The Israeli Defense Forces: The Most Inept Army in the World

August 06th, 2021

By Miko Peled


HEBRON, PALESTINE — There is a constant argument between Zionists, who claim that the Israeli Army is “the most moral army in the world,” and those who live in the real world, who understand that it is nothing but a ruthless army of occupation and oppression. But there is another aspect of the Israeli Army that is not discussed as often and that is the fact that it is inept, maybe even the most inept army in the world.

The most obvious examples were in 2006 when the IDF’s “finest units” had to face Hezbollah and ran, and then in the various attacks on Gaza when Israeli soldiers had to actually face Palestinian fighters and paid a heavy price. Even watching the Israeli Army conduct simple daily operations on any given day, one can clearly see that it is a clumsy, oversized body and that it possesses very little intelligence.

Certainly, the Israeli Air Force can flatten any city, as long as that city — like Gaza, for example — has no defense capabilities. And Israeli tanks and artillery can destroy homes and kill — again, as long as the other side has no army with which to defend itself. And we know that Israeli snipers can shoot to kill or maim, as they choose, as long as they are safe and there is no one firing on them.

A day in the field

The following story happened to take place in the Old City of Hebron, on the ancient hill of Tel-Rumeida, but it could have been anywhere; indeed I had seen such examples of Israeli military clumsiness many times. I spent the day in the city of Hebron with my friend Issa Amro and we were at the YAS Center, or Youth Against Settlements. The Center has a lovely outdoor area that overlooks wide terraces with large, ancient olive trees. I stood there and I could see that a group of soldiers was training among the trees. I couldn’t tell exactly how many there were but it seemed like perhaps it was a squad, or a team, as they sometimes refer to it — about 15 to 20 soldiers.

The soldiers were young, fully armed, and wearing helmets with camouflage material on them, which makes them look ridiculous. Surely camouflage is important but, considering I could see them and so could anyone else who was around, it seemed ridiculous, if harmless. I had noticed a young man from the neighborhood casually walking through the trees holding a cup of coffee when I had to step away for a few minutes.

When I returned I could see the soldiers busy with something and when I looked closely I saw the young man on the ground with the soldiers all around him. I called Issa to tell him and, without hesitation, he said “let’s go.” That was when the total ineptness of the Israeli Army began to unveil itself. Needless to say, neither Issa nor I were armed with anything save our phones. I followed Issa and began to record with my phone.

As soon as we were within sight of the soldiers, we could see about seven or eight of them standing around one of the large trees and under the tree we could see the boy in his bright red t-shirt. Several soldiers started to yell at us “wafef, wakef,” which means “stand, stand” or stop. They presumably wanted us to stop in our place. But that did not happen. Issa replied, “Why? We are allowed to be here, we are not breaking any laws.”

“Wakef!” Stop! The soldiers yelled

Then Issa proceeded to tell the soldiers that this boy should be released at once: “He lives in the neighborhood, his house is here.”

“Are you his father?” they asked.

“No, just a friend, and I know him and his family; their house is right here!”

“We are not breaking any laws!”

But he wasn’t carrying an ID on him,” the soldiers said.

“Neither am I,” Issa admitted. “We are in our own neighborhood and there is no requirement to carry ID while you are in your own neighborhood, I know the laws here.”

The soldiers had the boy sit on the ground under a tree that covered most of him. On the ground lay the contents of his pockets: An open, half-empty bottle of juice, a phone, a wallet, and two packs of cigarettes.

A bottle of juice, a phone, two packs of cigarettes, and keys

A young lieutenant came up to explain to Issa that from now on everyone should carry their ID on them, everywhere. “You leave the house, ID in your pocket.” Then he added “Do you know who is responsible for enforcing the laws here? Me!”

“And me,” Issa replied, “I am a human rights defender” — meaning he is making sure that the soldiers do not abuse their authority.

Early on during the interaction, Issa pointed out to the soldiers that “We are not terrorists here,” and then he turned to one of them, who was clearly aiming his gun at the boy: “Lower your gun.” I caught the entire exchange on video and at that moment the soldier who was pointing his gun at the boy looked at Issa and then at his officer and, with a look of total dismay on his face, he lowered the gun.

“Lower your gun!” Issa told the soldier

Once Issa identified the boy’s name to the soldiers, the lieutenant told the boy he could get up and go home. The soldiers were clearly out of their depth when facing an assertive, and incredibly courageous, Palestinian. They took orders from Issa and it was clear that the entire episode was because the soldiers were making a mountain out of a molehill.

A potentially deadly “training”

In the end, the boy went home, Issa and I turned back to the Center on top of the Tel-Rumeida, and the soldier left. As they left, I couldn’t help thinking how clumsy, poorly trained, and full of themselves these soldiers were. Even the way they retreated made it clear that they were poorly trained. Certainly, they were in no danger at any moment during this exchange. But the way they left, none of them looked back, they were all walking with their heads hanging low and their guns clumsily hanging from their shoulders. And had someone wanted to harm them, they would have succeeded with ease.

“This was a training exercise for you,” Issa called as we were leaving. “For you, ambushing him like this is just training.” He was probably right. It may be that the officer decided to “train” his soldiers on how to detain an innocent young man who was walking home, minding his own business.

The whole thing took less than ten minutes, from the moment I called Issa until we headed back. However, it was an education. Considering this was Hebron, and considering how quickly Israeli soldiers pull the trigger and that they always get away with it, it was not at all obvious that this would end peacefully.

I have to credit Issa’s commanding presence, his understanding of the laws that govern the area, and his calm fearlessness in confronting the soldiers. Still, both Issa and the boy could have just as easily been shot and killed. Had that happened there would be no one to stand up for them. This episode shows once again that Palestinians remain without protection in a tragically capricious piece of the world.

Vegan Washing: How Israel Uses Veganism to Gloss Over Palestinian Oppression

By Alan Macleod


Most of us are now aware that we constantly receive micro-targeted advertisements in our social media feeds based on our interests, location or habits. Those in the vegan community are no exception.

However, an increasing number of  promoted posts targeted at vegans on apps like Facebook or Twitter are clearly Israeli Defense Force (IDF) propaganda. Most of these are videos discussing, in English, how accommodating to the plant-based lifestyle the IDF is and how easy it is to be a vegan soldier.

Israel, its government tells us, is a vegan paradise of tolerance and open-mindedness, where its soldiers can serve their country according to their ethical principles, eating vegan food and wearing clothes free from leather, wool, or other animal products. There are now around 10,000 vegan soldiers in the IDF, and that figure is quickly rising. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv markets itself to foreigners as the “vegan capital of the world”.

Israel Defense Forces


The perfect place to be vegan doesn’t exi-

Embedded video

Apartheid Isn’t Vegan

There is a fundamental contradiction between veganism and apartheid. Veganism at its core is an ideology of radical compassion for and non-violence towards all sentient beings. As vegan website Live Kindly explains, it means “to live in a way which shows appreciation to our humanity, our home and those who share it with us.” It should go without saying that this is completely incompatible with successive Israeli governments going back to 1948 and Israel’s commitment to being a Jewish supremacist state. Thus, in Israel, a country that cares about animals more than its indigenous human population, you can be vegan, but you can’t support Palestinian rights.

Nevertheless, Israel continues to use the fact that thousands of its soldiers abscond from animal products as proof that it is a forward-thinking, progressive nation. Mainstream and corporate media have, unsurprisingly, parroted this assertion. The BBC, for instance, tells the story of an IDF soldier, Daniella Yoeli, so moral that “had the army not been able to provide conditions that had harmed no living creatures, she might not have enlisted in a combat unit where she would not have been able to provide her own food.” Unexplored in the article was whether or not Palestinian humans qualified as human beings to her.

More alarming, however, is how many vegetarian and vegan outlets have swallowed the bait as well. Veg News reports how Israeli soldiers march to war in leather-free boots and have plentiful plant-based ration optionsLive Kindly noted how the IDF’s deputy chief of staff is a vegetarian and how it recently appointed its first vegan officer. Meanwhile, PETA went so far as to advise the Swiss Army to “take a leaf out of the Israel Defense Forces’ book”. But especially troubling is that none of the articles even mentioned any criticism of the IDF, the government, or their actions, effectively amplifying Israeli propaganda worldwide.

Israel Vegans

With a host of celebrity advocates, including Tobey Maguire, Emily Deschanel and Zac Efron, veganism is growing exponentially across the West. Noting that a quarter of 25-34 year old Americans are vegetarian or stricter, The Economist labeled 2019 the “year of the vegan.” Yet uncritical regurgitation of IDF press releases subtly presents the Middle East region as liberal, forward-thinking Israelis vs. backward, close-minded Arab Muslims.

This framing is particularly misleading for a number of reasons. Firstly, much of the most commonly celebrated Israeli vegan food (falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed vine leaves) is simply the appropriated cuisine of the local peoples Israel displaced during its creation. Secondly, the great irony is that the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development statistics show that Israelis actually consume the most poultry per capita in the world, with 80% of the population eating it every day. As a whole, Israelis eat over 200 pounds of meat every year, more than even the famously carnivorous Americans.

Furthermore, as the Palestinian Animal League notes, while 3% of Israeli Jews are vegan, the number of their Palestinian Israeli counterparts is twice as high. Therefore, the narrative begins to disintegrate upon even modest inspection.

From Vegan Washing to Pink Washing

In a similar fashion, Israel presents itself as a haven of acceptance for the LGBT community in a region of intolerance. After winning the event in 2018, the country received the right to host the Eurovision Song Contest, a continent-wide celebration of flamboyantly gay music and culture (despite not being a European nation).

The Israeli government saw the country’s victory as a huge diplomatic triumph, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring winning performer Netta Barzilai as its “best ambassador.” Barzilai flew back home to perform at a government-sponsored victory celebration. The same day the IDF slaughtered at least 58 Palestinians. There was a considerable amount of pushback to the idea of Israel hosting the competition this year, with some acts refusing to perform. Nevertheless, the show went ahead as planned in Tel Aviv, another coup for the government.

While Israel is indeed a land that is both comparatively tolerant of LGBT people and accommodating to vegans, the general progressiveness that implies does not extend to the realm of politics, where the country continues to lurch ever more rightward to the point where even its former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, has warned that the country is “infected” with fascism and the government must be stopped. Thus, in the Jewish-only state, female bulldozer drivers can destroy Palestinian villages, vegan tank commanders can run over wheelchair-bound children, and transgender pilots can bomb wedding receptions. The trick the IDF is trying to play is to get as much of the world to concentrate on its (limited) liberal inclusivity and ignore its near-genocidal military policy. And it appears to be working.

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