IDF counter-terrorism unit rebels after its commander replaced

The incident apparently began two weeks ago when a veteran sniper commander was removed from his position.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Eleven soldiers in the Eilat counter-terrorism unit were transferred from their positions and the sniper team was disbanded after refusing to accept a change in their team commander, Channel 12 reported Saturday.

The fighters objected to the replacement of their team commander after the the officer in charge of the unit decided to remove him from office due to what he defined as “problematic conduct.”

“All the fighters were summoned or will be summoned later for a personal conversation with the unit commander in order to make a decision on continuing their service,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Office confirmed in a statement.

The incident apparently began two weeks ago when the unit commander, identified only as Major A., decided to remove the veteran sniper commander from his position due to what the unit defined as behavior that was “problematic, does not follow instructions and does not receive authority.”

Major A. is on loan from the army to the special anti-terror unit with the task “to restore norms, competence and command,” the report said. According to sources familiar with the incident, the deposed sniper officer got his team to rebel against the newly elected commander appointed by A.

The fighters who were transferred from their position claimed that the new team commander was not suitable for the job after he identified what he said were command and safety problems with the unit, leading to a lack of trust with the men under his command.

Sources claimed that the team members, all reservists, violated guidelines and refused to give the new commander a chance and that the previous team commander acted behind the scenes against the new commander, resulting in damage to the operational atmosphere in the unit.

The Eilat anti-terror unit was established almost 20 years ago, and its role is to provide an initial response to terrorist incidents in the southern resort port city and surrounding sector. The fighters in the unit are all reservists who each do scores of reserve duty days a year in order to maintain a high level of competence in the areas of fighting terrorism, sniping and hostage situations.

“Following conduct that did not conform to the unit’s values, and the development of improper norms among the sniper team that led to the unit being hurt, it was decided to replace the team commander, and subsequently disband the team,” the IDF Spokesperson said.

“The Eilat anti-terror unit is an elite volunteer reserve unit, and the manpower that serves in it is of the highest quality. The unit appreciates the work of the reservists and thanks them for their service.”