IS IT too easy to just wander over to Gaza?.
While the IDF’s evaluation is that Hamas currently has no interest in engaging Israel in another conflict, Israeli soldiers are on guard, watching the Gaza Strip 24/7.
The IDF has surveillance techniques such as micro-observation balloons that collect high-resolution, image-based intelligence and also assist ground units in operations, but nothing can replace the IDF electronic observation unit, made up solely of women, which acts as the eyes of Israel.
For the female soldiers who spend all day, every day, watching the Gaza Strip, it is clear that the scene has changed since Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has built military outposts all along the border with Israel and also carries out regular patrols, both to impose its control on the Strip and to watch what is happening on the Israeli side.
Capt. Tuval Tzadok and Capt. Naama Dill, who serve in the IDF’s electronic observation unit in the northern and southern sectors of the border with Gaza, respectively, spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the unit’s importance.
“We see everything on the border, every person who wants to cross. Everyone who tries to cross the border, we see as a threat.”
Tzadok and Dill, who are stationed at two different edges of the Strip, told the Post that “both sectors are the same,” that no matter if it’s Islamic State in Sinai or Hamas in Gaza, “the enemy is the same, and we are watching them.”
Tzadok and Dill said that the quiet in their sectors depend largely on the work that the 130 female soldiers under their command carry out around the clock.
According to them “it’s hard for male soldiers to multi-task.”
In the electronic observation unit, one has to be able to watch and locate any terrorist infiltration while at the same time alert troops to the infiltration and then communicate with them, once they are in the field.
Tzadok and Dill, who enlisted together and attained the rank of captain at the same time, said they have become close friends and that their friendship has helped them in their roles. They teach each other, share new developments regarding their respective fronts and sometimes even work together to alert their respective troops to threats.
Their friendship also helped Dill during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, when her brother was called up and ended up being stationed in Kissufim, where Tzadok was stationed as well.
“I told Tuval, watch over him as best you can,” she said.
Soldiers in this unit have been honored for their service, with three awarded medals of appreciation by the Southern Command for their actions during Operation Protective Edge, when soldiers identified groups of Hamas terrorists trying to infiltrate Israel to attack soldiers and/or civilians on several occasions.
It was the first time the honors were handed out for the electronic observation handler position.
According to Tzadok and Dill, despite the recent rocket fire from Gaza and Sinai, they do not believe another war will break out in the near future.
“There are high-intensity periods, and then there are the quieter periods. It’s never the same here, it’s very dynamic,” they said, but currently “it’s now the quietest it’s ever been.
“And we are making sure that quiet remains. That is our job.”
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