonel in the IDF is required to take a course at the Command College. Unit 8200 did not hold its annual excellence ceremony due to the war. The officers are very professional and highly regarded, and operate for national security."