For the second year in a row, the issue of army commanders’ poor treatment of their soldiers is at the top of the list of the IDF’s comptroller report.
Some 38% of the complaints focused on issues related to bad treatment, including violence by commanders against their subordinates.
In one of the cases reported, a soldier complained that his commanders mocked him, called him a “crybaby,” “liar” and a “p****,” imitated the way he speaks and walks, and humiliated him in front of his friends.
In another case, commanders threw a knife and a hammer at their soldiers.
Based on written complaints by soldiers, interviews and reviews of internal military reports, the report was submitted by the IDF comptroller and deputy commissioner of soldiers, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Eitan Dahan.
Presented on Wednesday to Defense Minister Benny Gantz and to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the report focused on a wide range of issues, including unfair medical treatment, the IDF mishandling of the coronavirus crisis, complaints by IDF draftees and reservists, and conditions of service.
According to the report, commanders and military physicians in several incidents excluded soldiers who recovered from COVID-19.
In other cases, the report found that there was a problem in the chain of command regarding the treatment of the virus in the units; mishandling of commanders in units where they saw the virus spread; and a delay in treating soldiers who contracted the virus, or were suspected of having it.
However, the report indicates that, throughout the year, most of these errors were corrected.
On the issue of proper medical treatment of soldiers, the report said that “many commanders do not know and understand their area of responsibility and their duty to make sure their soldiers receive their rights for medical treatment. As a result, soldiers were prevented or delayed in getting access to medical and mental health treatment.”
The report also mentioned that for the first time in years, there were no complaints about racist incidents in the IDF.
In response, Gantz said that “when the soldiers join the IDF, we can’t promise that they would not put their lives in danger, or that their mandatory service will be interesting. However, we must ensure that they will be treated fairly and that they receive proper medical treatment.
“I am sure that the IDF will learn from this report, and I commend the improvement that was made in treatment that was given to soldiers on the issue of coronavirus.”
The IDF issued a statement saying that it is looking further into the findings to “address the gaps raised in the report. All events are learned, handled, and derived from personal and systemic lessons.”
It noted that “the IDF does not tolerate violence of any kind, and violent acts are treated severely,” adding that the most serious cases are those of commander violence against a subordinate, which are “very exceptional cases.”
It also said that “the medical services given to soldiers are at the heart of the activities of the Medical Corps, the Technological and Logistics Directorate, and the General Staff. The Medical Corps will maintain its constant effort to provide the best treatment to all soldiers.”
Regarding the treatment of coronavirus, the IDF said that “when the virus began spreading, the IDF started a rapid learning process, and in the meantime conducted a series of steps whose purpose was to allow it to handle the virus and maintain its routine functioning.”•