Ministry blasts verbal violence of IDF youth

Soldiers’ ombudsman's report exposes poor conditions of IDF personnel at Iron Dome; Brik cites "gaps in awareness and preparation."

June 19, 2013 01:42
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers deal with protesters in Hebron

IDF soldiers in Hebron. (photo credit: Reuters)


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The Defense Ministry’s soldiers’ ombudsman released his annual report on Tuesday and criticized the conduct of some young commanders.

He cited verbal violence and an excessively confrontational approach as problems that require the army’s attention.

“The problems do not stem from a lack of budget, but rather from gaps in awareness and preparation,” the ombudsman, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brik, said during a press conference held at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

Brik cited instances of verbal violence in the IDF, adding that “90 percent of the incidents concern young commanders. When a commander is not well prepared, he enters into confrontations with his soldiers, and on occasion loses control and uses language that is inappropriate to the spirit and values of the IDF.”

Soldiers filed 6,856 complaints in 2012, the report said.

In some instances, commanders received too many missions, hurting their performance, Brik said. He called on the IDF to do a better job of balancing budget cuts with operational missions.

Another area of concern in the report is the poor conditions experienced by soldiers manning Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries.

The conditions led some soldiers to say that they viewed themselves as “the air force’s stepchildren,” Brik said. “This is about a deficient set of priorities, and not problem of resources,” he said.

Brik criticized the dilapidated state of bases housing Iron Dome soldiers, unhygienic conditions and the lack of fresh healthy food for lengthy periods. These factors endangered the health of soldiers, he said.

The military said it would study the report “thoroughly and professionally,” and draw the appropriate conclusions to correct faults.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.

Benny Gantz tasked his deputy, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, with addressing the failings raised in the report, as part of the military’s working plan for the coming year.

Gantz recently met with Brik, and received a briefing from him on the report’s main findings.

The IDF is open to criticism, and will make the required improvements, Gantz said.

Additional issues raised in the report include relations between new recruits and their more veteran counterparts, and unofficial traditions that harm the dignity of soldiers.

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