Incoming deputy chief of staff treated as infiltrator at IDF base

"What do I need to do in order to enter? Do you want me to strip?" asked Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi.

Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi chosen as next Deputy Chief of Staff, November 2020. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi chosen as next Deputy Chief of Staff, November 2020.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Incoming deputy chief of staff and head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi was refused entry and treated as an infiltrator during a visit  to the Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel on Tuesday, according to Israeli media.
"What do I need to do in order to enter? Do you want me to strip?," said Halevi to a soldier on the security team at the base, according to KAN news.
Halevi was accompanied by a command operation officer with the rank of colonel and his secretary, another officer, and entered the base to board a helicopter that would bring him to a night exercise by the Givati Brigade in the Golan Heights, according to Ynet.
The commander arrived at the main gate to the base and presented his ID, but the two officers with him were not carrying their own. The soldiers securing the entry did not salute, contrary to procedure, and searched the vehicle twice.
After an argument ensued between the soldier and the commander, Halevi was allowed to pass through the gate, but the security team issued a "Patish Kar" (literally "Cold Hammer") alert which indicates a suspected infiltration.
All the gates were subsequently locked and Halevi was unable to pass through the second gate into the base, despite explaining that he had arrived for a drill.
He proceeded to enter the security room by the gate where a soldier requested that he "get out," to which Halevi responded, "I'll get out when you open the gate" and grabbed the communication device on the table and tried to contact the operations room at the base.
Halevi called the commander of the base and explained that he was the head of Southern Command, but the soldier at the gate still refused to open, questioning "How do I know that this is you?," according to KAN.
Eventually, the commander told the guard that he would open the gate himself if the soldier refused  - following the exchange the security officer arrived and opened the gate.
Meanwhile, another security officer arrived at the scene with a gun drawn and ran towards Halevi who told him to lower the weapon, or he would "tie [his] hands together."
After the close to 40-minute ordeal, the commander was finally let into the base, security sources told KAN. The sources called the incident "insolence and unnecessary clumsiness," stating that the commander arrived at the base after arranging the visit ahead of time.
The base commander apologized for the incident, according to Ynet. Similar incidents have occurred in the past with IDF officials being delayed at the entrances to bases for long periods.
KAN found that the soldiers acted exactly according to Air Force procedure and were concerned that they were being inspected to see if they followed the instructions not to allow visitors in without identification, "even if it's the chief of staff." Surprise inspections are routinely conducted on IDF bases to test soldiers and if the soldiers fail, they are punished.
Halevi reportedly did not make any allegations against the soldier who delayed him at the gate, but rather against the officer who came to handle the incident.
"The entry of the commander of the Southern Command into the Hatzerim Base on his way to a flight for an exercise in the Golan Heights, which was coordinated and approved in advance," said the IDF in response to the incident, according to KAN. "The soldiers at the gate refused to let him into the base, although he identified himself in several ways, and detained him for a long time, because there were other officers in the vehicle with him, some of whom did not carry identification cards.
"Last night, the commander of the Hatzerim Base presented the investigation to the commander of the Command and the necessary lessons were learned."