Overhaul divisions harming ability to deal with Iran, former top security wonk says

A former top policy official in the Defense Ministry says the crisis surrounding the government’s efforts to overhaul the military is the most serious he has ever seen.

“Based on my experience of the last four decades that I used to serve the country, this is the most profound, deep, internal crisis that I remember here,” says Zohar Palti, a former head of the Defense Ministry’s military policy bureau.

He makes the comments to a policy forum held by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he is a fellow.

Asked whether the clamor will affect Israel’s security, Palti gives an emphatic “definitely yes.”

Palti notes that some in the government lack military experience and don’t understand the implications of what they are doing, in apparent reference to ministers Itamar Ben Gvir, who did not serve, and Bezalel Smotrich, who served only a shortened stint.

But he also blames a lack of dialogue and societal rifts for endangering the country.

“It seems to me that if somebody attacks Israel right now, we can overcome it,” he says, but adds that a large offensive, a “big one, huge one regarding an existential threat, right now in this position to go out like that, you need unity for that.”

He notes that while all this is happening, Iranian nuclear enrichment has ramped up to nearly weapons-grade levels.

“It’s at the worst point that we have ever been, and [it’s] coming, from an internal point of view, in the worst situation,” he warns.

If you want to do something against Iran, he adds, “you need to unify.”

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