IDF rethinks guns-on-leave policy after unarmed soldier’s murder

The IDF is rethinking its policy regarding letting soldiers take their guns with them when they go on leave – it took a tragedy for this to happen, however.

First Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Weissman, a combat soldier from the Nahal Brigade, was forbidden by his commanders to take his gun with him when he went on leave. He happened to be shopping at the Rami Levi supermarket in Sha'ar Binyamin last Thursday when terrorists went on a rampage with knives, and was stabbed to death.

Nahal Brigade Commander Col. Amos Hacohen gave orders Monday to conduct an inquiry following complaints by soldiers that their commanders refuse to let them take their weapons with them when they go on leave.

The complaints have become more forceful in the past few days, after it became clear that if First Sergeant Weissman had been allowed to take his gun with him, he probably could have shot the terrorists who murdered him.

The IDF's policy is to have soldiers check in their weapons when they go on leave for longer than three days. This policy was ostensibly adopted in order to lessen the chances that the weapons will be stolen.

The Nahal Brigade inquiry will look into the incident in which First Sergeant Weissman was murdered, and rethink its policies.

The IDF said that Hacohen has launched an inquiry into regulations regarding the carrying of weapons on leave, "following complaints that have surfaced in recent days," and that the IDF "partakes in the family's sorrow and will continue to accompany it."

According to eyewitness accounts, Yanai was stabbed after he ran toward the terrorists and tried to fight them with his bare hands.

"You heard that something happened and you ran and I waited for you," Yanai's widow, Yael, said at his funeral. "You were always full of giving and if you hadn't run there, you would not have been the Yanai whom I knew and with whom I fell in love."

She told Arutz Sheva that Yanai was very frustrated that he had to go on regular leave without his weapon.

“He told me he did not feel complete without a weapon every time he left the house. I think that if a soldier requests to take his weapon with him on leave he should at least be allowed to protect himself and others. After all, soldiers protect us.”

“Yanai was there to protect us, he defended us with himself, with his body,” said Yael.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208398

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