Yesterday, Colonel Beni Mor presented the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Moshe Ya’alon, and the GOC Army Headquarters Commander, Yiftah Ron Tal, with the findings of the investigation committee regarding the death of Corporal Ehud Shnior. The findings show that Ehud Shnior died of cardiac arrest while he was under an abnormal physical strain, which was not part of the usual training program.
The investigation further found that Corporal Shnior was brought back to regular training despite losing over 60 days of training due to an injured ankle and never receiving a personal training program to make up for the training that he had missed.
The Chief of the General Staff, commending the well-written report of the investigation committee, agreed that the GOC Army Headquarters Commander would present the complete findings of the investigation committee to the family of Ehud Shnior. The Chief of the General Staff and the GOC Army Headquarters Commander noted that they regard this incident with great severity, and that it reflected a complete deviation from the values of the IDF.
The Chief of the General Staff noted that this very severe incident reflects a phenomenon of hostility by commanders and soldiers toward those who suffer from medical problems. Further, he remarked that it indicates the existence of a criminal sub-culture among the minor command that has led to a daily routine of harassment and humiliation. He stressed that the problem is one of leadership, partially due to lack of experience in the training of squad commanders and partially due to a failure of values, specifically of what is allowed and what is forbidden.
In addition, the investigation committee questioned the commander’s ability to sense and truly read what is going on in the field, which must be done by visiting the companies, keeping watch over what is going on, carrying out interviews with the soldiers, performing inspections, and other regular activities. Further, the committee noted, commanders should not be satisfied with only these tools, but should also be attentive to the parents of the soldiers and to the media.
The Chief of the General Staff concluded that the chain of command has failed in all levels when it did not succeed in detecting and treating the existing problems in the platoon, despite the “red lights” that demanded the attention of the commanders.
In light of the severity of the incident, the Chief of the General Staff has ordered the GOC Army Headquarters Commander to implement the conclusions of the investigation committee. He has also authorized the implementation of his recommendations regarding several commanders who were involved in the incident:
Both of the squad commanders have been dismissed. They will not return to command soldiers, will not serve as combat soldiers and will only be placed in executive duties.
The platoon’s commander, who has a direct responsibility for what happens in the platoon, will not be appointed to command duties for a year.
The company’s commander will be dismissed from his roles and will no longer serve in command roles. The commander of the recruits’ battalion will be dismissed from his role and will not serve in command roles for two years. As for the commander of the special training center in which Shnior died, the Chief of the General Staff has decided that he will not be appointed to his designated role as commander of the school for Infantry squad commanders. His next role will be discussed separately.