IDF, Israel-Gaza War

"Z-Tube": A look into the IDF's efforts to keep its side of the story in the news

A dedicated documenting company, GoPro cameras everywhere, and even careful selection of the IDF's most guarded secrets help ensure Israel's side of the war comes out every day.

IDF soldiers with GoPros. Illustration. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

The IDF has been in the thick of the fighting in the Gaza Strip, and in addition to the military briefings, preparations, and training, the IDF has also been working round the clock on Israeli hasbarah.

In our day, with everything being filmed and with every clip on social media possibly being selectively edited against Israel, the IDF understood that it also needed to fight back on the civilian social media battlefield.

The IDF has understood the importance of pictures and clips for some time, which is why they developed wide ranging documentation systems allowing for making the reality of combat more accessible to the folks at home, as fast and as effectively as possible.

Now, for the first time, the IDF is revealing the documentation methods and the soldiers who fight the war of hasbarah behind the scenes.

The Operational Documentation Company

Among these efforts is an entire company of soldiers focused on filming and documenting battles. The company includes 60 male and female soldiers who undergo full combat training, as well as a course in spokesperson skills and documentation. The soldiers are spread out in every combat zone, each of them attached to units in the field, with the aim of documenting events in realtime.

For the documentation to reach the public as soon as possible, the soldiers enter the battlefield with the combat troops, equipped with a computer and phone for rapid delivery of the footage.

Body Cameras

GoPro cameras are also equipped on the helmets and vests of many of the soldiers - even on some of the dogs. It's a lightweight, easy to assemble tool, which allows for an authentic perspective from the point of view of the soldier in the field.

The cameras not only make the situation accessible to the public, but also reflect back threats in the field and allow commanders to better understand events after they happened. Among other things, they allow us to see what a dog saw when sent into suspicious buildings, helping soldiers to prepare for the danger and form appropriate plans of action.

Requests for GoPros since the war's outbreak have skyrocketed since the war, and almost every fighting force has at least one.

Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles

In this war, almost all forces were led by armored vehicles - tanks and AFVs. The IDF subsequently understood that these vehicles also need to be documented, which is why a camera is present on the barrel of every tank or AFV that goes into combat. The moment the vehicle is in motion, on the offensive, and until it finishes the mission - it constantly documents its surroundings.

Z-Tube

But perhaps the most important change in the world of documentation and its accessibility took place in 2017. The C4I Corps developed a new system called Z-Tube, installed on the most classified computers, allowing those with access to it to directly view the IDF's "visual" view of the battlefield.

Today, every military installation with cameras such as border observation posts or Air Force aircraft are connected to Z-Tube and air from it - live. The new program allows running footage from a week back, and the IDF uses it to issue clips from all battlefields to the general public.

The memory cards on the soldiers are sent from the front to the rear, and from there - to the IDF Spokesperson's visual war room. The war room contains male and female soldiers who edit, design, and animate the raw material from the field - 24/7.

They turn it into a complete media product, which tells the story of the soldiers to the public and also oftentimes embarrasses antisemites online who publish and report fake news about the IDF.

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