After Operation Pillar of Defense ended, reservists and soldiers filed complaints claiming that the IDF did not do enough to make sure that those who were exposed to rocket fire were sufficiently protected.
During the eight days of the operation, almost 60,000 reserve soldiers were mobilized, joining on duty soldiers. Two men, Corporal Yosef Partuk and reserve officer Lieutenant Boris Yarmulnik, were killed as a result of mortar attacks, and 41 other soldiers sustained injuries of various degrees.
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A reserve officer expressed his disappointment with the IDF's lack of preparation, stressing that in other areas, the units were more than prepared. "We had cutting edge helmets and new combat vests with our names on them waiting for us when we arrived," the officer said, "but when it came to the basics – like shielding the forces – that wasn’t taken care of.
"They moved half the army from south to north and vice versa, with thousands of vehicles, trucks and movers, but they couldn’t think of placing barricades, or concrete blocks in assembly areas and bases?" he charged.
The officer added: "We were the target of rocket fire, in some cases with no warning sirens, and it's a fact that even an officer who ran for cover and followed instructions took a hit because there was no sheltering. It's like they'd form a new town with tens of thousands of residents, without providing any type of fortified spaces."
As for protocol, another reservist who was drafted for the operation noted: "There was great confusion. At first they told us that we all have to hide inside the armored personnel carrier (in case there was a rocket alert), but then they changed the procedures and told us we just need to lie down on the ground. That made us truly fear for our lives."
In response, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated that "Operation Pillar of Defense ended with achieving the goals it set out to reach. Soon, the stage of investigations and drawing conclusions will begin."
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz addressed the issue on Sunday: "We will conduct inquiries; of course we have a lot to learn, and we intend to. We've invested billions in recent years in combat equipment, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have any mishaps here and there."
Speaking to Armored Corps recruits, the IDF Chief vowed that all soldiers and reservists' complaints will be addressed, referring specifically to those who called attention to the lack of protection in assembly areas and in bases. Nonetheless, Gantz added: "People at assembly areas need to be familiar with protocol and know how to conduct."
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