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Home » Soldiers »

Testimony - "Israel made its presence felt"


Name: Anonymous
Rank: Sergeant First Class
Unit: Reserves 455 Armored Corps
Location: Hebron 
Date: 2013

An Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence in which he describes how the army "made its presence felt" in a small Bedouin community. 

Every day at four o’clock, the alert team was taken out for an 'initiation’ (an operation initiated by the military). You pick out some area, you go by foot. Sometimes during the 'initiation’ you run into the innocent Bedouin population, and that’s where the dramas start.

One of the stories I remember most was this one time we arrived at some Bedouin tent that was really out in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of some wadi (A small valley), and inside the tent there was a woman with two children, a little boy and a girl who was about 12. When we got there, the little boy, who it seemed had never seen soldiers before in his life, because where he was living was so far out, got really scared and ran down into the valley, crying, screaming, and then his sister ran out after him, to calm him down.

The mother didn’t understand why her kids had started running screaming into the wadi, so she ran after them too. Now, if an adult starts running toward you, you get scared too and immediately aim your weapon at them and arrest them. And this was the picture at that moment: I suddenly found myself aiming a weapon at some mother, arresting her, and she was screaming too, she put her hands up, her kids were running into the wadi, crying, screaming – drama. Somehow the [boy’s] sister managed to control her little brother and hid in the wadi with him. [We had a look at the] mother’s ID card, searched the tent, walked around a little bit and took off.

What saddened me about it was that they live in these squalid caves, and out of nowhere these soldiers arrive, with uniforms and weapons and bulletproof vests, kids start screaming, arrests, IDs. Well, Israel made its presence felt and we all know that’s what’s important.