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November 27, 2016 4:51 pm

IDF Soldiers Taught to Combat West Bank Terrorism With High-Tech Simulator of Actual Attacks

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avatar by Ruthie Blum

IDF soldiers serving in Hebron. Photo: IDF Spokesman's Office.

IDF soldiers serving in Hebron. Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Office.

IDF combat soldiers who are and will be stationed in the West Bank have been training over the past few months on a simulator that presents them with different terrorist scenarios they might encounter, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the simulator screens clips of actual incidents, mainly from the surge in Palestinian terrorism that began a year ago in September, which has been characterized by stabbings, car-rammings and other acts of “lone-wolf” violence that are tough to anticipate and often even harder to counter.

The simulations involve the soldiers watching 30-second clips of situations they must react to on the spot and later analyze with  their commanders. This, an infantry officer told nrg, is far more effective than lecturing them on how to function in the field.

The officer said that whereas in the past, the soldiers performed “enemy reenactments” and other exercises, today, they are being trained with advanced multimedia tools. He explained that the technology enables them to practice making quick decisions about how to handle terrorists — whether, when and where it is necessary to shoot to kill or refrain from doing so. This, he said, is done in “laboratory conditions,” with soldiers and their commanders dissecting each case to learn under what circumstances it is better to shoot in the air, aim for an assailants legs or neutralize a terrorist by other means.

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In addition, the soldiers are taught through simulation how to determine in real-time whether a suspicious person or event warrants immediate action. According to nrg, this involves going over “gray areas” — such as the case of a car that crashed into a Tel Aviv restaurant, which turned out not to be a terrorist attack, but a driver who suffered from a heart attack at the wheel.

The officer then defended the IDF against mounting criticism that soldiers have become confused about when it is acceptable for them to shoot terrorists, and fear possibly negative legal and political repercussions for killing knife-wielding or other Palestinians on the attack. “We tell them that anyone in a life-threatening situation must do everything he can to extricate himself from it — even if a terrorist is far away, and even if the soldier errs in judgement.”

“We do not measure danger in meters,” he said. “And we tell the soldiers that each and every one of them, when in the field, is chief-of-staff.”

The officer denied that this makes him “disconnected from reality.”

“I have witnessed and analyzed dozens of incidents, and even those about which I had plenty to say about how a soldier functioned, I have not seen any cases of soldiers refraining from shooting out of fear of what would be said about them later,” he said.

As The Algemeiner reported last week, a new “spirit of the IDF” document that aims to prepare soldiers for ethical dilemmas they encounter while serving in the West Bank is in the final stages of formulation. The document, a senior officer said, “provides not only the rules of engagement, but also guidelines for treating other human beings with respect and for exhibiting professionalism.”

This followed another directive to soldiers, in the form of a tutorial video, instructing them to avoid shooting female terrorists whenever possible, and to use Krav Maga techniques to neutralize them instead.

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