IDF soldiers angered by inaction over bed bug infestation on base

The Michve Alon base is home to many new immigrants, a great number of them lone soldiers.

A bed bug at Michve Alon army base (photo credit: Courtesy)
A bed bug at Michve Alon army base
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Soldiers serving at an IDF base in northern Israel, home to many of the army’s newest recruits, have complained of an infestation of bed bugs in recent weeks and claim the army is doing little or nothing to help.
Recently-drafted recruits at the IDF’s Michve Alon base near the city of Safed have taken to social media to publish photos of the infestation, amid growing frustration that their complaints are not being taken seriously by commanders.
The Michve Alon base, run by the IDF’s Education Corps, is home to many new immigrants, some considered “lone soldiers,” who often spend a number of months there learning Hebrew and acclimatizing to their new country immediately after being drafted into the army.
Photos shared on social media show large black bed bugs, both dead and alive, in the rooms of soldiers, and animal feces on the floor. Photos also showed soldiers suffering from bed bug bites all over their bodies.
A dead bed bug at Michve Alon military base (Courtesy)
A dead bed bug at Michve Alon military base (Courtesy)
Soldiers at the base were granted an extended weekend at home so that commanders could clean the rooms, however, they said the situation had only deteriorated upon their return.
One soldier wrote on social media that the poor living conditions demonstrated a lack of respect for their service. Another said his apartment had now been infested with bed bugs after he took equipment home.
A soldier who had previously been stationed at the base wrote on Facebook that the infestation had “been there since anyone can remember.” An IDF veteran responded, saying when he served at the same base five years ago, he wore long sleeves when he slept and would tuck his pants into his socks in order to avoid being bitten by bed bugs.
Another former soldier said bedrooms would not be locked during weekends spent off base and they would return to base to find their rooms covered in cat feces.
The army, however, said the situation was “being handled.”
“The incident has been identified and is being handled,” an IDF spokesperson said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post, explaining that steps were being taken to ensure the situation was rectified.
“On that base, pesticides were sprayed and additional equipment was distributed to soldiers, [including] new mattresses, uniforms, sleeping bags and vests. In cases of need, appropriate medical treatment was given and soldiers were transferred to other sleeping quarters.”