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General Itzik Turgeman on the supporters of the fighting: "Do not call them Jobniks" | Israel today


Major General Itzik Turgeman retires from the IDF as head of the Technology and Logistics Division, and in a concluding interview he emphasizes the importance of the supporters of the fighting. He is offended by the troubles around the pensions of the permanent staff: "You start to be perceived as a robber of the public coffers, but when we are called we do not ask questions" • and goes against the attempt to exploit the death of Bar-El Shmueli for political purposes: "

We meet the outgoing head of the Technology and Logistics Division (ATL), Major General Itzik Turgeman, at the headquarters of the Transportation Center at the Beit Naballah base, during a conversation with heavy truck drivers. One, a new immigrant from Ukraine.During war they will be required to cross a line, supply ammunition, fuel and food to the front, and yet they are considered "Jobniks" whose wages will remain low even if the fighters' wages are raised. Receive upon release from the IDF.

"For 30 years in the military service I was at the operational end, at the top. Today, as head of the ETL, I live with people in complex dissonance: at the end, and I do not say which - upper or lower - I have doctors, engineers, professors, technologists, and on the other To me the soldiers whose army is their last chance at life, "says Turgeman," soldiers who dumped them from everywhere, who did not finish school, with criminal cases, they did not study, they were not treated, lone soldiers. To me they are a world and its fullness and I fight for every soldier. A soldier can give up on himself and his service, but I am not willing to give up on him. "

Turgeman, 52, lives in Jerusalem, is married to Revital and a father of three. Chief of Staff Kochavi offered him several more positions at the General Staff, but he explains that for personal and family reasons he decided to hang up his uniform after 34 years of service, four of them with the rank of major general, and become a citizen.

You talk about the importance of military service and its contribution to the individual, but the bottom line is that soldiers do not receive a basic subsistence wage, while the General Staff takes care of the pensions of permanent personnel

. It's not enough to live on and we'll take care of it. There is no connection between the salaries of the fighters and the pensions of the permanent personnel. If it were possible, we would first treat the conscripts and only then the permanent personnel. The timing was not chosen by us but by the High Court, which set a deadline for regulating the completion of the period of service. "

As the commander of the combat supporters, do you think the salaries of all the soldiers should be increased, including that of the drivers, for example?

“For 30 years, before I got the position of head of the ATL, I never dealt with how the fuel, the food, the medicines got to me, and today I am responsible for that. I do not see the possibility of separating the salaries of combat soldiers from the salaries of combat fighters. On the other hand, there should be differentials. When I looked back, I saw around me the ADF with my RPG, the fuel truck coming to Lebanon, Gaza, the tank towing the jammed D-9, I saw the guys who rescued the ADF in Sajaiya. "They were supporter men, armed men who risked themselves and came. In every 'pension storm' they tell me 'we are not talking about the fighters'. But guys, in the end we all started in the field."

Are you offended by the discourse on pensions?

"Personally? Very, because people here work 24/7. It is clear to everyone that when it comes to packing food for the residents of Bnei Brak on Passover, we do not ask questions and do it. When the prime minister is looking for someone to pack antigen kits, it happens very fast, fast and crazy. "Obviously. When I have to help the authorities, or give 750 medics, these are the same people who work around the clock. They don't have a witness, they can't resist, and that's not our character either.

Is the chief of staff's addition to pensions what will keep the permanent staff in service?

"Unlike the civilian sector, we have no grants, no bonuses or overtime.

In practice, there was no supplement to the officers' pensions, but rather they regulated what had been going on for many years.

I think it's a fair move.

The military has moved from a budgetary pension to an accrual, one in 11 servants will retire.

"I have to call 42-year-olds and tell them I'm firing them, or rather, terminating their service, because of an agreement with the Treasury, with a small pension."

What is a 'small pension'?

"Supporters of the fighting are left with about 8,000 shekels, 10,000 shekels net a month at the end. It's not a lot of money, you can't live on it. And everyone who works will pay almost 60 tax cents for every additional shekel they earn."

Do you not understand the resentment it evokes in the public?

"In the last decade we fired 4,000 permanent people. When 200 people are fired at one of the factories in the country, the workers take to the streets, burn tires and block the country. We have not seen parades and things like that with permanent people. If we do not reward people, we will not have quality people."

Under the command of the head of the ITL is also the Medical Corps, which has worked very hard for the past year and a half during the Corona epidemic, both in vaccinating IDF servants and in assisting civilian space. A few weeks ago, the IDF began vaccinating its servants with the third vaccine against Corona, and although there are quite a few citizens who oppose the third vaccine, it is estimated that by the end of the holiday season, about 90 percent of IDF servants will complete the move. In this way, the IDF will become the first organization in the world to be vaccinated with a third vaccine.

"There are no free queues," Turgeman explains, "it required a lot of information, and there is a kind of herd vaccination. People saw their friends running, so they came to get vaccinated themselves, and it happened much faster than the first and second vaccines."

In the name of the IDF's competence, soldiers were forced to get vaccinated and prevented from being tested?

"At the end, the commanders are very task-oriented.

There was significant information, they talked to soldiers about the importance of vaccines, so that for example they could meet their grandparents.

There was no coercion but there was social pressure to get vaccinated.

We are not supposed to impose a vaccine on a person in a democracy. "

Indeed, the People's Army

The Technology and Logistics Division enlisted, among other things, to pack food rations for civilians, as well as antigen kits, in a way that might seem obvious to the public, but stunned anyone exposed to the scope of the activity. "About a year and a half ago, we packed the food for Passover in Bnei Brak. Suppliers said to me, 'Listen, do you know how long it will take to pack everything here?' The shelf.

"The supplier told me - you are mentally ill. But we took everything we know from the logistics world, and turned it into a factory that helps the national effort. Just a month ago, we stopped the training camp, and packed two million tests in 72 hours. The soldiers were extremely motivated, we explained to them that they were packing the tests so that their siblings could go to school on September 1st. These are the supporters, those who ask me if they deserve the right to live at all, who are called 'these Gobniks'. "

In previous waves, the medical corps under Turgeman set up corona wards in hospitals, and recently launched a "hand in hand" operation to set up medical teams that visit corona patients who need oxygen in their homes every day, thus clearing about 500 beds in hospitals.

"The question was what solution would make the most beds in the hospital. Since I had already set up a ward at Rambam (in the previous wave), I know we were able to get about 70 or 100 beds.

That was not enough.

From here was born the idea that was initiated by a chief medical officer.

When we proposed the idea, the health care system fainted from it.

We set up teams made up of a doctor, a nurse and a driver, we divided them into three geographical areas and according to health funds. "

For years you tried to privatize the routine medical treatment of IDF servants to the HMOs. Did the idea get out of hand?

"The Corona taught us the complexities of the health system in the country. Preparing in all seriousness for the outsourcing model, the Corona stopped us. In the coming days we will reach the Chief of Staff and give him our recommendation that at least as long as the corona is with us, the medicine should be left in the army. What could have happened if we had itemized the medicine before the corona? Operation Hand in Hand, we set up a ward at Rambam, an immunization campaign in the IDF, all this - because it's mine. If we had gone to the HMOs, all our flexibility would have disappeared. We did it".

Recently, a very unflattering investigation was published about the IDF dining rooms. Do the soldiers get the best food?

"Articles of this kind affect the motivation to enlist in the IDF. The IDF has an unwritten contract with Israeli society.

I want a soldier to be well-dressed, full, healthy, and with the ability to get around wherever he needs to go.

I feed 190,000 people every day, most of them three meals a day, some five.

And within it there are special soldiers - celiacs, vegans, vegetarians and the like.

Getting soldiers to take food in a bag, put it in their pocket and send it to the lab is disrespectful.

On the other hand, I did not go against this research, I want to grow from it.

I learned that if you go against, you lose.

I set up a call center for soldiers regarding food, not many calls come.

30-15 per day.

We promise that at every turn we will reach the logistics axis at the end. "

Military Corona Department at Rambam / Photo: Oren Cohen,

Defense has a price

As someone who still feels a warrior in every limb, the real emotion comes from Turgeman especially when he talks about the area, about the operational activity. And according to other versions were not summoned by the military for "security" reasons.

"First of all, there was no harm to the IDF's functional continuity at any given moment," he states, "Why? Because it was a very small operation. My efforts were Iron Dome, Air Force, and lowering tools to the maneuvering forces. It's nothing, a huge ETL, preparing for a multi-arena war. What was different after all? We went into a state of emergency in the middle of a Muslim holiday. In civilian companies operated by the IDF. Every day, 24/7. I do not define who gets to drive, but only that it is someone without a security past, and meets all the safety rules. I do not define whether it is an ultra-Orthodox, an Arab, a Druze, a woman. At 22:00 they started moving the tools, some were on holiday, some were people shooting at them and they were afraid to come, not just Arabs. That publication was incorrect. "

And the media response that arose following the tragic death of the late Border Patrol fighter, Bar-El Hadaria Shmueli, has something to say, especially in light of the noise made by right-wing elements who claimed that the IDF's opening fire procedures were problematic and also recruited The bereaved family.

"I do not judge the family but share in its grief, it is a world in its entirety. I do not argue with them, "says Turgeman," but one must make a separation and remember that we are an army that is supposed to protect its inhabitants, and protecting the inhabitants has a price. I told my senior commanders a sentence, which I do not remember saying for many years - an army man must have a willingness to kill, and you must know that you can be killed. This is our profession, it is a dangerous profession. We cannot be examined only routinely.

"For 51 days on a solid cliff I barely left the Strip, my wife exploded with worry. The Commander-in-Chief asked me 'Why are you in the Strip all the time? If something happens to you it's a victory picture.' "A battalion commander, together with the fighters. This is a moral influence. On the ground, I do not give orders, they see me and understand that I am part of it.

But that brigadier general did not make the right decision even according to the investigations. Once they started trying to hijack the fighters' weapons, he had to pull them back.

" There is so much uncertainty in battle, and uncertainty in combat, that there is no black or white. You need to trust the commanders, that the orders they have given provide and allow you to make appropriate decisions for the situation. I brought the APCs to Gaza on a solid cliff (in one of these APCs was the late Oron Shaul). It was my decision! I fired artillery, which I was researched for two years in Sajaiya, in a built-up area.

"If I make decisions in the battle in the light of the investigation committee that follows - I will not be able to be a commander in the battle. The decision must be adapted to the situation, with the values ​​you grew up with and the instructions to open fire. "Two Palestinians were killed in the incident, about 40 were injured. Bar-El himself fired, took courageous actions. There are no battles without mistakes."

And that does not justify any personal conclusion towards the commander who erred?

"I do not think so. In any operational event with or without casualties the commanders die, we will not have people. We need to know how to trust them. This is also within the considerations. There was also a mistake in the wall guard when a Nahal soldier was killed where he was not supposed to be.

This is a malfunction.

But we will not have good commanders if we fire them. " 

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2021-09-23

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