In an apparent blunder of operational security, the IDF Home Front Command published the location of secret IDF bases, Haaretz revealed Tuesday.
According to Haaretz, IDF's Home Front Command uploaded a map of coronavirus testing facilities across the country, which included sites on Israel Defense Forces bases. This not only provided the locations of IDF bases, but revealed previously secret military intelligence and air force bases. The map was created in cooperation with the Health Ministry and made available to Israeli citizens, until it was removed after the newspaper alerted the army to the error.
The map was detailed enough to include boundaries and names of the bases.
When Haaretz reached out to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit for comment, the IDF admitted to the mistake, and said that it was removed from the site and replaced with a version without the sensitive information. Apparently, the locations of the coronavirus testing sites at the secret bases were not placed on the map by military officials.
The IDF usually does not publish the locations or boundaries of its bases out of caution that they may be targeted by rocket fire, Haaretz noted. Further, providing details of secret bases can create operational security concerns for the soldiers on base, as the additional information can be used by foreign intelligence services to target them.
This is not the first time that there has been concern about the release of information on IDF secret bases. The Jerusalem Post previously reported on two such instances. In 2012, Hezbollah used a drone to film IDF ballistic missile sites, airfields and military exercises before being being intercepted by an IAF F-16I fighter jet. In 2016 the military banned the Pokemon Go phone app from bases. There were concerns that soldiers using the app would have geo-location and camera access ripe for accessing by hostile foreign actors, or that a malicious lookalike application could be created and used to trick soldiers.
The Home Front Command has been working in close cooperation with the Health Ministry and other civilian bodies to set up networks for testing and vaccination to fight the coronavirus pandemic. This could explain why non-military personnel were involved in the publication of an IDF coronavirus map.
The command is an IDF unit devoted to protecting the civilian population during warfare and various emergency situations. It maintains a search and rescue brigade for time-sensitive disasters in Israel and abroad.