Israeli soldiers wait in position near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, during a protest on the Gaza side, as seen from the Israeli side March 30, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Nine IDF soldiers from the Golani Brigade were sentenced to 20 days in prison for refusing to take part in preparations for a Gaza military ground campaign last week.
The soldiers from the brigade’s 51st battalion were stationed at the Tze’elim base in southern Israel during the latest tensions along the Gaza border, and were sent to jail for refusing to participate in a training drill after one of their fellow soldiers had been dismissed.
The Golani Brigade was among the troops mobilized by the military last week to deploy to the border with the Gaza Strip, following fears of an escalation with Hamas and other terror groups in the coastal enclave.
Since their deployment to the front, troops have been rotating between the border area and Tze’elim, where they have been training as part of preparations for fighting in Gaza.
According to a report in Ynet
, the soldiers refused to take part in the exercises at the training base because their commanders were confiscating personal equipment, including flags which had personal messages to them from their fellow soldiers who have been released, as well as personalized gun straps.
Meanwhile, the soldiers who remained in the field were said to have been “doing nothing” since the early morning hours, and when they asked their commanders “how much longer” they had to remain in the field, they were removed from their positions.
“It shows contempt and disrespect for those who come to serve the state, to defend its sovereignty and to give their life if necessary," one soldier was quoted by Ynet
as telling his parents.
According to the report, this is just one of many disciplinary incidents that have been discovered in the unit amid problems between veteran soldiers and the newer conscripts, as well as demands that arose from the command staff over the issue.
"There is no room in the IDF for incidents of ‘veterans vs. youngsters’, and they are not consistent with IDF values,” the military said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post
. “Cases of this type which are discovered are treated with complete severity, and all steps are taken to eradicate this phenomenon. This is a specific event in which a number of soldiers in the company who took part were disciplined. The company continued its operations as normal and carried out the drill."
Despite the relative quiet over the past few days, the IDF will not be removing any troops that have been deployed to Israel’s Southern Division Headquarters, three infantry brigades and an artillery unit - which were all mobilized to enhance the Southern Command. In addition, leave was cancelled for all combat units that are currently assigned to the Southern Command.
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