- Dec 26, 2014
'Asking soldiers to write farewell letters before Gaza war lowered morale' - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post
Requests by commanders for soldiers to write farewell letters before heading out to battle in Gaza last summer constituted an error of judgement that lowered fighting morale, the IDF Soldiers’ Complaints Commissioner, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, said Tuesday in a report.
The forty third annual Complaints Commissioner Report included criticism of the practice of farewell letter writing, which was encouraged by commanders. The letters "harmed the morale of combat soldiers and their ability to fight with all their heart and soul. It disrupted their faith and hope, and could have harmed their ability to function in the battlefield," Brick said.
The letters may have also disrupted the balance in the minds of combat soldier that exists between fear, and the need to carry out orders, he added.
"Writing farewell letters before danger squeezes enormous mental energies out of the soldiers, magnifies their fear, and causes them to lose concentration and focus in battle, out of a fear that what they write in the farewell letter will come true," Brick wrote.
Instead, soldiers should be directed towards determination, optimism, fostering a fighting spirit, and self confidence before heading onto the battlefield.