Parents of Only Children in IDF Can No Longer Void Combat-duty Consent

The move comes after Operation Protective Edge, which saw only children getting pulled out of combat service in the Gaza Strip at the request of their families.

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Soldiers in the IDF's Golani Brigade training in the Golan Heights in 2013 (illustrative photo).
Golani soldiers training in the Golan Heights in 2013 (illustrative photo). A prestigious combat unit.Credit: Ariel Schalit/AP

The army will no longer allow the parents of an only child to withdraw their consent for him or her to serve in a combat unit.

A prospective Israel Defense Forces recruit who is an only child, or whose family has lost a member in military service in the past, must obtain the consent of his or her parents in order to be assigned to a combat unit. Such consent must be obtained prior to induction.

Presently, parents are permitted to withdraw their consent after first giving it. This happens most often during military operations.

The IDF decided to change its policy after Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

During the fighting, only children or soldiers who previously lost family members in military service were pulled out of combat service in the Gaza Strip at the request of their families.

The head of the IDF Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolansky, has decided to change the rule for only children, but has not yet decided whether to change it for the families of soldiers who have been killed in action.

In a related issue, the Manpower Directorate is examining the possibility of adding a new category, in addition to captured or missing in action, for the purpose of facilitating the return of the remains of Israeli soldiers — even if it does not meet international legal standards for such categories.

One of the cases under discussion is that of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed in the fighting in Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip two years ago.

Goldin is not considered a dead soldier whose burial place is unknown, unlike Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, after the latter’s parents requested this of the army.

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