IDF to hold crash Arabic courses for infantry units

Learning Arabic will enable soldiers to obtain information in 'real-time.'

April 6, 2010 03:57
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers in action.

idf soldiers 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In an effort to improve real-time intelligence gathering capabilities, the IDF has decided to establish a crash course in Arabic for infantry soldiers so they can glean useful information from detainees during combat.

The course will be overseen by Military Intelligence and the Military Advocate-General’s Office.

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The soldiers will study Arabic, Arab culture and basic interrogation methods. The skills are deemed critical by the IDF as it prepares for a possible new conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“This will enable soldiers to get information in the battlefield and not have to wait for Arab-speakers or Military Intelligence officers to arrive at the scene,” an officer explained.

Until now, Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have been exclusively in charge of interrogating civilians and combatants detained by the IDF during operations, whether in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or Lebanon.

Each infantry battalion will send a number of soldiers to the course.

One of the catalysts for the establishment of such a course was the number of complaints filed against the IDF following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year. One example was a Military Police investigation that was opened against soldiers and junior commanders in the Paratrooper’s Brigade who were accused of abusing Palestinian detainees who they tried interrogating on the sidelines of the fighting in Gaza.

“Information obtained in real time can save lives,” the officer explained. “It can help the IDF locate weapons caches, weaponry and improvised explosive devices.”

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