A new war room has been set up by the IDF with hundreds of informants on the ground along with full military and security cooperation, all in order to combat rumors concerning IDF casualties spread via WhatsApp and other social media outlets. Meanwhile, the IDF also began a campaign explaining the huge damage these rumors cause the families.
The new casualties war room Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
As spreading news via various levels of credibility, such as social media outlets and WhatsApp groups, has become a commonplace and they negatively affect the families of IDF soldiers who receive them – the IDF has decided to launch a new procedure in order to deal with the phenomenon. The IDF recently established a war room for IDF casualties with 24/7 operation in order to confirm information regarding the soldiers and inform the families before the gossip and rumors begin.
The most recent and serious rumor spread by mobile devices dealt with the alleged death of the IDF Chief of Staff during a helicopter crash in southern Israel. The rumor was so widespread and explosive that at a certain point, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit was forced to issue an official statement denying the rumor.
This phenomenon is not unique to Israel, however, as a result of the country’s sensitive security situation, it is much more significant than within other countries around the world. “Families shouldn’t hear about a disaster that happened to their son or daughter via social media or irresponsible news outlets,” said Head of the Casualties Division at the IDF Manpower Directorate, Major Oshrat Duk. “There’s a need to understand what this does to the families. It adds a blow to the injury. A family shouldn’t know about something before the IDF tells them.”
“We’ve begun a special procedure, according to which we work from the moment there is an understanding that we have an incident with casualties,” Major Duk stated. “First of all, we need to accurately understand the incident’s story, what happened, how many casualties there are, where they were evacuated to and what condition they are in. We need a number of identification circuits already on the ground in order to know who the casualties are and we are already verifying all of the details at the scene, including working with the Internal and Foreign Affairs Ministries. All of this is done in parallel with all military bodies, including the IDF Rabbinate, MDA, the police and the Firefighting and Rescue Services.”