Senior Haaretz security analyst Drץ Reuven Pedatzur was killed last night in a traffic accident on Israel’s coastal highway, emergency services said. He was 66 years old.
A reporter, commentator and columnist for Haaretz for almost 30 years, Dr. Reuven Pedatzur also co-hosted a military affairs program on Israel’s Army Radio, wrote for Al Monitor and contributed to many other publications at home and abroad. In a field dominated by sycophancy and regurgitation of official spins and figures, Pedatzur was known as a fiercely independent critic and a bold analyst. He was also one of the most respected civilian experts on Israeli military expenditure, a notoriously murky field jealously guarded by the defense establishment. He combined his journalistic career with an academic one, teaching at Netanya College and the National Security College, and with that of a commercial pilot, most recently flying for Israeli airline Arkia.
Pedatzur frequently took the top brass to task about their insatiable demand for funds, and regularly accused them of employing scare tactics to intimidate both the public and the civilian decision-makers. On some occasions, he did that not only in their face, but to their face. ”A few years ago, during a routine argument between the Finance Ministry and the IDF over the size of the defense budget, I showed up at the office of the chief of staff’s financial adviser with a graph on the defense budget published by the Treasury,” Pedatzur wrote in his column in 2012. “The graph clearly showed how the defense budget was growing annually. Are the figures in this chart acceptable to you in the IDF, I asked the adviser. Yes, of course, he replied. In that case, why do you say they’re cutting the budget when the figures show that it’s constantly growing? You don’t understand, the adviser scolded me, we demand a certain sum for the defense budget every year, and when they don’t approve what we requested, that’s a budget cut as far as we’re concerned. That happens every year, and this time too. The IDF requests an add-on of about NIS 4 billion, and if it doesn’t receive it, that’s a cruel budget cut.”
Over the years, Pedatzur criticized many prestigious IDF projects, especially the much-touted missile defense...Read More