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IDF to punish soldiers and their commanders for brawl on Givati Brigade base

Fight breaks out between troops from Shaked Battalion, Bedouin reconnaissance unit, while standing in line for the dining hall

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Soldiers of the Givati brigade prepare for a late night mission in the West Bank city of Nablus on October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90)
Soldiers of the Givati brigade prepare for a late night mission in the West Bank city of Nablus on October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90)

The Israel Defense Forces said on Monday that it will punish soldiers involved in a brawl that broke out on the Givati Infantry Brigade’s training base the day before, as well as their commanders.

Twenty-one soldiers were injured in the fight, eight of whom needed to be taken to the hospital, the military said, referring to the incident as “irregular and severe, which does not match the IDF’s values or the behavior expected of its soldiers.”

According to the military, the tussle broke out while soldiers from the Bedouin 585th reconnaissance unit’s training company and the Shaked Battalion’s training company were waiting on line to go into the dining hall for lunch.

“An argument broke out over the entrance line for the meal,” the IDF said in a statement.

Some 30 soldiers took part in the brawl, which the military said lasted roughly 10 minutes before the commander of the training class arrived and broke it up.

A second fight then broke out at the base’s clinic between two soldiers who had gone there for medical treatment after the initial confrontation. “That was quickly broken up by a commander,” the military said.

The commander of the Givati Brigade, Col. Itzik Cohen, conducted an investigation into the fight, which he presented to both the head of the 162nd Division, Brig. Gen. Sa’ar Tzur, and the head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

“All of the soldiers who took part in the violence, and the commanders who did not fulfill their duty in preventing the incident, will be dealt with harshly, including the commanders of the platoons and teams. In addition, the commanders of the company will be reprimanded for their responsibility for the event,” the military said.

In light of the brawl, Cohen halted all training exercises through the weekend for the two training companies so that the soldiers could receive “educational classes on values and accepting the other,” after which the two units will spend the evening together in an event overseen by the commander of the training base.

“The IDF condemns this kind of unacceptable behavior and will continue to take initiative to prevent similar events,” the IDF said.

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