A worrying course of events that occurred in the night between Monday and Tuesday luckily ended harmlessly.
A suspect, in an attempt to escape a police chase, broke into the Nevatim Air Force Base near Beersheba.
The suspect noticed that a gate was open and took advantage of the situation to infiltrate the base, driving at the speed of approximately 100 kph. He then abandoned the vehicle after its wheels were punctured by spikes and began escaping on foot.
The police car chasing the suspect was let inside the base right after him.
Police helicopters, scouts, the IAF defense unit and other forces were later sent to assist in the search as the suspect ran along the fence of the base.
According to an IAF initial investigation, after approximately eight minutes inside the base, the suspect managed to climb the 4.5-meter fence and escape. His headphones and pieces of his clothing were found on the barbed-wire fence, the IAF said.
Nevatim is considered to be one of the biggest IDF bases, and it is as big as a city.
It is home to families of Air Force personnel, and there are two F35 squadrons – the most advanced fighter jet in the IAF – operating from this base.
What would have happened if it was a terrorist?
During the entire event, there was no threat to either the IAF equipment or personnel and their families, the IDF said.
To get close to either, it would take about 20 minutes of running, it said.
The IDF said it would “study the incident and will learn the lessons it should learn.”
It seems like one of the major lessons it should learn is how to tighten its relations with the Israel Police.
The guards at the gate of Nevatim were not aware of the police chase, and such cooperation might have prevented or made it easier to end the incident.
There recently have been an increasing number of reports on infiltrations into IDF bases. In other incidents, ammunition and equipment have been stolen, according to reports.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz justifiably called the incident a “lack of governance.”
After stressing the importance of the cooperation between the army and the police, he said: “This phenomenon of breaking into [military bases] in the South is unacceptable, and we should figure out how to combat it.”
This lack of governance should be addressed as soon as possible.