Israel’s business newspaper Globes has published a feature article focusing on the IDF’s combat cameramen:
[IDF First Sergeant Naor] Blanco is one of 24 fighters who are classified as “combat cameramen” who were trained in a special unit established by the IDF Spokesperson’s unit two years ago, and which operates as a combat platoon in every respect. They have undergone arduous training in the Golani brigade, like any other combat soldier. They know when to place the enemy in the crosshairs of their rifles, and when to point their cameras at them.
One picture is worth a thousand spins
Years later than it should have, the IDF has come to understand that stealth fighters and smart bombs are not enough to win the battle for public opinion, and that one good picture can save commissions of enquiry and a few other international headaches. En route to this victory, the IDF decided to forego one or two guns on the battlefield, and to replace them with still or video cameras that will make it possible to tell the same story to the world, in an entirely different way.
The men documenting operations are combat soldiers in every respect. They operate in the hottest conflict zones, they are up against civilian populations in the field, they see the whites of the terrorists’ eyes, and when bullets are whistle over their heads, their story only gets more interesting. When the forces advance towards their target with their fingers on their triggers, the combat cameraman points a loaded, battle-adapted camera, so the IDF can guarantee itself victory in the next battle – the one that will follow the moment the soldiers have left the heat of the battlefield: the battle of how the operation is perceived.
At the conclusion of the story, an IDF spokesperson says:
Today, we can only imagine how the Muhammad al-Durrah incident (during the Second Intifada) would have unfolded had we had a combat documenter at the scene.
Indeed, the use of trained soldiers to document the IDF’s operations through the camera lens is an important development and may yet prove crucial in defending Israel against Goldstone Report-style accusations in the future.
Read the full article here.