Should the IDF Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard?


Today’s armies are subject to international humanitarian law, national pressure and public scrutiny. Yet they must also uphold themselves to their own specific ethical and moral codes.

For decades, Israel’s military, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), has fought for the state’s very existence. Over time, many of Israel’s enemies have moved beyond the traditional battlefield and brokered for peace…or political warfare. 

Enemies like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah have tested the IDF’s morality by using unethical tactics beyond the accepted principles of warfare, putting innocent human lives at risk. Israel’s position is that until Israel’s enemies hold themselves to a higher moral code, the IDF will remain prepared and armed to defend Israel from constant threat while striving to maintain its own ethical code.

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Big Ideas
  1. Asymmetric warfare, particularly with terrorist groups, challenges the IDF's ability to maintain ethical codes and purity of arms.
  2. The IDF often takes steps to limit civilian casualties, as opposed to Hamas and Hezbollah, who purposely place civilians in harm's way.
Essential Questions
  1. What are the challenges of maintaining purity of arms and ethical standards in asymmetric warfare?
  2. How can the IDF navigate the moral dilemmas presented by the complex and asymmetric nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
  3. Does Israel need to be the most moral army?



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