Army investigation reveals that soldiers were looking for an infiltration from Syria, not for Israelis going the other way.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
The Israel Defense Forces wants the young woman who crossed into Syria removed from the country, fearing she’ll try to do it again, Channel 11 reported on Monday. The woman had attempted to cross the northern border before and also made attempts to cross into the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli woman, 25, a resident of the predominantly Jewish ultra-Orthodox town of Modi’in Ilit, arrived at night on Feb. 1 in the Druze town of Majdal Shams, high in the Golan Heights near the Syrian Border, with the intention of crossing into Syria.
An IDF investigation into how the woman was able to cross the highly secured border with Syria revealed that the soldiers monitoring the border were trained to look for terrorists infiltrating into Israel but not Israelis sneaking into Syria, Channel 11 reported.
The IDF’s Northern Command revealed that the woman walked a hiking trail and climbed over the monitored fence at midnight after waiting and seeing that there were no army patrols in the area. Soldiers later spotted that there had been contact with the fence.
The IDF received a warning from the Syrians about a border crossing, which was passed on to IDF observers. They checked that there had been no intrusion from Syria into Israel.
It was only later that information arrived that the infiltrator’s direction was reversed and the crossing was into Syria.
The woman wandered into a nearby Syrian village where she was arrested. She was eventually released with help of Russian mediation in return for two Syrian prisoners and an agreement by Israel to provide coronavirus vaccines to Syria.
The investigators’ conclusions presented to the IDF command acknowledged that there are some dead zones that are not monitored, but the border guards did their job given the terrain conditions.
The investigation revealed that while some mistakes were made and the conduct of several soldiers had to be addressed, no disciplinary action was warranted. The report called on steps to be taken to ensure that such cases do not happen in the future.