Eleven IDF soldiers serving with Kfir Brigade’s Duchifat Battalion were declared absent without leave (AWOL) on Wednesday night, after some failed to return to their base from a weekend leave and others deserted their post while on active duty.
The 11 are part of a forced deployed in Gush Etzion. They cited hazing, poor service conditioned – including lacking basics such as food – and personal financial hardship, adding that their complaints had been repeatedly ignored by their commanding officers.
The commanders’ deaf ear prompted the 11 to stage a “group desertion” in protest: Several soldiers left the post they were stationed in while on active duty, while their comrades failed to report for duty altogether.
Duchifat Battalion’s commander has been able to convince three of the soldiers to return to their base on Wednesday, and the other are expected to follow suit on Thursday.
Kfir Brigade Commander Colonel Udi Ben-Moha has been apprised of the case.
Military sources told Ynet that “soldiers going AWOL is unacceptable,” and more so when combatants who are deployed in the West Bank are involved; adding that “upon the soldiers’ return to base, the case will be reviewed further.”
While the 11 face disciplinary action, the sources stressed that their complaint will be investigated.