Soldiers’ protests spark IDF policy changes on Egypt border

IDF brass shortens border guarding shifts from 12 to 8 hours, after Egyptian terrorist infiltrated into Israel and killed 3 Israeli soldiers.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Commanders of a unit guarding the Israel-Egypt border conceded to a number of operational changes after soldiers and their parents waged a lengthy protest against policies which they said endanger troops.

Earlier in June, three IDF soldiers were killed at the Israel-Egypt border by an Egyptian policeman who infiltrated into Israel, shot troops at a remote outpost, and remained inside Israeli territory for hours until being killed in a firefight.

Both currently serving soldiers and military analysts have said that an IDF policy, which requires that soldiers stand guard for 12 hours at the border, was a contributing factor among the numerous that facilitated the terrorist’s deadly rampage.

In a statement, a spokesman for the IDF said that the soldiers were now being assigned to eight hour shifts, shortened from twelve hours. Additionally, at a specific outpost, two troops will guard at night, where one soldier had previously guarded.

One guard post along the border will also be closed, reducing the number of sites at which soldiers will be required to guard for hours on end.

Noting that the terrorist had slipped through an emergency gate which was apparently only closed with zip-ties, rather than sensors or other advanced electronic means which could alert troops to the presence of an infiltrator, military analyst Tal Lev Ram noted that the onus for border security cannot be placed on the shoulders of two individual shoulders.

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“Two soldiers, who are standing in a static position, cannot be expected to [take on this responsibility] during an unreasonable and unbearable 12 hour shift,” Lev Ram wrote in Ma’ariv.

Lev Ram also questioned why, after soldiers repeatedly informed their commanders that the shifts were too long for them to remain focused and alert, no policy changes were made until the deadly shootings.

“The soldiers in the unit complained, rightly, to the commanders about the…length of the shifts and clearly pointed out the weak points, but that didn’t help either,” he wrote.

“To the question of why commanders, some of whom have extensive experience in the army, approve such problematic tasks, an explanation can probably be found in the multitude of challenges [stemming from] personnel limitations.”