Throughout the summer of 2006, the "Israeli" military command was plagued by indecision, chaos and sheer incompetence.
Hezbollah's successes in delivering powerful, unexpected and precise blows against the invading army threw Tel Aviv completely off-balance and seriously dented "Israeli" morale. The effects on "Israel's" armed forces quickly became apparent to observers.
"This wasn't the vaunted ‘Israeli' force that we saw in previous wars," one former senior US commander noted at the time.
No zest for the fight
The outcome of the 2006 war shattered the myth of "Israeli" military invincibility - a central component to the psychological warfare in the Arab-"Israeli" conflict.
Among its many military achievements, Hezbollah destroyed the formidable reputation of "Israel's" Merkava tank - the symbol of "Israeli" military prowess.
In just over a month, 49 of "Israel's" homemade Merkava tanks were reported damaged or destroyed.
The battles in Lebanon's valleys left lasting scars on the collective "Israeli" psyche, which would inevitably lead to major transformations within its military ranks.
According to "Israel's" Maariv newspaper, today's conscripts are still refusing to serve in the army's Armored Corps - once the pride and joy of the "Israeli" military.
The 86 soldiers surveyed told the paper that they preferred prison to the Armored Corps, leading the military establishment to admit that one of its major challenges is restoring confidence in the Merkava tank.
But the "Israeli" military command has other challenges, too. The number of "Israelis" refusing to serve altogether is on the rise.
The army's own statistics showed that in 1997 fewer than one in 10 "Israeli" men avoided their mandatory three-year military service. In the years after the 2006 war that number jumped to three in 10, and as the "Israeli" public becomes more critical of the performance of its armed forces, the number of young men and women avoiding the army is steadily rising.
Meanwhile, in an increasingly desperate search for recruits, the "Israeli" military is resorting to murky methods.
In what is being touted as an initiative to integrate "Israelis" with developmental disabilities into society, the military has recruited over 320 soldiers who suffer from Down Syndrome, autism and other cognitive delays.
The program, which involves placing men and women with disabilities into such a lethal institution, notorious for its human rights abuses, is at the very least inhumane.
But according to the CEO of ‘Special in Uniform', Mendi Belinitzky, "this is ‘Israel'".
"They happily do everything that the soldiers don't like to do, and we don't even have to ask them," Belinitzky told the Jerusalem Post. "They have more motivation than other soldiers and don't want to go home, whereas the other soldiers count each moment until they can go home on the weekends."
Prostitution, drugs and criminal records
As the number of "Israelis" willing to take up arms dwindles, the number of recruits with criminal records is climbing.
An investigation into a physical assault case at an Air Force base in 2015 revealed that thousands of "Israeli" soldiers committed crimes before their military service, ranging from drug offenses and theft to more violent crimes.
The investigation also found that the "Israeli" army had taken in recruits who had a history of violent physical offenses.
The army attempted to justify the practice by claiming that military service offered a second chance to troubled youths.
However, statistics tell a very different story.
Earlier this year, the Knesset Subcommittee on Combating Human Trafficking and Prostitution revealed that the "Israeli" military has no idea about the extent of prostitution among its soldiers.
Data from the "Israeli" Labor and Social Services Ministry found that hundreds of soldiers are involved in prostitution, which brings in an estimated USD 300 million annually across "Israel".
Meanwhile, "Israel's" Military Prosecutor announced plans late last year to permit soldiers to smoke marijuana, as long as they're off-duty when they do so.
The announcement comes as the number of indictments for drug offenses within the "Israeli" military spiked in recent years, culminating in criminal charges being brought against hundreds of soldiers annually.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, 629 soldiers were prosecuted in 2014 alone.
The "Israeli" army - already known to be infested with narcotics - is attempting to change the legal process involving drugs in the hope that the growing number of prosecutions does not tarnish its image further.
An army of mercenaries
During the 2014 Gaza war, the number of "Israeli" soldiers killed in action rose quickly. Most became little more than statistics. Few paid attention to their names or where they came from.
But a closer look reveals that a number of those killed were so-called ‘lone soldiers' - a term used to describe foreigners who join the "Israeli" army.
Most are recruited by organizations specializing in bringing people to "Israel". One of these groups is Sar-El, which has branches in many western capitals. A lot of the men and women recruited are non-"Israeli" Jews, many of them American.
Through the use of clandestine networks, social media, websites and the press, organizations like Sar-El attract people to take part in a variety of programs associated with the "Israeli" military.
Thousands of these foreigners end up serving in the army - the vast majority as paid "Israeli" soldiers on the front line.
The 2006 defeat, combined with years of cutbacks and more importantly soldiers lacking any real motivation and operational experience, produced a withered version of the "Israeli" military.
This new force is not only becoming increasingly reliant on importing its manpower but is also beset by a growing number of highly demoralized and often undisciplined recruits.
Source: Al-Ahed News