Capt. Barak Raz of the IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit responds to the disgraceful behavior of the former IDF (Zahal) soldier who uploaded shameful pictures to her Facebook profile.
The pictures show the soldier posing inappropriately next to Palestinians who had been arrested. The behavior displayed by this former soldier is not only disgraceful but in total opposition to the values and ethical code, “The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal)” which is the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces. Any soldier who partakes in such an activity directly violates the IDF (Zahal)’s code of conduct and will be dealt with severely.
The “Spirit of the IDF (Zahal)” is emphasized throughout every stage of each IDF (Zahal) soldier’s training periods. Its implementation is overseen and enforced by the officers and commanders in each unit. A copy of the code itself hangs in every IDF (Zahal) office. The following is a copy of “The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal)”, along with more information (from the official IDF (Zahal) website):
The IDF (Zahal) Spirit
The Israel Defense Forces are the state of Israel’s military force. The IDF (Zahal) is subordinate to the directions of the democratic civilian authorities and the laws of the state. The goal of the IDF (Zahal) is to protect the existence of the State of Israel and her independence, and to thwart all enemy efforts to disrupt the normal way of life in Israel. IDF (Zahal) soldiers are obligated to fight, to dedicate all their strength and even sacrifice their lives in order to protect the State of Israel, her citizens and residents. IDF (Zahal) soldiers will operate according to the IDF (Zahal) values and orders, while adhering to the laws of the state and norms of human dignity, and honoring the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Spirit of the IDF (Zahal)-Definition and Origins
The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal) is the identity card of the IDF (Zahal) values, which should stand as the foundation of all of the activities of every IDF (Zahal) soldier, on regular or reserve duty. The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal) and the guidelines of operation resulting from it are the ethical code of the IDF (Zahal). The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal) will be applied by the IDF (Zahal), its soldiers, its officers, its units and corps to shape their mode of action. They will behave, educate and evaluate themselves and others according to the Spirit of the IDF (Zahal).
The Spirit of the IDF (Zahal) draws on four sources:
- The tradition of the IDF (Zahal) and its military heritage as the Israel Defense Forces.
- The tradition of the State of Israel, its democratic principles, laws and institutions.
- The tradition of the Jewish People throughout their history.
- Universal moral values based on the value and dignity of human life.
Defense of the State, its Citizens and its Residents – The IDF (Zahal)’s goal is to defend the existence of the State of Israel, its independence and the security of the citizens and residents of the state.
Love of the Homeland and Loyalty to the Country – At the core of service in the IDF (Zahal) stand the love of the homeland and the commitment and devotion to the State of Israel-a democratic state that serves as a national home for the Jewish People-its citizens and residents.
Human Dignity – The IDF (Zahal) and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.
Tenacity of Purpose in Performing Missions and Drive to Victory – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will fight and conduct themselves with courage in the face of all dangers and obstacles; They will persevere in their missions resolutely and thoughtfully even to the point of endangering their lives.
Responsibility – The IDF (Zahal) serviceman or woman will see themselves as active participants in the defense of the state, its citizens and residents. They will carry out their duties at all times with initiative, involvement and diligence with common sense and within the framework of their authority, while prepared to bear responsibility for their conduct.
Credibility – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women shall present things objectively, completely and precisely, in planning, performing and reporting. They will act in such a manner that their peers and commanders can rely upon them in performing their tasks.
Personal Example – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will comport themselves as required of them, and will demand of themselves as they demand of others, out of recognition of their ability and responsibility within the military and without to serve as a deserving role model.
Human Life – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life. During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the extent required to carry out their mission.
Purity of Arms – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will use their weapons and force only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF (Zahal) soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.
Professionalism – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks, and will implement them while striving continuously to perfect their personal and collective achievements.
Discipline – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will strive to the best of their ability to fully and successfully complete all that is required of them according to orders and their spirit. IDF (Zahal) soldiers will be meticulous in giving only lawful orders, and shall refrain from obeying blatantly illegal orders.
Comradeship – The IDF (Zahal) servicemen and women will act out of fraternity and devotion to their comrades, and will always go to their assistance when they need their help or depend on them, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking their lives.
Sense of Mission – The IDF (Zahal) soldiers view their service in the IDF (Zahal) as a mission; They will be ready to give their all in order to defend the state, its citizens and residents. This is due to the fact that they are representatives of the IDF (Zahal) who act on the basis and in the framework of the authority given to them in accordance with IDF (Zahal) orders.