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:
6- Creating a balance between the use of technology and manpower in time of war
Hamas attack on October 7 showed that Israel cannot rely solely on technology to maintain its security. According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimates, the Iron Dome’s unique missile defense system had consistently performed very well, neutralizing 90-95 percent of missile launching towards Israel. But despite spending more than a billion dollars to build a state-of-the-art security fence, the insufficient number of Israeli soldiers stationed in these sensitive areas failed to stop the attack by Hamas members.
Likewise, despite Israel’s advanced intelligence systems, Hamas planners acted in such a way that it was not possible for Israel to predict and prevent the attack. Israel now has realized that one of the basic military principles of today’s era is that no matter what advanced technology is used, the person or people driving that technology are always far more important than the technology itself.
7- Trying to win the battle of narratives
Military struggles are never purely military, and for decisive victory it is necessary to win the support of public opinion at home and abroad from the outset. Israel now realizes that it must do everything in its power to show the people of the world what Hamas have done and gain global support for its military attacks in Gaza.
Israeli experts believe that Israel has a good story to tell, and that is the Holocaust, but in pivotal situations such as the current battle with Hamas, the oppression that has been inflicted on the Jews must be told to the people of the world regularly and purposefully.
8- More information cooperation with neighboring countries
Israeli information experts also have warned that although the October 7 attack by Hamas was acknowledged by many as an intelligence failure for Israel, Israel should learn from this and seek to reform its intelligence systems and procedures. In the meantime, intelligence cooperation with similar countries in the region has been highly recommended for Israel.
But there is a little secret story here to tell; Reports after October 7 revealed that Israeli intelligence agencies had warned about the possibility of a Hamas attack, had identified Hamas activities in advance, and neighboring countries also provided the necessary cooperation and transmitted relevant information to Israeli intelligence agencies.
But Netanyahu’s government was taken completely by surprise. While many argue that Israel should learn from its intelligence failure, they miss one key point, that due to opposing views and differences between Netanyahu’s far-right government and the intelligence agencies, namely the Mossad and the Shin Bet security service, the two institutions did not cooperate with the government and did not provide their information to the government, letting Netanyahu to drown in the swamp of a surprise war.
9- Increasing the amount of strategic humility by the Israeli authorities
One of the boldest weaknesses of the authorities in different Israeli governments is their unfortunate tendency to set maximum goals, which are often done to gain internal credibility and often fail. For example, in 2006, in the midst of the Israel-Hezbollah war, Ehud Olmert, the then-prime minister of Israel, said that he intended to destroy Hezbollah, return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers in Lebanon, and end rocket attacks on Israel forever. But Israel did not achieve any of these three goals.
In the same way and following the same wrong policy, Netanyahu clearly declared on October 7 that he will not stop fighting until the complete destruction of Hamas. Experts now suggest that Israel must stop these ambitions and be careful what promises it makes to the people of Israel and the world before, during, and after a war.