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Barlev Calls for Probe to Determine Why Israel Was Caught by Surprise

Lt. Gen. Haim Barlev. Israel’s Minister of Commerce and industry, believes that an investigation must be conducted, “as painful as it may be” into why Israel was caught by surprise when Egypt and Syria attacked on Oct. 6. In an interview published in Maariv, the Labor Party Cabinet Minister and former Chief of Staff who was recalled to active duty and served on the southern front in the Yom Kippur War, implied strongly that the nation’s civilian leadership was at fault for misreading intelligence data.

“One fact should not be mistaken.” Barlev said. “The Israeli intelligence was in possession of all necessary reports concerning the war preparations of both Syria and Egypt. But the evaluation of these reports missed. The evaluation was wrong.” He added: “We all had indications of the preparations for war yet the probabilities were against war. This evaluation changed on Saturday morning (Yom Kippur) when the reports and the evaluation were Juxtaposed. But that left little time for Israeli preparations.”

Barlev said that there were no new weapons used by Egypt or Syria that Israel did not know of. Even the anti-tanks missiles and rockets. “Not here lay the mistakes…These are serious words, I know. But we should not escape from truth,” he said. He added that “our mistakes were in the first 48 hours of the war. After that everything went well….When the Israeli army stood on its own feet the developments were as we anticipated and even planned.” Barlev said he was convinced that the Israeli army “will not be caught again off balance or be surprised as it was this time.” He added that “The enemies have no chance of winning a renewed war. But one should not exclude such a possibility.”

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