The moral compass of the IDF is usually smeared - opinion

The men and women in uniform who are tasked with defending our country against Palestinian terror and violence have the proper training and skills to successfully execute their missions. 

 IDF soldiers take part in the Beyond the Horizon drill that caps off the month-long Chariots of Fire. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF soldiers take part in the Beyond the Horizon drill that caps off the month-long Chariots of Fire.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The last report published by the so-called Israeli human rights organization “Breaking the Silence,” which generated modest media and political interest beyond the obvious echo chamber of Israel bashers, is yet another exercise in biased cynicism, cherry-picking of facts, and dangerous targeting of Israeli servicemen and women that shames Israel’s name in the world and fuels delegitimization efforts of Israel. 

I’m not here to explain the inner workings and procedures of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the focus of the latest Breaking the Silence hit job. The public affairs officers of COGAT and the Defense Ministry will deal with that.

I would like to address the double standards of this and various other self-appointed and foreign-funded Israeli NGOs, and the damage they cause Israel. I would also like to highlight the hypocritical underpinnings of their work, especially how they constantly target Israeli security organizations like the IDF, the Israel Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), as if the threats that they defend Israeli citizens against do not exist, and as if these organizations operate in a serene environment and not against some of the world’s most notorious and vile terror organizations. 

In publishing such a biased and damning document about COGAT and its activities, it would have been expected that the publishing organization set the stage by explaining why the organization exists, how it promotes security for Israeli civilians, and how it operates in order to facilitate the most effective practices under very complex circumstances. 

Instead of only highlighting politically motivated statements by disgruntled former soldiers, the report should have made at least a symbolic effort to explain the complexity of the daily lives of Israeli servicemen and women, the threats they face and the possible adverse consequences that could materialize if the “control measures” demonized in the report would fail. 

 , US Central Command Chief Gen. Michael Kurilla is in Israel to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi and other senior military officials. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) , US Central Command Chief Gen. Michael Kurilla is in Israel to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi and other senior military officials. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A rushed permit that doesn’t go through the necessary inspection could lead to a suicide bomber with an explosive vest blowing himself up in the heart of an Israeli city. It wouldn’t have been the first time that the Palestinians abused humanitarian needs for their terrorist aims. 

Do the procedures in place cause discomfort and suffering for ordinary Palestinians in need? Perhaps. Are the procedures designed to make life difficult for Palestinians? Most certainly not. I know for a fact that the IDF, COGAT, the Israel Police and the Shin Bet all operate under the guiding principle of distinguishing between the population and those involved in terror and violence against Israel or Israelis. 

This tenet shapes all activities by Israeli security forces in Judea and Samaria, and places a very high bar for them to meet, sometimes at the risk of exposing Israeli soldiers to danger in order to minimize the collateral effect on Palestinians.

Yet another shortcoming

ANOTHER GLARING shortcoming of this report is how the Palestinian Authority is addressed, and what kind of agency and responsibility is placed on its shoulders for the dire situation of Palestinians in Gaza, and Judea and Samaria. Very few words, if any, are devoted to the corruption, cruelty and mismanagement of global funds and contributions that is the Palestinian Authority

One could have expected this report to reflect on the positive effect that Israeli control over Judea and Samaria has for many Palestinians, primarily related to infrastructure, employment and financial opportunities, instead of painting a false and misleading one-sided picture. 

But what troubles me the most is how reports like these are part of an ecosystem of civil and legal documents that are produced by Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations with clear goals and desires: to undermine Israeli legitimacy in the world, to erode the domestic public support of its security establishment, and to eternalize Palestinian victimhood and suffering.

As the founder and CEO of the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF), called “Habithonistim” in Hebrew, and as an IDF brigadier general in the reserves, I can assure you that the moral compass of the IDF and the other security organizations usually smeared by the likes of “Breaking the Silence” is sound, and that the men and women in uniform who are tasked with defending our country against Palestinian terror and violence have the proper training and skills to successfully execute their missions. 

Together with the 5,000 members of the IDSF, all former officers and soldiers in the various Israeli security forces, I think that the men and women in uniform defending us deserve our support and respect for their service.  

The Israel Defense and Security Forum is a movement of Israeli security personnel advocating for Israel’s future security needs.