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Second Agranat Committee Report Cautions Against Too Much Criticism of Army, Intelligence

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The Agranat Committee submitted its second interim report on the Yom Kippur War last night. It went to the Premier and other Cabinet members and to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee for study but was not made public, except for the introduction, because of classified material in its contents. The committee urged that the report be circulated among senior military officers who could benefit from its findings.

The introduction said it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on criticism of the army and army intelligence. The danger was of distorting the picture which, on the whole, was one of most servicemen performing their duties efficiently and ably before the war broke out. The committee acknowledged that public interest would normally demand publication of the full report. But because it contains so much sensitive material, it was decided not to publish any portions rather than unrepresentative selections out of context, the introduction said.

The second interim report deals with intelligence information received by Israel in the days immediately prior to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, its evaluation and the degree of preparedness of the armed forces at that stage. The Agranat Committee has yet to start the next phase of its investigation which will cover the actual waging of war up to the point when the enemy offensive was halted. That investigation is expected to take at least another six months during which top military officers, active and retired, will be called on to testify.

A VERY DIFFICULT REPORT

The committee, appointed by former Premier Golda Meir to determine mainly why Israel was caught by surprise when Egypt and Syria attacked last Oct. 6 and to evaluate Israel’s response to the attack in the early days of the war, submitted its first interim report earlier this year. That report found that Israel had ample warning of the impending attack but that senior officers misread the intelligence and acted too late.

The first interim report led to the resignation of Chief of Staff Gen. David Elazar who it held responsible for many of the shortcomings. Gen. Elazar will testify at the next stage of the hearings. The report submitted last night explains the line of reasoning followed by the committee, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Shimon Agranat, in reaching the conclusions contained in the earlier report. A source who saw the document described it as “a very difficult report.”

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