Assessing different views and analyses on the lessons Tel Aviv has taken from Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7 shows that Israel intends to make considerable changes in its military, intelligence, and political approaches.
The surprise attack of Hamas on Israel on October 7 was undoubtedly an intelligence, military, and political fiasco for Israel. But analyzing and assessing different think tanks and experts’ views show that Israel has learnt its lessons and intends to make some considerable changes in its intelligence, military, and political approaches to prevent another October 7 attack from happening in the future.
What these sources suggest Israel to do as soon as possible include the following changes:
1- Increasing military forces on Israel’s borders
Israel should deploy more troops to protect its borders. The increase in the number of military forces should be evaluated based on the bitter lessons of October 7. Also, Israel should always be ready to face the “worst possible scenario”. The criterion for such readiness should not be the enemy’s potential to attack, but rather the consequences of a severe surprise attack.
2- Increasing Israel’s defense budget
Israel also plans to increase its defense budget. The Israeli army will be bigger and its budget will increase. The current situation shows the lack of organization that Israel needs to maintain its integrity. Such organizations should be established based on the fact that Israel is always under military threat from several fronts.
3- Legitimizing the concept of ‘preventive war’
Over the years, the defense establishment and political leadership in Israel rejected the concept of a “preemptive strike,” let alone the issue of launching a “preemptive war.” In fact, Israel has not taken the concept of preventive war seriously for decades.
In this regard, the “Begin Doctrine” (according to which Israel took preventive military action against nuclear targets first in Iraq in 1981 and then in Syria in 2007) should be applied to organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. For a small country like Israel, which is surrounded by many threats and has high military technology, it would be good to occasionally engage in such preventive wars to eliminate threats.
Many Israeli experts believe that preventive war was the only measure that could have prevented the October 7 disaster. Therefore, they say that this concept must be included in Israel’s security and military strategies, and Israel must try to legitimize this basic need for self-defense both domestically and internationally.
4- The importance of maintaining unity at the national level
According to Hamas’s own admission, internal disputes in Israel were one of the important factors in the timing of the attack on Israel. The attack by Hamas occurred at a time when the attention of the Israeli government was fully focused on internal issues such as intense political battles and daily protests caused by Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to escape the accusations of bribery and corruption against him and weaken the Israeli judicial system.
Israel’s Defense Minister had indeed warned that Hamas was ready to take advantage of Israel’s internal dissension, but his advice was ignored before days before the October 7 attack.
5- Realism and foresight in political calculations
Just a few days before the surprise attack by Hamas, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that “the Middle East region is safer today than it has been in the last two decades”.
Likewise, it seems that the myth of Israeli military invincibility, which was supposed to protect them from aggressors, ended up lulling Israel into a false sense of complacency that has brought a far worse threat to them than the enemies. It was precisely for this reason that Ephraim Halevi, the former head of the Mossad, told CNN after the Hamas attack that the attack was “beyond our imagination” on such a scale.