Only In Israel

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A more efficient IDF.

Two days ago I saw a performance by the IDF theater. That's right, the IDF theater.
Apparently there are soldiers whose job in the army is to move between bases and preform stand-up comedy, musical style songs and attempt to entertain the troops, which hardly works when dozens young men want to watch a basketball (Israel-Czech, we won) game taking place at the same time their show is.
After the show (and the game) I stuck around and talked to the IDF theater soldiers. Apparently they're home everyday, they get the weekends off and only get called when some unit wants a performance (or in case there's a really good game on TV, this way they can take the fun away with lengthily lame jokes). And I realized that they're serving in an entirely different army.
They probably have more friends then I do. They've surely dated more girls. Some of them must have civilian jobs, whether with permits or without them. They may even finish the military with a few university courses already finished. But they will also demobilize with an entirely different set of experiences and knowledge.
They have no idea what 8 hours on a checkpoint feel like, or what's its like to be completely silent for hours waiting in an ambush for absolutely NOTHING. They get decent bases, good food, they sleep at home, they don't worry about when they'll get home, or when their next shift, or how many hours of sleep will they get tonight.
I'm not saying that everyone should be at their bases for atleast a week and not sleep at home, but the general feeling is that there are far too many Jobniks living in far too good conditions.
During the disengagement it was especially obvious. The army took almost 40,000 Jobnikim (soldiers with deskjob positions) out of their air-conditioned offices and put them in the field (Atleast a so-called field, they had catering, and Burger Kings, and Domino's Pizza at their tent camp). The military continues operating fine without them. They've been out of their offices for almost 70 days (training included) and everything continued as usual. This, in my opinion, is the best evidence that the entire deskjob sector in the army is inflated. There are plenty of people who are virtually unemployed. People who sit around and do nothing all day, who could be used for better roles in the army.
If 1% of those soldiers would go to combat roles instead of getting deskjob positions, you'd get a new battalion. That's just 1%! Imagine 10%. On a ratio of 4 soldiers per one air-conditioned office that would be 1000 less rooms to handle. 1000 less computers to buy. It would entirely change the face of the IDF. Combat soldiers will be home more. Less funds will be diverted to people who are de-facto unemployed in their air-conditioned offices, and more funds will reach the field units. And yeah, the remaining 90% of people who hold deskjob positions might get a bigger workload, they might go home at 5PM every day instead of 3PM.
But that's logical. That could never work in the army. I sincerely have no hope for the situation changing. And I must say, one of the problems I had with officers' course, is the lack of logic in the military. Just a tad more logic an I'd sign up.


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