Brigadier General Amir Vadmani, head of the Planning and Personnel Management Division in the IDF’s Human Resources Dept., on Monday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that more than 20 “minority” soldiers (the term is a common reference to Druse, Bedouin, and Arabs) refused an order or were AWOL absent from service during Operation Guardian of the Walls, May 6 to 21, 2021. Seven of them were discharged from the army following interviews with their commanders. The news was originally tweeted by Yosi Yehoshua, a military correspondent for Yedioth Aharonoth.
נציג צה״ל תא״ל אמיר ודמני מגלה בדיון בועחוב: למעלה מ 20 חיילים בני מיעוטים סירבו פקודה או נפקדו מהשירות במהלך מבצע שומר החומות. אחרי שיחות עם מפקדים 7 שוחררו מהצבא.
זה המון והאמת היא שהסרבנות האפורה היתה יותר גדולה וצה״ל עושה שמניות באויר כדי להקטין אותה
— יוסי יהושוע (@YehoshuaYosi) December 6, 2021
According to Yehoshua, this is a huge number that includes only cases of outright insubordination. But he notes that there was also a much greater prevalence of “gray insubordination” during those two and a half weeks, which was comparable to the police “blue flu,” and that the IDF is doing all it can to obscure and minimize this alarming fact.
Vadmani was attempting just that when he described the mass refusal of military drivers to operate heavy trucks carrying armored vehicle carriers – until MK Amichai Chikli interrogated him regarding the details of that affair and the HR Brigadier General came awfully close to lying to the committee, according to Yehoshua. The military correspondent claims that Vadmani tried to say that the soldiers in question were in training at the time, but in reality, these were Bedouin military transport drivers who also went AWOL, quit their units’ WhatsApp groups, cut off contact with their commanders, and stayed at home throughout the operation.
At the end of the operation, some of them just showed up at their bases and were allowed to resume their regular service.
The right-wing group Torat Lechima (lit. Military Tactics) issued a statement saying, “Brigadier General Vadmani appears to be a pathological liar. He also falsified the data on Haredi recruitment. His credibility is near zero and it’s unreal that he is still in the IDF.”
General (Ret.) Yizhak Turgeman gave an interview a few weeks ago in which he, too, claimed that there were no desertions and insubordination among Bedouin and Druse soldiers and that the only reason some of them had missed some days on base was their observance of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
The revelation strikes fear in the hearts of senior IDF officers who are becoming aware of the damage that can be afflicted by insubordinate ‘Minority’ soldiers in the transport corps when Israel comes under a Hezbollah attack from the north and the army is unable to mobilize heavy vehicles and guns to the front.