Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Do many IDF combat soldiers that saw combat regret their service?
Very few combat soldiers actually see combat in the extreme sense but this depends on how it is defined.
Being face to face with the enemy shooting at them and being shot at is one form.
Flying a plane or helicopter or driving a jeep or truck in dangerous situations is also combat.
Just being in a place where shooting may well be necessary and having to act in accordance is also combat.
Coming into daily contact with a hostile civilian population or with dangerous prisoners is a related experience.
Training in the IDF can be very realistic: Preparation for combat is itself combat.
Cooking meals for soldiers etc is not necessarily a less honorable task. On the contrary.
Getting back to your question:
"Do many IDF combat soldiers that saw combat regret their service?"
You are implying that IDF soldiers should regret their service since they come to realize that it was immoral or improper from an ideological point of view.
Such changes of heart may happen but they are rare.
Changes in the opposite direction are more common.
Soldiers from left-wing homes often come to adopt more nationalistic outlooks.
An overlooked phenomenon is that hareidi political parties get proportionately more votes from the soldiers than the mainstream Zionist parties do.
On the other hand they who went in religious often come out less so.
Very few regret serving in the IDF overall.
The service includes about three years regular time or 18 months if you come from overseas.
This is followed by about a month on average a year of annual military service every year for a good many years.
A lot of moving around may be involved with changes in task, promotions, re-training, re-allocation, shuffling of units, etc.
Sooner or later a person will usually find the spot they are suited to.
Someone who does not want to serve or has reasons not to, in practice, usually does not have to.
Females should not serve in the IDF.
Those women who do serve often serve well and may in some cases make a valuable contribution.
Nevertheless Jewish Law is against it and it is not good for social reasons.
Soldiers should be paid better.
Getting injured should not be encouraged BUT they who are injured should be looked after better than they have been.
Soldiers should be given more benefits in housing, education, and job opportunities.
Biblical tradition is against favoring combat soldiers over the others.
- 1-Samuel 30 (NASB):
- 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, ;Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man;s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.;
- 23 But David said, ;My brethren, you shall not do so with what the LORD has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us. 24 For who will heed you in this matter? But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.; 25 So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
Nevertheless more appreciation for the combat soldier should be shown somehow or other.
On the other hand he is not doing a favor and should not have the attitude of being owed something.
He may have struggled to be accepted into the Training Course, struggled to get through, and struggled to stay in. He was enabled to do what he wanted and from that point of view should be grateful.
Even so, gratitude at some level should also be shown unto him.
Soldiers make good citizens and good home-makers. They should be invested in.
This is a human resource with guaranteed returns and should be developed as such.
More full-time warriors should be employed at the combat levels.
In dangerous situations it should be forbidden to hold the soldiers back or to needlessly endanger them.
Anyone who does not treat IDF soldiers with respect should be punished, especially the enemy.
IDF soldiers however should not be used as bait in political disputes nor sent for ideological reasons into hareidi neighborhoods to make provocations.