Dec 3, 2023, Samaria: Dr. Ofer Grosbard wrote about his experience as a psychological consultant for Israel’s Military Intelligence (MI) unit. He wrote about the organization’s tendency to elitist thinking, to patterns which punish alternative ideas rather than encourage them; even a blatant disregard for common sense, and a severe lack of interest in understanding the enemy:
When people become closed to alternative concepts, their “reward” is having gained a powerful, yet false, sense of control. Psychologically, a sense of control is emotionally attractive to all; and we may even seek such “pretty lies” at the expense of an honest assessment of risk:
“We all get tired at a certain stage, we want quiet and a good life, and we repress recognition of danger. That happens to us repeatedly. Psychological tools can help combat this natural tendency to some extent. The wisdom of Proverbs (16:18), which tells us that, ‘Pride goes before ruin, Arrogance before failure’ (‘There will not be another war for 10 years,’ Moshe Dayan said before the Yom Kippur War; or, ‘Hamas will be deterred for five years,’ as the current head of Military Intelligence declared – reminds us how supercilious human nature can be.
“A fixed concept gives us the feeling that we are in control and understand what is going on, and it is powerful to the point of causing us to ignore many facts which, as we are now aware with regard to October 7, were also known prior to the massacre. MI actually needs people who harbor a slightly depressive tendency (research shows that the perception of reality by that group is better than that of the average person) in order to do battle against uncontrolled optimism. Anxious individuals and those with a tendency to minor paranoia (not a pathology, but a personality line) could also combat the euphoria of a ‘startup nation’ that relies on ‘all-knowing’ technology. Indeed, I can attest to the fact that the feeling in MI’s research unit was that we knew everything about Hamas.
“If you ask the man in the street whether the other side thinks differently from us, they will undoubtedly tell you that yes, they do. But if you go on to ask in what way they think differently, you will not get a clear answer. What is obvious to the average person is hidden from the eyes of MI. They assume that the enemy thinks the way we do, and thus project our way of thinking on them.”
“There is no attempt to learn systematically how the enemy thinks. Such learning makes us more modest and aware of what we do not understand, and that can provide a great advantage and even immunize us from know-it-all conceptions.”
Let us agree in prayer for Biblical wisdom to be granted miraculously to the Military Intelligence and to the government.
Pray and Send Support for our Work in a Troubled Land.
David Defense Fund: Providing defensive supplies for Jewish villages in Samaria; both families as well as civilian guard patrols. (Psalm 144)
“I Was a Psychologist at Israel’s Military Intelligence. Here’s Why the Unit Keeps Getting It Wrong;” Ofer Grosbard, 1 Dec 2023, Haaretz: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-12-01/ty-article-magazine/.highlight/i-was-a-psychologist-at-israels-military-intelligence-heres-what-its-doing-wrong/0000018c-26c2-d04a-af9f-f6f2b8500000