An IDF reservist company of the army's Central Command refused orders to take part in a division-wide drill Thursday, citing severe lack of equipment and maltreatment by the commanders.
Company C was called in for training at the Tze'elim military base in southern Israel. The division-wide drill is part of the new IDF training protocol, put in place as part of the Second Lebanon War's lessons.
The company, which is part of the IDF Central Command's 162 division, alerted the company commander to a severe lack of equipment, but their claims were allegedly ignored.
The company's refusal to take part in the drill put it at risk of being cancelled, but after some consideration by the IDF, the drill went on as planned – without Company C.
"We were very upset about they way we were treated and very frustrated by severe logistic deficiencies, but we didn't actively refuse an order," one of the reservists told Ynet.
The company commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Shmulik, told Ynet that the troops did approach him, "but as I explained to them, I was in the middle of preparations for a division-wide drill and I promised to sit down with them as soon as we get back."
Yigal Slovik, commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, said Thursday that he would be arriving at Tze'elim to meet with the soldiers.
Colonel Guy Tzur, head of the IDF's ground forces training center, has launched an inquiry into the incident.
"This incident shows that the military reserve units are still plagued by an array of logistical problems," an IDF source told Ynet.
"This event must be investigated thoroughly, but nevertheless – the IDF sees this incident as grave and irresponsible behavior on the soldiers' part… such actions by reserve soldiers are unacceptable."
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed the incident, adding "the matter is currently under investigation as a disciplinary incident and will be handled by the proper channels."
Meanwhile, news of Company C's insubordination caused a stir in the political establishment, as MK Zevulun Orlev (NPR) called it "a clear indication that the IDF learned nothing from the Second Lebanon War, when a serious shortage of supplies was uncovered."
Orlev, who heads the Knesset's State Control Committee, went on to say he intends to call an emergency session of the foreign affairs sub-committee to discuss the matter and that he will summon IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi
to the meeting.
MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad), who heads the Reservists' Lobby called the incident "grievous," adding that reserve soldiers are not allowed to refuse orders under any circumstances.