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Has Israel’s army become too small?

Outgoing IDF deputy chief of staff Eyal Zamir warned this week that Israel's army would struggle to manage the multiple threats facing the country.
ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images
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The outgoing deputy head of the Israel Defense Forces, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, is not big on interviews and rarely speaks in public. At a handover ceremony for his successor Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi this week, Zamir dropped a bomb. Zamir, who was tasked with the IDF’s force buildup, essentially said that the IDF is not big enough and could find itself lacking the critical mass it needs to defeat Israel’s enemies.

“We could be facing a long, heavy, multi-theater campaign, combined with domestic challenges,” Zamir warned. To overcome these threats on its borders and to its heartland, Israel needs “decision-making ability, breathing space and a strong reserve,” he added. “In my opinion, the IDF is on the verge of the minimum size needed to face more complex threats than those we have experienced in recent years. Along with advanced technological capabilities, Israel also needs a critical mass of people to improve the IDF’s overall quality and quantity,” Zamir said.

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