IDF under Gantz wonít tolerate ethical errors (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 04/19/12)
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Last summer, the IDF top brass convened for a daylong conference in
an air force base in central Israel. The day was supposed to be about
the IDFís multi-year procurement plan that was in the final stages of
approval and to brief the officers on intelligence assessments for
the coming year.
The meeting, however, was scheduled just a couple of weeks
after ďNakba DayĒ in May when about 100 Syrians breached the border
fence and crossed into Israel. Gantz decided that the commander of
the IDF division in charge of the border, Brig.-Gen. Tamir Hyman,
would present the findings from his investigation into the failure to
stop the crossing to the group. Afterwards, Gantz even complimented
Hyman for conducting such a thorough investigation.
IDF officers recalled this story on Wednesday following Gantzís
decision to dismiss Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner from his post as deputy
commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade after he was caught on tape
slamming an M-16 rifle in the face of a Danish pro-Palestinian
protester in the West Bank.
But one could be excused for asking what the difference was between
what Eisner did and Hymanís failure to stop 100 Syrians from
violating Israelís sovereignty.
The answer is what Gantz has tried to make clear since his first day
as chief of staff some 15 months ago: Operational mistakes will be
forgiven as long as the necessary lessons are learned. Ethical flaws,
moral breakdowns and a violation of the IDF code though, will not be
tolerated at all.
This distinction was demonstrated two months ago when Gantz dismissed
another senior officer for falsifying a report. That was the case of
Lt.-Col. Muli Cohen, commander of Battalion 74, who accidentally left
a soldier behind following an operation in a Palestinian village in
the West Bank.
Senior officers later explained that had Cohen taken responsibility,
told the truth about the mistake and proven that he had learned the
necessary lessons, he likely would have remained in his post. Instead
though, after he tried to cover it up, Gantz decided to fire him.
This is the basic message that Gantz was trying to transmit
throughout the IDF ranks on Wednesday with his decision to dismiss
Eisner: Ethical mistakes will not be tolerated.
In recent years, the military has invested in mentally preparing
soldiers and officers for deployments in the West Bank where they
face not only routine counter-terror operations but also daily
friction with a hostile population and foreign activists.
While the IDF stressed this week that Eisnerís actions were part of
an isolated incident, it would do well to study the video of him
slamming an M-16 in the Danish activistís face and try to understand
what brought a senior officer to lose control the way Eisner did. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/19/12)
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