Seventeen soldiers from a Golani company abandoned the "Yisraeli" outpost at the summit of Mount Hermon on Wednesday. According to the soldiers, their actions were prompted by mistreatment by the company and platoon commanders.
All the soldiers were sentenced today by their company commander to prison terms ranging between a week and 21 days. The longer terms were received by those considered to be the ringleaders.
- Soldier seriously injured in training accident
The soldiers were arrested by Golani Brigade Commander Colonel Yaniv Asor, who ran into them at the Hermon tourist site. He managed to convince the soldiers to return to their post.
The IDF spokesman said: "The incident was investigated by the battalion commander who severely disapproved and ordered the soldiers be sentenced to prison terms.
"The soldiers returned to their post after a short while and expressed regret for their actions. At no stage was the operational capability of the outpost compromised. In the IDF, as is customary, all operational and administrative chores are divided equally among the soldiers. The IDF condemns any act of insubordination."
According to the soldiers, who serve in one of the veteran companies in the brigade, their supervising officers abused them over the course of the past few months and refused to bring new troops to the outpost, which forced them to perform many administrative chores such as cleaning and guard duty.
One of the soldiers told Ynet that the last straw was on Wednesday, when the company declared that soldiers chosen to go for squad commander training would not leave the platoon.
"This way we have no hope of improving our situation as combat soldiers who grind through a grueling three-year combat service, without rights, without promotions and maltreatment from officers. We just had enough," he said.
"We work around the clock in one of the harshest areas. It's unfair that we should be eroded like this."
Over the last decade several incidents occurred in the Golani Brigade in which soldiers abandoned their posts in protest of mistreatment.
In January 2003, 50 soldiers left the Tze'elim training facility claiming they did not receive their due rights. In April 2006 six soldiers abandoned their post in northern Israel in protest of the denial of their veteran benefits. In July 2007, 15 Golani soldiers abandoned their guard duty in an outpost in the Gaza Strip in protest of their service conditions.