IDF begins patrolling Israel’s streets to enforce corona rules

Each soldier will operate paired with a police officer and will wear a badge with Israel’s flag on it. Only commanders will carry weapons.

By World Israel News Staff

As of noon Tuesday, approximately 600 IDF commanders and soldiers from training bases will start assisting the Israeli Police to implement the Ministry of Heath’s and the government’s restrictions among civilians by performing patrols, isolating and securing areas, blocking routes and more.

The relevant troops underwent dedicated preparations to operate in civilian environments, led by the IDF Ground Forces and the Behavioral Science Department in the Manpower Directorate.

The commanders and soldiers were introduced to the characteristics of the mission, the challenges it holds, analyzed possible scenarios and learned how to create common language and coordinate between multiple security forces. The operational protocols in civilian areas were clarified as well.

Each soldier will operate paired with a police officer and will wear a badge with Israel’s flag on it. Only commanders will carry weapons.

“The IDF will continue assisting in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus within civilian areas as necessary, while following the Ministry of Health’s instructions,” the Army said in a statement.

Lt. Col. Sivan Bloch, commander of the Golani Brigade training base, told his soldiers: “We trained you to fight against enemies in Lebanon, Syria, the Judea and Samaria area and Gaza. This time, you fight against a slightly different enemy- the coronavirus.

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“We must perform this mission with the highest quality and in the most professional way we can. This is our duty. You are now in a civilian environment, -Tiberias, Afula, Rosh Pina.

“You are about to assist police officers to perform their mission, and your presence enables us to enhance the number of police officers and by making sure that Israeli civilians follow the instructions. This is our part of the combat against the spread of coronavirus,” he said.

Lt. Col. Ido Saad, commander of the Border Protection Array training base, said: “Following significant preparations over the past few days, we are ready to perform the IDF’s most important mission – defending Israel’s citizens. We will continue to operate as necessary to restore the civilian routine in the country as fast and best as we possibly can.”

Rights groups in Israel and around the world are concerned as governments reduce citizens’ freedoms to combat the coronavirus.

On March 16, the government approved massive cellphone surveillance of Israel’s citizens in order to isolate possible and definite coronavirus victims more quickly in an effort to minimize its contagion.

On March 23, Israel’s Health Ministry launched a phone app that enables people to be informed instantly if they have unknowingly crossed paths with a coronavirus victim so that they can quarantine themselves.

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The ministry assured users that all the information about their whereabouts is stored solely on their phones. No information is given to the authorities about peoples’ movements; they are simply told that they have been near coronavirus victims and should go into self-isolation to ensure their health.