Military Intel Analysts Sound the Alarm on Second Coronavirus Wave, and It’s Netanyahu’s Time to Step Up

It’s much easier to shoot the messenger. A report from the government’s coronavirus information center that came out on Saturday set off quite a storm. The authors of the report, Israeli army intelligence officers, stated that the increased rate of infection showed that Israel is in the throes of a second coronavirus wave and recommended steps to stop its spread. The report, which joins a series of less dramatic warnings from other experts, has dominated the news cycle.

The counter response came immediately: What does military intelligence know about analyzing COVID-19? How do they know how to fight a virus? And more importantly – why is the army giving directives to people on such a clearly civilian matter?

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The report, released by the National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus, which is the 127th document it has released since the beginning of the crisis, has revealed to the public the anomaly that is at the bases of the overall handling of the virus by the state. The Health Ministry lacks an effective system for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information. When the virus got here, Military Intelligence volunteered to correct this weakness. Col. N., head of the technology wing in the army’s research division, established the coronavirus information center together with his staff, and it is this body that is responsible for daily updates on the virus.

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As strange as it sounds, the health care system simply can’t put together a database of similar quality. Gradually, researchers from the Israel Defense Forces also began gathering data about developments around the world and began issuing recommendations for action from time to time.

In early June, after a steep decline in the numbers of infections in Israel, the IDF reduced its involvement. The army and the Health Ministry reached an agreement by which dozens of MI researchers would be loaned to the health minister to continue tracking the virus. But this arrangement was not fully implemented nor was it explained to the public. Thus the reports by the information center, which contain nothing secret, have been released to the public in an improvised and unofficial way. That’s how it happened that on Saturday, when the pessimistic report hit the headlines, the IDF spokesman and the Health Ministry each said the other was responsible for explaining the report, which came out without the knowledge of either body and with no coordination.

It may be assumed that the report was published because its authors, or whoever read it, concluded that a general alarm had to be sounded. What they didn’t expect was the magnitude of the counter response. Military Intelligence was presented as amateurs, exaggerators and alarmists. Epidemiologists wondered, and rightly so, what professional expertise MI had to issue such ironclad predictions.