There are generic and shared reasons for incompetence that transcend cultural borders: lack of skills, corruption, nepotism being the most frequent forms of incompetence which are applicable across the board.
There are also culturally unique reasons for incompetence which impact certain cultures and not others. For example, excessive planning/rigidity stemming from a sense of control of destiny (USA) or excessive bureaucracy (France, we can invent a perfect system) or ancient tribalism (Rwanda).
In this post I want to point out a some of the underpinnings of incompetence unique to Israel (but not only Israel). This will hopefully help understand how Israel could have been so duped in the present war against Hamas.
1) Lack of discipline
Lack of discipline stems from the idea that “systems” probably have holes embedded in them and a lack of discipline allows people to survive the horrors of obedience. Only “suckers” follow the system.
2) Lack of enforcement
Enforcement is unfair. Everyone deserves a second chance, and a third, and maybe a fourth. This stems from dysfunctional compassion towards an individual and lack of respect for systems.
3) Over-reliance on technology
As a high-tech nation, we inhale our own smoke, stocking up on lots of technology, full of bugs, but ahead of our times, when it works. When it does not, we have no more boots on the ground; we just throw more technology at the problem. This is the most severe strategic weakness in understanding the present shortcomings.
4) Fast and dirty-and sloppy
Israelis are faster at developing and deploying technology than most of the other nations. The speed and innovation are naturally sloppy and “cleaned up” afterwards, sometimes too late.
5) Too little discretion; too much talk
We talk too much on the phone-hack our mobile phones or just ride the train or bus and a world of secrets is exposed. The assumption is that “field security” is not needed as long as you remember your password.
This post may seem to be written with detachment. But it is written with pain because we are paying a huge price and what’s more, these cultural attributes are very hard to change.