November 30, 2023

The head of the research division in the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the political and societal crisis surrounding judicial reform was encouraging Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas to risk attacks against Israel, including joint attacks, according to a report by Haaretz on Monday.

Brig.-Gen. Amit Sa’ar wrote letters to Netanyahu in March and July. The warnings by the IDF about the defense consequences of the judicial reform have caused controversy.

Former and current defense officials issued public and private warnings about the impact of the judicial reform on the defense establishment. Netanyahu refused to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi shortly before the vote on the reasonableness standard in July.

Sa’ar’s letters included an appendix of raw intelligence information, including a short analysis warning of the imminent danger of military escalation. Haaretz revealed the contents of the letters earlier this year.

Sa’ar’s first letter warned that the crisis was weakening Israel, providing an opportunity for its enemies to accelerate and deepen its hardships. According to Sa’ar, the crisis was creating significant constraints for Israel and eroding American and European support.

In the second letter, Sa’ar warned that the crisis was further eroding Israel’s image, exacerbating the vulnerability of Israeli deterrence, and increasing the likelihood of escalation.

He also mentioned that some players estimated the crisis had put Israel in one of its weakest points since its establishment. According to Haaretz, Sa’ar pointed out that the crisis was damaging the alliance between Israel and the US, the cohesion of Israeli society, and the strength of the IDF.

Sa’ar pointed to a string of attacks and provocations by Hezbollah along the northern border, emphasizing that the behavior could not be disconnected from the weak points in Israel.

He described Hezbollah as the main threat in the immediate future, considering the terrorist movement’s escalation in the past year.