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IDF elit unit Maglan
Photo: IDF Spokesperson
Maglan unit soldiers jump into thorny bushes to 'face their fears'
The condition of the IDF soldier injured last week remains critical after jumping into a bush without wearing a helmet; Parents of the unit's soldiers say 'It's inconceivable that the IDF punishes lower-ranking officers while ignoring the responsibility of high-ranking officers.'

The condition of the special unit's soldier injured last week  remains critical. The soldier is receiving treatment in neurosurgical intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, and is anesthetized and ventilated. Testimonies reveal that that the soldier sustained the injury during a dangerous Maglan tradition—jumping into thorny bushes without wearing a helmet.  

 

 

According to the tradition, the young fighters in the elite unit jump into thorny scrubs in order to "face their fear" of prolonged camouflage in rocky grounds during special ambush missions.

 

Maglan unit (Photo: Gadi Gabalo)
Maglan unit (Photo: Gadi Gabalo)
 

 

This dangerous tradition usually takes place at the end of a camouflage week, and is not an official part of the unit's training program.

 

The soldiers usually sustain deep scratches or dry bruises as a result. However, this time, the injuries were severe, as the IDF warrior may be crippled for the rest of his life.

 

A committee headed by a brigadier general will examine the soldiers' conduct in the IDF special units, and an additional probe will examine why reports on both incidents were inaccurate and belated.

  

 

Maglan elite unit (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
Maglan elite unit (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

 

According to testimonies, when the soldier jumped into the bushes, no doctor was present at the scene. Only after the fighter complained of pain, his comrades contacted a military doctor who ordered the soldier's immediate hospital evacuation.

 

Among other things, the army is investigating the soldier's evacuation process, checking for mistakes that might have worsened his condition.

 

According to one of the soldiers' parents, the Maglan's tradition is "a stupid and dangerous tradition, everyone in the unit is aware of it, and no one forbids it… they tell the fighters that the bushes are their mattress."

 

Another soldier was moderately injured during a Krav Maga training the week before. The soldier sustained moderate injuries as a result of a heavy blow, and hours passed before the unit evacuated him to a hospital.

 

 (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office)

 

The IDF is examining whether the instructor was authorized to use the young soldier as a Krav Maga partner.

 

At the same time, the army is examining why the details of the two incidents were kept inside the elite unit and not delivered, in real time, to senior commanders.

 

The parents of the unit's soldiers intend to contest the IDF's decision to dismiss the commander of the seriously injured soldier, and the possible dismissal of the the second soldier's commander.

 

"It's inconceivable that the IDF is dismissing junior officers while keeping senior commanders in their positions. Everyone knew about this jumping tradition, and no one stopped it," claimed a relative of one of the soldiers.

 
The officers involved will face penalties including dismissals and rebukes, but as in the case of the Duvdevan soldier who accidentally shot dead his comrade, Staff Sgt. Shachar Strug, the IDF will probably severely punish lower rank officers, while ignoring the responsibility of senior commanders.

 

 

 

According to the IDF, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan appointed a team headed by Brig. Gen. Itai Virob to examine commanders' conduct in the unit, while another team appointed by GOC Army Headquarters Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak will investigate the earlier incident in which a soldier was moderately hurt during Krav Maga training.

 

At the same time, the IDF stopped some of the unit's training and safety briefings were conducted. "The events will be thoroughly studied and lessons will be learned," the IDF's Spokesperson said.

 

The army also noted that "the events did not harm the Maglan unit's contribution to the IDF and did not impair the IDF's 24/7 activity and operational successes in all sectors."

 

 


First published: 08.06.18, 17:46
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