Erez Crossing near Gaza
Photo: Reuters

IDF needs new attitude

We never imagined IDF will evacuate troops from front while civilians stay there

One after the other we hear the shameful reports of the IDF evacuating new recruits and administrative soldiers from bases at the front lines. In some cases the army is completely deserting bases and leaving the area open for hostile takeover.


The latest reports had to do with the evacuation of administrative soldiers from the liaison office at the Erez Crossing and the decision to evacuate new recruits from the Zikim base. Earlier, we saw the IDF evacuate its based in northern Samaria, even though this was not required by the Disengagement Law. The army also deserted bases in the Jordan Rift Valley, while removing, among others, all new recruit bases from Judea and Samaria.


Each one of these shameful moves came against a specific backdrop, and came with a reason and a pile of excuses. At times it was about “diplomatic reasons” – evacuating territory in favor of the Arabs. On occasion it was about administrative reasons – transferring new recruit bases to more proper sites.


The worst excuses were the ones about “security” – the bases are situated in a hostile environment and transporting troops to them and from them entails a logistical and security burden as well as the need to designate soldiers for guarding the bases instead of performing other security missions.


Recently, we heard the most terrible excuses: New recruits and administrative soldiers are not designated to fight, and therefore they must be removed from any location that presents danger.


In any case, “when words are many, sin is not absent” (Proverbs 10:19) perfectly summarizes the ancient wisdom about knowing that even a pile of words and oceans of ink cannot blur reality. One step after another, the IDF is leaving, running away, and deserting bases while abandoning them to the Arabs.


The army leaves behind the civilians living in the area, at times closer to the front lines and less protected; women and children stay in locations that are too dangerous for soldiers. The IDF is moving its troops to some kind of vague “home front”. The tables have turned.


Shame covers our faces


We have changed a great deal since the days where we built outposts on the border and manned them with IDF troops, including “non-combat” girls,” in order to set the borderline and control it in practice. After all, there is no need for any IDF troops in Tel Aviv, at the General Staff Headquarters, or other such central locations. The IDF’s presence in those locations has to do with reasons of comfort and real estate and not with national security.


Yet the IDF is required to produce security. This is the reason for its existence. And security is not only premised on troops who risk their lives in the alleyways of Nablus and the outskirts of Gaza. Security is also the feeling that the presence of soldiers grants children in southern communities such as Netiv Ha’asara and Ashkelon.


Senior IDF commanders and the defense minister in charge of them fail to grasp what they are doing to our national morale. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was responsible for us running away from Lebanon in 2000 and for deserting Judea and Samaria bases at the start of the Intifada, is today in charge of an IDF that is evacuating troops from Erez and is planning to do so in Zikim. Barak will have to lead the IDF on a new path if he wishes to erase his unflattering nickname: “Ehud who ran away.”


Shame covers our face. We knew, and said so, that those who run away from the terror in Gaza will have terror chase them. Yet even we didn’t know that the IDF won’t stop its retreat and would run away from Erez and Zikim too. Even in our worst nightmares we never imagined a situation whereby the people are staying in Sderot, Nir Oz, and Ashkelon, while the IDF is evacuating its troops to a safer place.


Prof. Arieh Eldad is a Knesset member on behalf of National Union-NRP


פרסום ראשון: 06.17.08, 17:21
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