IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot issued an order Monday according to which all soldiers who go on leave must take along their guns. The order was issued following a terror attack Thursday in which First Sergeant Tuvia Yanai Weissman was murdered when he tried to stop a terror attack barehanded.
Weismann, who served in the combat infantry Nahal Brigade, asked his commanders to let him take his army-issue Tavor assault rifle along with him when he went on leave. They refused. He happened to be shopping at the Rami Levi supermarket in the Binyamin region when two Arab teen terrorists entered the supermarket and later began stabbing Jews. Weismann tried to stop them barehanded and was stabbed to death.
Eizenkot issued the orders Monday shortly after it was reported that the IDF is rethinking its policy regarding letting soldiers take their guns with them when they go on leave.
Nahal Brigade Commander Col. Amos Hacohen initially 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.
A day before the terror attack, Eizenkot made a surprising statement in which he defended the army's controversial open-fire orders and brushed off the teachings of the Jewish sages. "The IDF cannot speak in slogans like 'when someone comes to kill you – kill him first,'" he said, citing the dictum. Eizenkot also said that he does not want to see soldiers "emptying a clip" at a 13-year-old girl who attacks them with scissors.
He came in for severe criticism for his statements.