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January 9, 2014 12:44 pm

IDF Officer Ignites Controversy for Drilling Near Naked Soldiers in the Snow

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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IDF soldiers were commanded to roll around in their underwear in the drill. Photo: Screenshot

Two days after the release of a video in which an Israel Defense Forces commander appears to force soldiers under his command to roll in their underwear in the snow, the embattled team commander responded on Thursday, saying that, “It was all done in good fun,” Israel’s Walla news reported.

With their commander barking orders, IDF servicemen from the elite “Maglan” unit, conducted a series of firing drills in the snow wearing only military vests, and their underwear.

The release of the video ignited a firestorm within the IDF and has sparked a national debate around the officer’s decision to drill his subordinates in the bitter cold.

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A friend of the commander in question, himself an IDF lieutenant, said on Thursday that the unit commander at the center of the controversy is “a highly respected officer. He is a true professional, highly motivated and deeply respectful of the fighters under his charge.” Having spoken to his friend about the incident, the lieutenant relayed that the unit commander never meant to hurt his soldiers and that it was all done in good fun – as a way to create bonds between soldiers and their commander, Walla reports.

However, despite attempts to defend the conduct of the commander, other sources close to the incident have leveled strong criticism against the actions of the unit leader, Walla said. One of the soldiers who participated in the drill insisted that there were soldiers who refused to participate in the exercise because they feared getting sick.

According to the soldier, “Had soldiers taken ill as a result [of this drill], our operational ability would have degraded,” Walla reported.

Other IDF sources expressed concern that not condemning the unit commander’s conduct could set a dangerous precedent for other officers – and soldiers under their command – to follow, Walla reported.

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Join the Algemeiner

    As a retired army officer, I must say that this is quite a new experience.
    I would not have liked to train like these soldiers did, but one must consider that soldiers have to work under all conditions and need to experience what this officer made them do.
    Good for him.
    This is a new way to make the soldiers know what canditions can be like
    It makes them tough

  • Mel

    Has the Political Correctness that destroyed the United States Armed Forces spread to the IDF? Were Israel attacked during its recent blizzard, would the IDF have gone on leave? If IDF doesn’t toughen-up mighty quickly, Gilad Shalit will go from aberration to epidemic overnight.

  • Beatrix

    How often does it snow in Israel?

  • Chernasky

    The enemy will not allow them a “time out” to get dressed .

    Remember the picture of US troops in Afghanistan, one squadie was wearing his red shorts.

  • Avi

    Ask the special forces in the US military, about the grueling conditions they train in?
    That is why they are tough as nails.

  • Avi

    If “Maglan” the elite unit can not drill in snow and cold who can? I fully support the officer in charge, it was done in good spirit and cements the bond between the unit fighters.
    Elite units train in the harshest of weather and other conditions all over the world, for a darn good reason, to surmount all challenges before them that is why they are called “the elite” fighters. It builds character and stamina. Kol Akavod leMaglan.

  • ELaIM

    It`s only good that the boys get some workout Maybe the ladies should of done it later.

  • Master Adrian

    They are soldiers! They are elite soldiers!

    They are soldiers who are supposed to give their lives when it is necessary, for their country, their mates and themselves!

    So, they are trained as they should: hard, tough and rough, and in ways that make them hard and tough!

    A cold is human, but I assume that these soldiers are healthy enough to stand a roll in the snow, in their full pack or in their underwear!