The IDF Code of Conduct: Human Values in Every Soldier’s Pocket

It is kept in every soldier’s pocket at all time. It is read and analyzed in depth, together with their commanders, during basic training. It is hung in every IDF office as a constant reminder: The IDF Code of Conduct, or as it’s called in Hebrew, the “IDF Spirit”.
Compiled by the philosopher Asa Kasher and senior-ranking IDF officials such as Lt. Gen. (res.) Ehud Barak, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern and others, the code sets down the ground rules of morality and ethical behavior for every soldier, from the rank of private to general.
So what is the “The IDF Spirit”, and why is so significant for our region? The IDF Spirit is a set of values every soldier in the IDF follows, some of which include Human Life, Professionalism, Morality in Warfare and more. Another way to say – the IDF declares its support for human rights, and guides every soldier in the IDF to behave ethically and morally.
IDF soldiers graduating combat training showing the true IDF spirit

IDF soldiers graduating combat training showing the true IDF spirit

The “Spirit of the IDF” has three fundamental values:
  1.   Defense of the State, its Citizens and its Residents
    The IDF’s goal is to defend the existence of the State of Israel, its independence and the security of the citizens and residents of the state.
  1.   Love of the Homeland and Loyalty to the Country
    At the core of service in the IDF stand the love of the homeland and the commitment and devotion to the State of Israel-a democratic state that serves as a national home for the Jewish People-its citizens and residents.
  1.   Human Dignity
    The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.

Click to read the complete version of the IDF Code of Conduct (Hebrew version here).

This upcoming Saturday (December 10), the IDF will mark the International Human Rights Day. Every year the IDF makes a great effort to spread these values. Famous examples include volunteering with poverty-stricken children in Israel, sending out aid missions to countries struck by disaster, donating money to charities and more.