February 22, 2024

The end of the Israel-Hamas war is not awaited by anyone to establish accountability for the failure to predict Hamas’s gruesome October 7 attack, killing 1,200 Israelis. Insider accounts of what went wrong in IDF intelligence have been provided to The Jerusalem Post. Multiple officials, including five IDF chiefs and several defense ministers, all made the flawed assumption that Hamas could be deterred by economic incentives and airstrikes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ran the country for the majority of this time, along with others, held the same view.

There are questions surrounding whether new warnings leading into October 7 were disregarded, and who made the warnings, who ignored them, and why. A comprehensive account may be difficult to attain due to the many implicated parties.

The Post has pieced together different insider accounts, revealing that Non-Commissioned Unit 8200 Officer “V” foresaw the extent of Hamas’s plans and sounded the alarm multiple times leading into October 7. Her superior officer, a Lt.-Col. in IDF intelligence, is likely one of the primary people at fault for dismissing her warnings.

Despite the warnings, “V” did not have a concrete prediction of when the attack would happen or a clear understanding of why a long-standing concept of understanding Hamas was about to be overturned. She worked in Unit 8200, which collects intelligence, as opposed to the Analysis Division, who are considered experts in deciphering threats.

Some emails were sent after a meeting in September where “V” and her superior agreed to continue discussions on the issue in future forums. There had also been a prior warning of a Hamas attack around Passover of the same year, raising the IDF’s alert, but the attack did not materialize.

There are conflicting accounts of whether Huliya, head of IDF intelligence, was aware of the warnings from “V.” Reports indicate that the Shin Bet received a warning the night before October 7. There are also reports of officers ignoring low-ranking lookout’s warnings about increased Hamas activity, and of various Unit 8200 units being closed or having their hours shortened, which negatively impacted the IDF’s defense on October 7.

These developments raise serious questions about the state of IDF intelligence. A full understanding of what went wrong leading into the October 7 attack may only be achieved through a state commission of inquiry.