Mothers of soldiers march demanding a change in IDF’s debilitating rules of engagement

September 13, 2021 by TPS
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Dozens of mothers of IDF soldiers, IDF reservists and activists marched some 15 miles on Sunday to the Gaza border, demanding that the IDF change its rules of engagement in the wake of the death of IDF soldier Barel Shmueli.

The mothers during the march. (Im Tirtzu)

The “Mother’s March” was organized following testimonies from soldiers in Shmueli’s unit about the strict, and at times, debilitating engagement rules that prevented the soldiers from shooting the Gazan rioters who stormed the border barrier, one of whom shot Bareli at point-blank and killed him.

The marchers who came from around the country walked for nine hours from Ashdod to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai on the Gaza border and called on IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to ease the restrictions placed on IDF soldiers that prohibits them from firing at terrorists.

Two soldiers who served with Shmueli in an elite counter-terrorist unit explained in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 that the soldiers were not permitted to shoot without first receiving explicit authorization, even if they faced immediate danger.

“Even if you see someone holding a Molotov cocktail or a grenade…as long as you don’t receive permission from the battalion commander, brigade commander or whoever they designated, you cannot shoot,” a soldier identified as A. stated.

“I personally saw a situation in which a Molotov cocktail was thrown at soldiers in the battalion and burned their legs and they needed to run and roll around in the sand [to extinguish the fire]. There was a sniper from another battalion who said that he saw the incident but didn’t shoot because he didn’t receive authorization,” A. said.

The march, which concluded with a rally in which Barel Shmueli’s mother Nitza spoke, was co-organized by Im Tirtzu, the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, Torat Lehima, and the Association of Community Rabbis.

Tzofia Nahon, who initiated the march, said that “mothers and families of soldiers understand that with all the love and motivation in which the best of our youth are sent to the IDF, it’s our obligation to stand guard. Our soldiers are being abandoned in the face of the enemy.”

“Together with the family of Barel we are demanding of the Chief of Staff: immediately change the open-fire regulations,” she stated.

“IDF soldiers should be able to fire on terrorists without waiting for authorization, and without being subject to [judgment by] the jurists or brigade commanders. The battlefield is cruel and it would be better for a thousand mothers of terrorists to cry than one Israeli mother,” she added.

Shoshi, from Revava, a mother of five soldiers, said during the march: “I came here because Barel’s death touched me very much. We cannot [continue] with this frustration. We see so many such cases. We ask the chief of staff to change the engagement instructions. The boys do not go to the army because they feel like it but to protect the people of Israel. I call on all the people of Israel to shout the cry of Barel’s mother.”

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who also participated in the march, said that “the IDF needs to be attentive to the soldiers, and when soldiers relay that they are being prevented from defending themselves, we need to listen to them.”



One Response to “Mothers of soldiers march demanding a change in IDF’s debilitating rules of engagement”
  1. Dorothy Anne Stevens says:

    I don’t understand . The cry- which I totally agree with as a Christian lover of Israel – is that Israel has a right to defend itself. Does that not apply to the individual soldier who is defending his country, his comrades, family and land. Being very blunt are the commanders in fear of responses and retaliation from the enemy when the great I AM JHVH says FEAR NOT 365 times in the scriptures? I know I am ignorant of military matters but I HAD to comment

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