Soldiers with the IDF's Nahal reconnaissance battalion participate in drills.
(photo credit: IDF)
Fourteen soldiers from the Golani infantry brigade went absent without leave (AWOL) on Tuesday, abandoning their base on the Golan Heights in protest of the suspension of a unit member.
Asked to comment on the affair, the IDF Spokesman said that on Monday, the army removed a Golani soldier from his position following a “series of reoccurring disciplinary incidents. In response to the ejection, 14 of his friends abandoned the base. This is a severe incident that is being handled by brigade commanders.”
Army Radio added in a report that the soldiers serve in an operational capacity on the Golan Heights, which borders Syria.
The soldiers returned to their base on Tuesday evening and were sentenced to an army jail for sentences ranging from 10 to 26 days, based on their individual roles in the incident.
This is the second time Golani soldiers have gone AWOL this year. In January, seven soldiers ditched their training base in the Golan Heights, prompting a senior officer from the brigade to call them to return.
Describing their unauthorized January absence as an “isolated incident,” the officer said at the time that the seven serve in the same infantry company, citing economic troubles at home for some of the cases, while others simply wanted to avert difficult winter training.
“Some suffer from economic problems. Others did not want to face winter training, which is tough, starts early in the morning, and takes place in heavy rain, cold, and wind. It’s hard for some. The soldiers did not want to say it’s tough, so some have created other justifications,” the officer said at the time.