Tourists rarely see IDF activities at the Dead Sea, but soldiers are on constant watch in the area for weapons smuggling from Jordan. "While people sit on the beaches, they are in front of the frontier with Jordan. Yet, you barely notice the military presence in this area,” says Cpl. Iris Morales.
The Dead Sea area is both a frontier and an international health resort, but although the border with Jordan is relatively peaceful, it poses great challenges to the IDF.
There have been several attempts to smuggle illegal weapons through the Dead Sea to Judea and Samaria, which includes the northern part of the Dead Sea from slightly north of Ein Gedi all the way to five miles south of Beit She’an.
The IDF last July intercepted a boat loaded with M-16 rifles. Men and women soldiers operate advanced technology systems to secure the border but do so behind the scenes. They watch discreetly and out of sight in order to avoid disrupting the calm enjoyed by visitors of the beaches and hotels on the shores.
The Dead Sea presents a unique natural solution of salts and minerals, which does not allow for wildlife to develop and be sustained as in other seas.
“The invisibility of our forces contributes to the sense of security for the tourists as well as the local residents," Morales said. “I’ve lived near the Dead Sea all my life. My familiarity with the land helps me keep its serenity.”