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Combat Officers’ Names, Photos May Be Censored for Protection

An IDF committee is recommending that combat officers’ faces and names be kept out of the press, to protect against lawfare.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/5/2011, 9:29 AM / Last Update: 7/5/2011, 9:46 AM

Flash 90

An IDF committee will recommend that the military censor adopt a far-ranging policy of protecting combat officers from being identified in press reports. The committee was formed following the Cast Lead anti-terror campaign of 2008-9, and the “lawfare” campaign adopted by the Arab world and its sympathizers worldwide against IDF soldiers.

According to the daily newspaper Maariv, the committee will recommend that in press coverage of officers from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and upward, photos of their faces shall be pixellated or otherwise manipulated to make them unrecognizable. In addition, their names will not be published, and they will only be identified by their first initial.
 
This policy already exists for many years with regard to IAF pilots and other soldiers who serve in special units and sensitive positions. There has been relative openness regarding soldiers who take part in regular warfare – but this openness had to be reconsidered after “Cast Lead” and the Goldstone Report.
 
In that campaign and after it, newspapers in Israel and outside it reported in detail about alleged misdeeds by the IDF and identified the alleged offending officers and soldiers. Israeli-based NGOs, many of which are funded and controlled by the leftist New Israel Fund, were quick to inform to the UNCHR’s Goldstone Committee on alleged crimes committed by IDF officers and soldiers. Anti-Israel NGOs took legal steps abroad against IDF officers, sometimes preventing these officers from traveling to countries such as the UK where they could be prosecuted for alleged "war crimes"..
 
In one case, Entebbe hero Major General Almog did not leave the plane on which he had travelled to England for a speaking engagement to aid the charitable foundation he heads due to threats of imminent arrest.
 
The new IDF policy will presumably make it more difficult for informant organizations to gather information about IDF officers involved in warfare and create a more controlled atmosphere regarding the officers' identities.