IDF

How not to handle international blood libel

By Miriam Shaviv, August 27, 2009

Last week, Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, carried a story alleging that the IDF killed Palestinians in order to harvest their internal organs.

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Public outcry over IDF initiation ‘abuse’

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 13, 2009

“The truth is that neither officers nor soldiers really want to hear me when I tell them not to do initiation ceremonies,” admits Colonel Yigal Slovik, commander of the 401st Armoured Brigade.

“Everyone wants a bit of tradition. They want it to be like it was in their day, or in the days of their predecessors. If not, they feel unfulfilled. But if we let these things carry on, we will see more scenes of worsening brutality. I don’t want us to be like the Russian Spetsnaz, where soldiers die at the hands of their comrades.”

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Is this man the IDF’s best British friend?

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

Speaking up for the Israel Defence Force is unlikely to win many friends — but it has turned one man into the most unlikely new star on YouTube.

Colonel Richard Kemp was the commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and even he admits he is surprised by his new-found fame.

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Soldiers defend IDF’s conduct

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

IDF soldiers have responded to criticism of the army’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead by producing a website describing how the army did everything in its power to minimise civilian casualties.

Soldiers Speak Out was created by Stand With Us, a Los Angeles-based pro-Israel advocacy organisation, and includes videos of IDF reservists who fought in the Gaza operation.

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UK embassy gives £35k to Gaza report

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

Britain’s embassy in Israel is one of the financial backers of the human rights group, Breaking the Silence, it was revealed today.

The organisation, whose controversial report on the actions of the IDF during the Gaza conflict in January this year has just been issued, is said to have been given more than £35,000 by the UK, according to the 2008 donors’ list, published by the Jerusalem Post.

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Analysis: Battle is being lost in public

By Robin Shepherd, July 16, 2009

It is starting to happen. For years we have heard words of consolation that bien pensant hostility to the Jewish state might remain safely contained in a world of its own.

Let the Guardian ply its wares. Let the NGOs ply theirs. Like a mad dog in a cage, growling menacingly but ultimately unable to do more than snap at its own tail, the anti-Israeli constituency could startle us, but it could never escape into the world of high politics.

But now it is time to wake up to the new realities.

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Court examines IDF violence in West Bank

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

Next week, the commander of the IDF’s Central Command, Major General Gadi Shamni, will take the stand in the final hearing of a criminal case that has shaken the IDF to the core and cost at least one senior officer his career.

General Shamni will testify in the case of Lieutenant Adam Malul, a junior officer in the Kfir Brigade who is accused in a military court of using excessive force against Palestinian detainees in a West Bank village last year. General Shamni will explain exactly what degree of force soldiers are allowed to use to quell demonstrations.

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For Israelis, claims are a fact of war

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

The Israeli Supreme Court forbade the IDF to use the “neighbour protocol” four years ago.

But everyone understands that, in some circumstances, Palestinian civilians are ordered to make sure that a building’s inhabitants are aware that they are surrounded.

“There is a very stark choice,” says one field commander. “Either you abide by the law or you go into a building knowing that innocent bystanders may be killed.”

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IDF learnt lessons from Lebanon War

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

On Tuesday morning, an explosion shook the Upper Galilee, after months of quiet. The shock-wave reminded many that exactly three years ago this week, war broke out in the same area.

Later in the day, when the circumstances of the blast began filtering out, those memories were reinforced.

A hidden Hizbollah katyusha rocket store in a nondescript house had blown up nine miles from the border. This was just the kind of thing that Israel had hoped to eradicate by embarking on what became known as the Second Lebanon War.

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Religious battle rages over IDF

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 9, 2009

A behind-the-scenes struggle is going on in the IDF over the role of the military Rabbinate and the increasing number of soldiers asking the IDF to accommodate their religious needs.

The IDF Chief Rabbi, Brigadier General Avihai Rontzki, has angered many senior officers by what they see as undue intrusion of the military rabbis into the internal affairs of the army’s units.

Rabbi Rontzki has told his rabbis that they are there “not only to distribute wine and challahs for Shabbat” but to “bring yiddishkeit and a fighting spirit to the soldiers in the field”.

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