Kohavi discharges fmr. IDF Egoz unit commander after training misconduct

The former commander improperly used explosives during training, sparking a fire.

  A soldier from the elite anti-guerrilla unit EGOZ in a training exercise. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
A soldier from the elite anti-guerrilla unit EGOZ in a training exercise.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi discharged former IDF Egoz Unit commander Efraim Tehila, after an investigation found that the commander acted in "complete opposition" to directives concerning exercises, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced Sunday.

During training in the Egoz Unit last July, explosive charges were activated in opposition to directives decided earlier. Due to the misuse of the charges, a fire broke out that was extinguished by the soldiers.

After the incident, the IDF began looking into the matter and found that Tehila had lied to an IDF officer and representatives of the Nature and Parks Authority concerning the fire.

When it was discovered that the information he provided was incorrect, he took full responsibility and expressed regret. The commander of IDF Central Command stated that the commander acted in complete opposition to the instructions regarding the training and that his conduct afterward did not hold up to the values of the IDF.

The IDF chief of staff ruled that the commander was not fit to hold command positions or advance in service in the IDF, meaning that Tehila will never hold positions in the IDF again and will instead serve in the defense establishment until he retires.

 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi addresses the crowd at the ''Operation: Break the wave'' conference. (credit: IDF) IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi addresses the crowd at the ''Operation: Break the wave'' conference. (credit: IDF)

'Telling the truth is central in the IDF'

"Telling the truth is a central and fundamental principle in the IDF, and therefore not telling the truth is crossing a red line that cannot be accepted," said Kohavi.

"The entire relationship between commanders and between commanders and soldiers is based on honesty and trust.

"The officer acted during and after the incident in complete contradiction to the values of the IDF and the principles of the command."

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi

The chief of staff noted, however, that the commander's "past in general and his combat history in particular cannot be ignored."

"Lt.-Col. Tehila is a valued soldier and officer who commanded operational units in combat, won commendable grades and contributed a lot to the IDF during his service."