The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has over 700,000 citizen soldiers and reservists who are expected to live up to the IDFs ethical standards. In any army, some soldiers violate the rules of combat. In the IDF, all alleged violations are investigated, and offenders are punished.
Yet today, there is an attempt to defame the IDF through allegations that there were instances of misconduct during Israel's Gaza operation. The accusations are based on unverified hearsay, and are proving to be false.
Many IDF soldiers feel a deep sense of injustice at how some are misrepresenting them and the IDF. They want to tell you, the public, about their personal experiences.
Yaron served in Paratroopers during his service. In his testimony he describes how important it was to the IDF to fight as humanely as possible, even as they fight terror that inherently has no moral backing.
Sameul is 25 year old goverment student who served as a 2nd sergeant in the Golani Brigade. Samuel describes how he helped a blind Palestinian reach the city of Nablus, taking him as close as he could get to the man's home with his military Hummer despite the constant threat of gunfire from terrorists.
Nina is 24 years old and studies government at university. She served as a commander of a combat medical course in the Israeli army for almost three years. She attends IDF reserve duty for more than a month each year at the Medic Division of the Home Front Command and was called up during Israel's recent campaign against Hamas in Gaza. She says that in training, IDF medics are taught "medicine first," even when faced with treating a badly injured terrorist over their fellow IDF soldiers.
Inon is a 25 year-old law and government student. He served as a lieutenant in the Golani brigade for four years and now serves in the IDF reserves. He fought in the second Lebanon War in 2006 leading troops in the battle against Hizbollah. Inon recounts how he and his unit were in combat with Hizbollah terrorists in Lebanon when they saw an elderly woman shouting out in pain. As he and a medic approached her in an attempt to treat her, they realized she was wired to a suicide bomb belt and was being used by Hizbollah as a human trap for the soldiers. "This is what we are up against," says Inon.
Daniel, age 21, served in the Golani Brigade and was in Gaza for fifteen days. He talks about the IDF's extreme care for the safety of the Palestinian civilians, and the type of enemy the IDF is fighting; one that actively places children in the middle of their fight. The IDF works to minimize the affect of war on civilians even going so far as to clean a private home and leave food for the inhabitants.
Aviad served in an elite Givati IDF unit for three years. In his interview he describes how the Palestinian civilians in Gaza felt safer under the IDF's protection than being exposed to the Hamas terror.
Jeremy, 24 years-old, fought in the ground war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. Jeremy describes how his unit discovered a Hezbollah hideout but was ordered not to destroy the hideout because the terrorists were using civilians as human shields inside. The IDF chose to protect the lives of the Lebanese civilians even though it meant letting Hezbollah terrorists go free.
Ran is a 25 year-old law student and a sergeant-major in the Israeli army reserves. Ran spends at least 45 days a year doing reserve duty in the IDF's special forces Maglan. As part of his mandatory reserve duty, Ran has fought Palestinian terrorists in Jenin and other terrorist strongholds in the West Bank. He was also part of the IDF ground forces that fought Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Ran tells of the time he and his men risked their lives to rescue a nine-year old Palestinian girl being used by Palestinian terrorists to entrap Israeli soldiers.
Yoni, age 22, served as a Staff Sergeant in Paratroopers Brigade 202. In his videos he talks about the extent to which the IDF restrains its self in order to preserve civilian life even in the face of clear intelligence of extreme danger. When they left homes they had been in, they cleaned them thoroughly. When there was a water shortage, they used their own drinking water to clean the floors, leaving the house cleaner than it was when they entered.
Shane is a 23 year old student who served as a 1st sergeant in an IDF special forces unit. He describes how the IDF is made up of ordinary Israelis who have families and regular jobs and who have a respect for family values.
Idan, age 37, is an information systems manager in Intel. He serves in an elite IDF Givati Unit. During operation "Cast Lead" against Hamas in Gaza, he was in command of several platoons of soldiers. Idan tells about the orders he gave to his soldiers, to ensure that the damage to the local civilians will be minimized, and so they understand that the IDF is fighting against the terrorists and not against the Palestinian population.
Yehoshua, age 26, served as a First Sergeant in the Golani Brigade. In his interview he speaks about finding ammunition in school yards, civilian houses, and even in ambulances being let through the border for humanitarian aid.
Lior is a second year Law student at IDC Herzeliya. He tells of a time he was manning a long-distance nightvision camera watching over a no-man's area when two people were spotted there. Though they were obviously targets determined by both ground and air surveillance, the decision to engage was repeatedly negative.
Gil is a 26 year-old law student and a combat soldier in the Israeli army reserves. Gil was called into active duty to fight Hamas in the Gaza Strip, with the aim being to stop Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel. Gil had just finished a month of training, which is required annually for all reserves, and had started to get involved in his studies when he got the call. But after years of watching missiles being shot into towns in southern Israel, there was no question that he would take on a mission to end these attacks on Israeli civilians.
Ovadia is a 29 medical student in Jerusalem and a First Lieutenant in the IDF.
He speaks about a vehicle that was carrying children, but hidden beneath them was an enormous cache of weapons and ammunition. In his second video Ovadia tells of a time he was shot in the hand while doing routine security detail. He didn't return fire because he didn't realize a gunman had come out to shoot among the children- it seemed like a rock wound, and amry regulation forbids firing on people throwing rocks.
Amir, age 25, is a business and economics student. He serves in the Israeli army reserves where he works as a paramedic in the Givati unit. His unit has been called up to fight against Hamas terrorists in Gaza numerous times, including during the recent campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Amir describes a time he once came across a pregnant woman in labor in Gaza and coordinated with Palestinian medical workers to get her to a hospital.
Pinchas, age 29, is a Politcal Science student. He served in an elite IDF infantry unit and today performs almost 70 days of reserve service each year. During the operation against Hamas in Gaza, his unit was called to duty for additional service. Pinchas speaks about finding rocket launchers in a Palestinian ambulance and escorting a terrorist bomb-maker who helped the soldiers discover explosives hidden under civilian facilities such as schools and clinics.
Noam, age 24, is a Law Student in Tel Aviv University. He serves as an officer in the Givati Unit. Noam speaks about the risk he and his soldiers dealt with in order to avoid any innocent casualties. Despite the intentions of the Hamas, he and his team did the best to avoid any unecessary harm.
Soldiers Speak Out is constantly searching for more IDF soldiers to collect testimonies from.
Please help them by sending in names of eligible men and women who are willing to be interviewed to firstname.lastname@example.org.