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Has Israeli army become defender of democracy?

In the case of the IDF soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant on the ground, it was Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot who defended categorically the army ethics and values of democracy.
The new Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot takes part in a handover ceremony at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, in which he replaced Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, February 16, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR4PSMT

The killing of a Palestinian terrorist by an Israeli soldier in Hebron on March 24 sparked a volatile and emotional debate inside Israel’s political leadership and within public opinion. In the Israeli ethos, the soldier is always in the right and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is the people’s army, as military service is mandatory and virtually every Jewish citizen sees or will see his/her children serving in the army. Indeed, a public opinion poll by Israeli TV Channel 2 on March 27 showed a strong majority in favor of the soldier’s claim that he acted out of self-defense; 57% of the public believed that he should not have been arrested.

The response of the IDF was surprisingly stern. The soldier was denounced for not obeying IDF moral code. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot issued on March 30 a special letter to all the soldiers, ordering them to uphold both operational and moral standards of the army. He emphasized this point by quoting Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who said that Israel’s security depends both on its strength and its morality. Eizenkot also committed the IDF to remaining the people’s army in a democratic and Jewish state.

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