Message From an Israeli Soldier: The IDF Values and Protects Human Life; Terrorists Don’t
by Aaron Goren
On May 2, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired a barrage of rockets into Israel, injuring three civilians in Sderot. Hamas claims that these attacks are in response to convicted Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan dying of a self-imposed hunger strike. Adnan refused Israeli medical treatment on numerous occasions, and, in effect, killed himself rather than face justice for the crimes he committed against Israeli civilians.
The most recent rocket attacks are a stark reminder of Israel’s precarious security situation. From the murder of a mother and her two daughters, to terror attacks in major cities, and incessant rocket fire and bombings, it is evident that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) face many challenges in protecting the citizens of Israel.
Aside from PIJ, the State of Israel faces threats from several United States-designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). These groups operate in Gaza, Lebanon, Judea, and Samaria, and elsewhere. This means that Israel is fighting an almost all-front war from the North, East, and South. Hamas has even attempted to infiltrate Israeli communities from the West via the Mediterranean Sea.
Despite these immense challenges, the IDF holds onto its high standards of operation, trying to minimize collateral damage whenever possible and ensuring routine peace is upheld in one of the world’s most volatile regions. And I know this personally.
Through my nearly three years of serving in Sayeret Givati, a special forces unit of the IDF, I witnessed and participated in numerous counter-terror operations to protect Israeli civilians — Jewish and non-Jewish — against terrorism.
I witnessed the professional standards that the IDF maintains, and the lengths it will go to in order to prevent civilian casualties. After my time in the IDF, I returned to America to join another ongoing battle for the truth — this time on America’s college campuses.
Across our nation’s campuses, misinformation is being spread about the IDF that is inaccurate and full of downright lies, and then used to demonize the Jewish state and its military.
Earlier this Spring, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at the University of Chicago published a series of Instagram posts with disparaging remarks about a course taught by Professor Meir Elran, a visiting faculty member from Tel Aviv University and a veteran of the IDF.
“Counter-terrorism,” SJP asserts, “is a discourse [sic] used by colonial powers to justify genocide, repression, and racial domination.”
The claim that the IDF is committing genocide is absurd, and could not be further from the truth. In fact, census data reveals that the Palestinian population continues to rise. Israel only targets terrorists and does everything it can to minimize civilian casualties. All the Palestinian terror groups, and the ruling regime in Gaza, try to murder innocent civilians. So who are the real human rights violators here?
UChicago SJP also claims that the IDF does not participate in legitimate counter-terrorism operations, insisting that raids in the West Bank are “massacres.”
“Last Thursday morning, the Israeli military perpetrated a brutal massacre of Palestinians in the Jenin Refugee Camp,” SJP stated.
This post touched on a crucial raid by the IDF in January 2023 to detain members of an Islamic Jihad-affiliated terrorist squad that was planning an imminent attack on Israeli civilians. Seven people killed in the raid were confirmed gunmen who fired on Israeli forces in the cramped urban setting, putting innocent civilians at risk. This was not mentioned in the post by SJP, of course.
Referring to the Israeli army as the “Zionist Occupation Forces,” as in this post from George Washington University’s SJP chapter, reveals an effort to deny the IDF’s charge to protect the citizens of the State of Israel from terrorism.
The IDF’s mission statement states, “The purpose of the IDF is to preserve the State of Israel, to protect its independence, and to foil attempts by its enemies to disrupt the normal life within it.” This same mission statement was iterated to me repeatedly during our operational periods during my service.
A six-month report published by the IDF in November of 2022 revealed the military made 3,000 arrests and stopped 500 terror attacks in that time, saving untold numbers of Israeli civilians.
The IDF continues to warn civilians before launching airstrikes on terror targets using a technique called “roof knocking” — which compromises Israel’s ability to kill terrorists — and even calls off airstrikes altogether if the civilian presence is too dense.
In response to the recent rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel responded quickly and precisely, striking 16 targets and killing a single Hamas member in the process.
Once again, the Jewish State has shown that despite facing a radical, genocidal enemy, the IDF possesses effective means to strike targets in an urban area with minimal civilian casualties. This impressive display of military intelligence and technology is a great lesson for all contemporary militaries, in both professionalism and high operating standards.
Going forward, I will challenge the disinformation campaign in the mainstream media and on college campuses alike.
The truth must win out, and I will do my part to make sure that happens.
Aaron Goren is the CAMERA Campus Advisor for the West Coast. This article was published in observance of “This Is Zionism” — the latest campaign from CAMERA on Campus, highlighting Zionist voices. Visit Zionism.me to learn more.