Hamas paraglider over the Nova festival on October 7th, 2023 (video clip)

In a significant critique of Israel's military establishment, a senior reservist from the Intelligence Division has accused the leadership of betraying the Israeli people during the Hamas assault on October 7th. Colonel (reserves) Ronen Cohen, the former deputy head of the research division at Military Intelligence, expressed his profound disappointment in a Tuesday morning interview on FM94 "Radio Galei Yisrael" with Erez Tadmor.

A Profound Loss of Faith

Colonel Cohen did not mince words. He declared that he has "lost faith" in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), accusing the General Staff of being in a state of rebellion. He emphasized that the failure was not one of intelligence but of values and operational capacity. “The failure on October 7 was not in intelligence. An intelligence failure is when you don’t provide intelligence. But when you provide intelligence in large quantities, and everyone is silenced and doesn’t unpack the material for many days – that’s a failure of values and operational capacity,” Cohen stated.

Ignored Warnings

Cohen's comments are based on numerous reports indicating that intelligence about Hamas's preparations was overlooked by leaders in the Southern Command. He highlighted that intelligence gathered by Unit 8200, which included detailed warnings about Hamas's plans, was ignored. Even in the day before the attacks, signs from Gaza indicated something significant was imminent. However, these were not addressed. On the night of October 6, SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) systems at the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) detected dozens of Israeli SIM cards activating inside Gaza. This was ignored, partly due to a similar occurrence during Passover in 2022, which led to no incident.

In July 2023, Unit 8200 reported that Hamas had conducted training exercises mirroring the blueprint in the "Jericho Wall" document, including simulations of shooting down Israeli airplanes and overrunning a military base. Despite this, the response was dismissive, with one colonel labeling the exercises "totally imaginative" and advising patience.

The complacency extended to October 7th, when a situational assessment call excluded the head of Military Intelligence, Aharon Haliva, who was vacationing in Eilat. Despite signs from Gaza, Haliva did not deem it necessary to head to the command center. Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, updated around 3 AM, did not insist on an MI representative during a crucial call.

A Broader Systemic Issue

Cohen attributed the issue to a broader cultural problem within the army, which he claims has lost its basic operational values. He suggested that more information about the failure would emerge over time, revealing the extent of the oversight. “It’s not only the intelligence corps but the entire army, which was deep in such a culture that they lost the basic values ​​of operational action,” he said.

Documented Negligence

Reports by the Israeli Public Broadcaster, Kann News and folowed up by The New York Times in December revealed that Israeli security officials had detailed knowledge of Hamas's attack plans, encapsulated in the "Jericho Wall" report. Despite its clear warnings and detailed plans, the document was ignored. Additionally, in July 2023, Unit 8200 reported training exercises by Hamas that mirrored the plans outlined in "Jericho Wall," but these too were dismissed by higher command.

Leadership Under Scrutiny

Colonel Cohen's harshest criticism was reserved for IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. He accused Halevi of gross negligence on October 7th, citing his unreadiness and hesitance to act. Halevi’s failure to include Military Intelligence in critical discussions on the night of the attack was particularly damning. This omission is expected to be a focal point of any future inquiry into the events of that night.

Call for Strategic Change

Cohen concluded that the current approach to dealing with Hamas is fundamentally flawed. He advocated for a division of the Gaza Strip among several divisions as the only viable solution to control and cleanse the area. “You can’t transfer territory when you don’t own it; it’s a basic thing that every citizen understands, but they still insist on lousy solutions with Hamas actually staying in the territory,” he asserted.


The revelations and accusations brought forward by Colonel Ronen Cohen highlight a profound crisis of confidence within the IDF. The coming months may reveal more details about the failures that led to the October 7th assault, potentially reshaping the future leadership and strategy of Israel’s defense forces.

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