Citing humiliating treatment by their commanders, 17 infantry soldiers mutinied and abandoned their post on Mount Hermon, near Israel’s border with Syria, on Wednesday night.
The soldiers, all members of the 12th Battalion of the Golani Brigade, were protesting the fact that their commanding officers weren’t dispatching new recruits to the base. They claimed that they were forced to carry out tasks that are often considered beneath experienced soldiers, including guard duty and cleaning.
Colonel Yaniv Asor, the commander of the Golani Brigade, came to the area and convinced the soldiers to return to their base.
On Thursday morning, the battalion commander sentenced the members of the group to between a week and 20 days of imprisonment.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement that the soldiers regretted their actions.
“The incident was investigated by the brigade commander, who considered it very grave, and instructed that the soldiers be given prison sentences,” the army’s statements said. “The soldiers returned to the position a short while later and expressed remorse for their actions. At no point was the IDF’s operational readiness at the position harmed. In the IDF, as is customary, all operational and administrative tasks are distributed equally among soldiers. The IDF categorically condemns every incidence of insubordination.”
It wasn’t the first time in the past year that IDF fighters abandoned their positions on Mount Hermon.
In May, five soldiers from an anti-aircraft unit abandoned their post at a remote guard tower on the mountain and surrendered their weapons to their commander, saying they feared they might turn them on themselves.
The five had been punished by being sent to the position, which was meant to be manned by only two soldiers, and left there for nine hours, at which point one of them began to lose his cool. His comrades abandoned the post and handed their rifles over to their commander; he returned them, but only after removing the firing pin from them. Those soldiers, likewise, complained of humiliating treatment from their platoon commander as well as a critical lack of sleep.
Sam Ser contributed to this report.