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Bar Ilan University

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Agranat files hint at consistent military problems

Previously secret files from Agranat Commission were opened to the public Tuesday, almost 35 years after the commission was established to investigate the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War and examine the conduct of the military and political echelons.


The Israel Defense Force archives released 20 witness testimonies, among them that of former prime minister Ariel Sharon and former defense minister Moshe Dayan, both highlighting issues that came up in Israel's most recent war.


When asked about his division's movements on October 7 and 8, 1973, Sharon - who was then the commander of Reserves Armored Division 143 - criticized the IDF's general staff, with whom he had been fighting at the time.


Sharon with General Bar-Lev in 1973 (David Robinger) 


"I wanted to emphasize that… something that was evident throughout the war and that caused grave damage in managing the war was the absence of senior officers from the field," Sharon said in his testimony.


"For example, look at the 8th, when there were two divisions in the field… The regional commander should have been there or, if not, then his deputy… someone to coordinate between the forces… Many mistakes were made because this didn't happen," he said.


Furthermore, Sharon claimed that senior officials were not interested in hearing feedback from their subordinates in the field. Tactically, he said, this lack of communication impacted the war effort.