IDF sees steep climb in gun accidents, report says

Israel’s Channel 20 took a look at the data on gun accidents in the IDF over the last two years.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In 2020, there was a 58% rise in gun accidents in the IDF, or “accidental discharges” as they are called, reports Channel 20’s Hillel Bitton Rosen, who examined the data and revealed his findings on Monday.

There have been a number of high-profile accidents in recent years, in some cases with soldiers playing games with their weapons, leading to serious injury and death.

In one incident that made headlines in March 2018, a soldier in an elite unit pointed a loaded gun at his friend and accidentally killed him in a game. The soldier, who was part of the Duvdevan unit, told investigators, “We practiced drawing a gun in a room on-base, as is common in the unit. He’s my best friend and I didn’t know it was loaded.”

Most recently, on Feb. 23, an IDF soldier was shot in the head and killed by his company commander, who picked up a gun used in a training exercise to inspect it and accidentally fired a round.

Channel 20, after interviewing soldiers who had lost comrades to gun accidents, describes a situation where gun safety is not taken seriously. Soldiers spoke of an “an atmosphere of contempt. Gun safety has become a recommendation in the battalion. It was clear that a disaster would occur in the end.”

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In June 2020, a senior IDF training officer hardly set a good example when he was shot and seriously wounded during an exercise after he walked into the line of fire.

The IDF disputes the allegation that gun protocols are ignored, noting it conducts investigations after every incident. Gun training was reportedly halted throughout the IDF as the February incident was investigated.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said, ” In the IDF, there is a program to raise awareness, educational activities take place and many informational activities are carried out on the subject.”