No End to National Security Surprises

Photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing.

The surprise was total and horrific—Israeli men, women and children brutally killed or taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, 2023. Israel’s vaunted intelligence services failed to provide adequate warning, its military—the Israeli Defense Forces—failed to provide adequate security, and Israeli political leadership remained cocooned in their comfortable assumptions about risks to Israeli security posed by Palestinians in […]

Why is It So Difficult for Israel to Decipher Hamas?

Hamas militants. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Abed Rahim Khatib.

As they were marching towards Jerusalem, the knights of the First Crusade lay siege to the city of Antioch in southern Anatolia from October 1097 to June 1098. They were approached there by envoys of the Fatimid dynasty ruling Egypt, who offered the Crusaders a plan to cooperate against the Seljuk state then in possession […]

The Intelligence Failure of October 7 – Roots and Lessons

Hamas troops break down the Gaza border fence on October 7, allowing Gazans to cross into Israel. Photo credit: REUTERS.

Hamas’ sudden attack on the kibbutzim and the towns neighboring the Gaza Strip caught the IDF and the country by total surprise. During the first 24 hours, beginning at 6:30 in the morning of October 7, the Hamas Nukhba (name of the commando troops, means “elite”) and those who came in with them conquered and […]

How Could This Happen?

Photo credit: IMAGO/Saeed Qaq via Reuters Connect

Israelis woke up on 7 October 2023 to a day of grief, outrage, and ultimately, incomprehension.  It was not the missiles which mattered. Israelis have grown accustomed to missile attacks from Gaza. The horrors which gradually unfolded resulted from an overland breach of the Gaza border defenses. At various points in time on October 7, 14 […]

A Revisionist View of the Intelligence Failure of the Yom Kippur War

Prime Minister Golda Meir, during the Yom Kippur War, October 1973. Photo credit: imago images/Sven Simon via Reuters Connect

As Israel heads into the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War of 1973, one issue from that momentous war is still debated in Israel. Who was to blame for Israel’s failure to anticipate the Egyptian and Syrian surprise attack: the military intelligence officials (and by extension the organization and mentality of the intelligence establishment) […]