In the coming weeks, the IDF will distribute a newly designed neck guard to better protect soldiers serving in the West Bank against the threat of knife attacks, an army official said Monday.
Stabbings have become a method of choice for Palestinians in the latest round of violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers that has swept the country since mid-September. Though IDF soldiers are mostly protected from attacks with helmets and ceramic bulletproof vests, one sensitive area remains exposed: the neck.
This type of attack is relatively new to the IDF. In the beginning of November, the IDF’s Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank, contacted the army’s Logistics and Technology Directorate to request new equipment that could protect the soldiers serving there from the kind of attack they were liable to face, Lt. Col. Liron Segel, who runs the directorate’s Personal Protection and Equipment Department, said Tuesday.
Segel’s unit set out to create such a device, one that would “strike a balance between the amount of area protected and comfort of the soldier,” he said.
The new neck protector does just that, Segel boasted. “I’ve given them a solution to the threat of stabbing attacks.”
Segel’s unit worked together with the IDF Chief Medical Officer to develop the new neck guard.
Even with the new armor, “there’s no such thing as 100 percent protection,” Segel acknowledged.
The neck guard, which has already been through field tests and will be sent out to forces in the most dangerous areas of the West Bank shortly, slips on beneath the soldier’s regular protective vest. It is constructed of a special kind of fabric and “special materials” that Segel would not divulge.
‘I’ve given them a solution to the threat of stabbing attacks.’
“On the one hand we put an emphasis on materials that are very durable in order to protect against a penetrating wound, while on the other hand we worried about comfort,” he said. “We have managed to make a product that is flexible, thin and even its weight on your neck is not comparatively that heavy.”
The guard is designed to fit under different types of protective vests so every soldier will be able to use it, Segel said.
The new device will be handed out to soldiers in flashpoint sites such as Hebron, the Gush Etzion Junction, Hawara and Tapuah, which have been the most frequent sites of stabbing attacks against soldiers. The final deployment is up to the Central Command, Segel said.
Segel would not say which of the companies that produce body armor for the IDF received the contract for the new piece of neck protection.
“But what I can say is that it’s made in Israel,” he said.