"Yes, Miss Commander"

IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Five Facts about the IDF (Zahal)’s basic training for young men from troubled backgrounds, and the women who command them

Date: 10/03/2011, 10:53 AM     Author: Gili Malinsky

1. Havat Hashomer is a base in northern Israel providing basic training for newly drafted soldiers from a low socioeconomic status. These are soldiers with aggressive tendencies or ones who have been involved with drugs, criminal activity, etc.

2. The program was established in 1981, the Israeli Government’s objective being “the maximal advancement of all individuals from special population groups”

3. Commanding these new draftees are young women soldiers from the mainstream of Israel society, given the role of helping to garner a new sense of respect in these soldiers both for the societies they come from and for themselves

4. The latter decision came from an understanding of these young men’s difficulty with authority and their inherent code of ethics regarding women. “They wouldn’t hit a woman because it’s not manly,” said Lt. Anaelle Heymann, a former commander in Havat Hashomer

5. In 2009, Israeli film makers Dan Setton and Itzik Lerner documented a 100-day basic training cycle in Havat Hashomer for a documentary film called “Yes, Miss Commander”. The film explored relationships between commanders and soldiers on the base, later being screened in film festivals all over the world