Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz spoke on Wednesday morning about leaked recordings of radio communications during the battle in Rafah that took place on August 1, saying “the army is not a reality TV show,” and that he finds it unacceptable that operational recordings were leaked.
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Gantz traveled to the IDF main induction base at Tel Hashomer Wednesday morning, to be present as volunteers were drafted into the IDF. He spoke with inductees and their families. Later, speaking to journalists, he made a statement about the recordings published by Ynet, and launched a Military Police investigation to determine who leaked them.
“The army is not a reality TV show. War is not a reality show. We’re not after ratings,” said Gantz, adding, “we’re investigating, checking, questioning, dealing with it, and while I think that the media has an important role in revealing things to the public in general, in this case there are fallen soldiers involved, as well as operational briefings on very sensitive issues.”
The chief of staff added that he believes it “unacceptable that operational recordings got out. Not that I’m hiding anything, but this is sensitive for the families of fallen soldiers, and with regards to bodies that we are still looking for. We need to hear about this from other places as well? I think this was poor behavior from whoever passed along the recording.”
Gantz also spoke about the controversy regarding sexual harassment in the Givati Brigade, and the ongoing Military Police investigation. He said that he wants to make it perfectly clear that from “the chief of staff down to the last IDF soldier, I will not accept any [such] behavior,” adding “and I think that IDF commanders know this, and now how to behave. Anywhere that this is not the case – we know how to handle it.”
With regards to the ongoing investigation, Gantz added that the army intends to fully exhaust all its internal disciplinary options, alongside the ongoing Military Police criminal investigation into the suspected harassment. Results from the questioning of Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, chief of IDF Southern Command, have yet to be presented to Gantz, but that is expected to occur in the coming days.
Gantz said that the army intends to present the results once the process is completed. “The commanders know that they have to deal with this issue throughout the entire chain of command, from me on down,” said the chief of staff.