Editor Daveed Fakheri
IDF officers will study how to respond to psychological methods used by the enemy to affect soldiers’ spirit and morale
Yarden Winter, Bamahane
The IDF will learn how to respond to psychological warfare in the battle field. The Theory and Instruction Brigade of the Operations Directorate recently added new chapters to the IDF Battle Doctrine, which refer to a type of battle that does not include live munitions but is becoming more and more significant in modern warfare, and uses propaganda and psychological methods to influence combat soldiers’ spirit and their morale.
The IDF Battle Doctrine is studied in certain courses, among them those of the Institute for Command and Staff and the Institute for Tactical Command. “The field of psychological warfare has developed dramatically, and commanders must know important principles and concepts regarding the issue; that is why we talk, in the appropriate measures, about the use of psychological warfare against our enemies, and also about how to deal with this type of warfare,” explains the Battle Doctrine Department of the Operations Directorate.
The chapter on theory is currently in the process of being written and is scheduled to be approved before the end of 2010. Among other things, the new Battle Doctrine will include concepts of psychological warfare, including that of “white messages” which come from a trustworthy source, as opposed to “black messages” whose distributor is unknown. The new chapter also offers ways of dealing with hostile activities making use of psychological tools. One of the recommendations for the commanders is to hold motivational conversations with their soldiers, so that their battle spirit cannot be negatively affected. “The commanders need to learn techniques. Our goal is that during the planning of any operational activity, the officers will be aware of the issue and will prepare their soldiers also for dealing with the enemy’s psychological battle tactics,” an officer added.
The field of psychological warfare has developed a lot throughout the last few years due to various factors including the development of the media in Israel and worldwide. Terror organizations increasingly photograph and film attacks on IDF forces and publish them on television stations. For example, at the beginning of April 2010, Hamas published documentation of an incident in Kissufim, during which Maj. Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sergeant Ilan Sviatkovsky were killed.
Today, the IDF operates what is known as the Center for Consciousness Operations, a unit under the Intelligence Directorate which, among other activities, publishes announcements to the Palestinian public. During Operation Cast Lead, 500 short clips and announcements were sent to Palestinian media stations, and 300,000 text messages and telephone calls were received by Gazan civilians, in order to warn them against entering buildings housing terror operatives and weaponry