Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IDF Soldiers Share Their Stories

Contact: Michael Dickson
Director, StandWithUs Israel Office
Cell: (+972) 52 409 9957



JERUSALEM (March 29, 2009) – Israeli soldiers launched a website on March 29
to share their personal experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces
(IDF). Their testimonies contrast sharply with recent media reports of alleged
IDF misconduct.

Calling themselves “Soldiers Speak Out,” the group provides video testimony
at ( www.soldiersspeakout.com) highlighting their personal accounts of the
IDF’s moral code.

StandWithUs, an international education organization, created the website in
response to IDF members in its student programs who felt they had to speak out.
This independent initiative is not coordinated with either the IDF or the
Israeli Government.

“We created this website because a few isolated allegations from
‘anti-war’ Israeli soldiers are being used to defame the IDF. Yet the IDF
has over a 700 thousand soldiers and reservists who try to live up to the
IDF’s high ethical standards. The IDF impartially judges all alleged
violations, and punishes offenders,” explained Roz Rothstein, International
Director of StandWithUs.

The soldiers share experiences rarely told by the international media. Nina, a
25 year-old IDF medic who served in Gaza, recounts how she and other IDF
soldiers treated wounded Palestinian men, women and children and arranged for
them to be flown to Israeli hospitals for medical care. She explains that IDF
medics are taught not to see nationality, but rather to treat the wounded with
the severest injuries first, even if they are terrorists.

Amir, a military reserve paramedic in the Givati unit in Gaza, confirms Nina’s
account. “I was present when injured Palestinians were flown out by IDF
chopper to Israeli hospitals. Imagine the cost of that helicopter, but we
believe that human life is of the highest value – their identity doesn’t
matter.” Amir’s video relates how he helped a pregnant Palestinian woman in
labor while he was searching for terrorists in Gaza.

The soldiers also describe the challenges of fighting terrorists who use
inhumane tactics. Inon, a 25 year-old lieutenant in the Golani brigade, recalls
that during the 2006 Lebanon war, he and his unit spotted an elderly woman
shouting in pain. As they tried to help, they realized that Hezbollah had wired
her with a suicide bomb belt and was using her as a human trap for the Israeli
soldiers. "This is what we are up against."

“We had no shortage of volunteers,” said StandWithUs Israel Director Michael
Dickson, “Many feel that the media has been skewed. Many soldiers feel a deep
sense of injustice, including those who risked their own lives in Gaza to
protect Palestinian civilians. These young soldiers are deeply moral and
recognize that their service is vital to a country like Israel, which is
constantly endangered by terrorists and hostile neighbors.

“All the soldiers we met illustrate the IDF’s moral code with first-hand
experiences. The media may not always report on it, but by putting the
soldiers’ stories on the Internet, they can speak to people directly. I
anticipate that there will be many more soldiers speaking out,” said Dickson.

· The Soldiers Speak Out website is at www.soldiersspeakout.com
· It will officially launch on Sunday, March 29, 2009.
· The soldiers are prepared to conduct interviews by request –
please email mdickson@standwithus.com or call +972 (0)52 409 9957.

StandWithUs, an international, non-profit Israel education organization, hosts
speakers and conferences, offers website resources and creates brochures and
materials about Israel that are distributed globally. Based in Los Angeles, the
organization has offices across the U.S. and in Israel and the UK. SWU was
founded in 2001 in response to the public’s need and desire for mainstream
information about the Arab-Israeli conflict. StandWithUsCampus helps college
students challenge anti-Israel bias.
http://www.standwithus.com and http://www.standwithuscampus.com

Avi Posnick
Outreach Coordinator
StandWithUs East Coast
Office: (212) 398-2524
Fax: (212) 842 0161
Cell: (516) 698 3449


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