Armored Corps soldiers sign in .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Twenty IDF conscripts who refused to join various Armored Corps units in November have been sworn in and are now completing their basic training.
In November, six out of 200 soldiers who were assigned to the Armored Corps refused to board the buses to their bases after induction. Half were sent to the detention facility at the induction center and the other half were sent to various military prisons after receiving jail terms ranging from four to 20 days for refusing to obey orders.
According to the IDF, many of the soldiers were persuaded to join the corps after several visits by former reservists, officers and commanders who went to talk to them at the military prisons 4 and 6.
While the longest an objector spent in prison was a week, most took only a day or two to change their minds and enlist, the IDF Spokesman told The Jerusalem Post
During the ceremony at the Armored Corps Memorial at Latrun, one of the recruits who had initially refused said that “today this is where I feel like I belong.”
“This is a period that I’m glad I am not missing,” Cpl. Ron Weissman was quoted on the IDF’s new website. Weissman was one of the six soldiers who refused to enlist in November because of the alleged “stigma” associated with the corps. But after he was sentenced for refusing to obey orders, Weissman said he decided to begin basic training after he “realized that being a warrior in the Armored Corps is a privilege.”
According to Weissman, who is already dreaming of getting the black beret of the Armored Corps, “objecting is not the right way. You are joining the best corps there is.”
Another former objector, Pvt. Yuval Marmor, refused to enlist in the corps because he wanted instead to serve as a combat engineer. Marmor, who spent a week in prison before changing his mind and deciding to give the Armored Corps a chance, said he regretted his action. Now his goal is to become a tank commander.
The Armored Corps has in recent years become one of the least popular units for new IDF recruits, as it is said to have the worst service conditions and fewer weekends off than other corps. Most new recruits request to serve in the Border Police or intelligence and cyber-warfare units.
The IDF is also reexamining the possibility of integrating women in the Armored Corps’ tank brigades to help replace manpower lost due to a reduction in the mandatory service period for men.
During a hearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Brig.- Gen. Eran Shani, head of the Human Resource Planning and Management Division, said the army will reexamine the possibility of integrating women in the Armored Corps, as the “scope of functions that have opened up to women in recent years has increased.”
Armored Corps commandant Brig.-Gen. Guy Hasson welcomed the new recruits, stressing the honor of serving in the corps.
“It’s a privilege that belongs to those who give, those who are active and those who have a sense of responsibility,” he said, “for those who don’t ask why not, but prove why yes; for those who make it possible to have a normal life here in this country.
“You have now become part of the Armored Corps. At this moment, you have received the responsibility and have committed yourselves to professionalism. You will become a winning team together.”