Shortages in IDF are forcing soldiers to share body armor – report

Israeli soldiers claim they are forced to share special ceramic plates on a rotating basis due to shortage; IDF vows to investigate the claims.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli soldiers stationed in Judea and Samaria have not been properly equipped for combat situations, leaving them forced to share the use of protective body armor, Israel Hayom reported Tuesday.

The investigative report cited Israeli soldiers deployed to Judea and Samaria, who complained of a severe shortage in the IDF of protective gear and other key military equipment. Similar shortages were also reported in units stationed elsewhere in the country.

To ameliorate the problem, soldiers claimed, the army’s Judea and Samaria Division has been rotating ceramic body armor between brigades.

While this stopgap solution is intended to allow different units to effectively share the armor – rotating it back and forth based on the unit’s operational status – combat soldiers have claimed their units are often sent on missions without the entire team being issued protective gear.

Soldiers also reported that protective gear is rotated between units in such a way as to be rationed for guard duty.

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“It’s like sending a soldier for a stakeout with a plastic gun,” one source said. “How come there is enough money to fund the haredim [Ultra-Orthodox] and the yeshivot but not saving lives? This is just mind-boggling.”

An IDF spokesperson downplayed claims of a shortage of personal protective equipment and denied that any combat soldiers had been sent on potentially dangerous missions without the necessary gear. The spokesperson added that the army is working to remedy the “uneven distribution” of body armor.

“We have been aware of claims made that there is an uneven distribution of the equipment used for ceramic body armor,” he said.

“The military is currently working on further procurement and in recent weeks units in Judea and Samaria have been given additional ceramic vests. We stress that fighters do not get sent on missions that require such protective gear if they do not have it.”