Israel Table of Contents
Military intelligence, or Aman, with an estimated staff of 7,000 personnel, produced comprehensive national intelligence estimates for the prime minister and cabinet, daily intelligence reports, risk of war estimates, target studies on nearby Arab countries, and communications intercepts. Aman also conducted across-border agent operations. Aman's Foreign Relations Department was responsible for liaison with foreign intelligence services and the activities of Israeli military attachés abroad. Aman was held responsible for the failure to obtain adequate warning of the Egyptian-Syrian attack that launched the October 1973 War. Many indications of the attack were received but faulty assessments at higher levels permitted major Arab gains before the IDF could mobilize and stabilize the situation.
During preparations for the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Aman correctly assessed the weaknesses of the Christian militia on which Israel was depending and correctly predicted that a clash with the Syrian garrison in Lebanon was inevitable. The chief of intelligence, Major General Yehoshua Saguy, made these points to the general staff and privately to the prime minister. But, although he was present at cabinet meetings, he failed to make his doubts known to avoid differing openly with Begin and Sharon. Saguy was forced to retire after the Kahan Commission found that he had been delinquent in his duties regarding the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps (see The Siege of Beirut and its Aftermath , this ch.)
Small air force and naval intelligence units operated as semi-autonomous branches of Aman. Air force intelligence primarily used aerial reconnaissance and radio intercepts to collect information on strength levels of Arab air forces and for target compilation. In addition to reconnaissance aircraft, pilotless drones were used extensively to observe enemy installations. Naval intelligence collected data on Arab and Soviet naval activities in the Mediterranean and prepared coastal studies for naval gunfire missions and beach assaults.
Data as of December 1988