Israeli Soldiers Get Refresher Course on IDF Values After Hebron Shooting

Col. Yael Hess of the Education Corps says the chief of staff had been worried that soldiers may not have a firm grasp on the military's code of ethics.

A protest in support of the soldier who killed a Palestinian attacker in Hebron outside the gates of a military court, March 30, 2016.
Ilan Assayag

Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been given a refresher course on the military's values soon after the incident involving the soldier who shot a prone Palestinian assailant to death in Hebron, Haaretz has learned. The course was taught by Education Corps representatives to troops in all military units.

Col. Yael Hess of the Education Corps said on Wednesday that the IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, has been concerned that soldiers may not have a thorough grasp of the army's code of ethics.

Speaking at a conference held at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, Hess stated that while soldiers may meet their commanders every day, right-wing web sites can also have an influence on them, which makes the job of instilling values that much harder.

Soldiers are required to comply with the IDF's code of conduct even when they disagree with it, Hess added.

She has relayed this message to army officers, including members of Kfir, the battalion of the soldier accused in the Hebron shooting.

IDF Chief of Staff Eisenkot addressed the shooting in a talk at the Tze’elim base in southern Israel on Tuesday. 

“Our understanding is that if we don’t present our standards and norms as an army, we will lose this battle,” he said, according to the 0404 site. 

He described the chain of events involved in the controversial shooting, noting that the soldier, a company medic, had shot to death the Palestinian assailant 11 minutes after the attack had occurred.

"He opens fire, shoots one bullet, gives his helmet to his friend, cocks his gun 45 degrees and shoots at the terrorist's head, killing him, while he is 70 centimeters away from his company commander, who is standing right over the body,” Eisenkot said.

Eisenkot said he trusted Kfir commander Col. Guy Hazut's statement in the official inquiry that the shooting contravened professional norms and values.

Hazut was the one who contacted military prosecutors, in essence launching the inquiry process, Eisenkot said.