Azaria Effect: IDF Morale Slips

YERUSHALAYIM -

Morale in the IDF has suffered a decline as a result of the trial and conviction of Sgt. Elor Azariya, according to a study conducted by the army itself.

The IDF Behavioral Research unit found that only 41 percent of combat soldiers have confidence that their commanders would back them up after an error made during field operations. Azariya was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of an Arab terrorist who had already been neutralized and was lying on the ground.

Authors of the study linked the morale drop to the Azaria trial. “[I]t can be assumed that these findings were influenced by the events with Elor Azaria,” reads an excerpt from the study obtained by Haaretz.

Other statistics related to soldiers’ attitudes were also on a downward trend:

The number of soldiers (combat and non-combat) expressing satisfaction with their commanding officers was 61 percent in 2016, compared to 65 percent in 2014, and 76 percent in 2012.

Fewer soldiers said they were interested in pursuing military service beyond the mandatory term, only 25 percent saying they would consider a career in the IDF, compared to 32 percent in 2014, and 41 percent in 2012.

Two thirds (67 percent) say they feel respected by their commanders, a drop of 1 percent since 2014, and 8 percent less than in 2012. Fifty-eight percent said they felt fulfilled by their position in the army, a drop from 64 percent in 2014 and 66 percent in 2012.