Soldiers' mothers demand: Change open-fire rules to protect our sons

Mothers of soldiers protest outside IDF headquarters, call to change open-fire regulations. ''Change the rules of engagement, or the next disaster is around the corner.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The 'Mothers' March'
The 'Mothers' March'
Liran Baroch

Dozens of mothers of IDF soldiers, reservists, and activists demonstrated on Sunday evening outside the IDF's Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, demanding that the IDF change its rules of engagement in the wake of the death of Border Police officer Barel Hadarya Shmueli.

The "Mothers' March" was organized following testimonies from soldiers in Shmueli's unit about the strict open-fire regulations that prevented the soldiers from shooting the Gazan rioters who rushed the border barrier, one of whom shot Bareli point-blank at short range.

Last month, the activists marched some 15 miles for nine hours from Ashdod to Kibbutz Yad Mordehai on the Gaza border, calling on IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to ease the restrictions placed on IDF soldiers preventing them from firing at terrorists.

"We are not ready to accept the equation that the lives of Hamas and its residents are superior to the lives of our soldiers," said Tzofia Nahon, who initiated the march. "We must change the rules of engagement because if we don't, the next disaster is around the corner."

The events were co-organized by Im Tirtzu, the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, Torat Lehima, the Wounded IDF Veterans Forum, and the Association of Community Rabbis.

In an interview with Channel 12, two soldiers who served with Shmueli in the elite Yasam counter-terrorist unit explained 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.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who also participated in the demonstration, said: "Anyone who has served in the army or has followed the situation on the ground understands the gravity of the situation. The rules of engagement are shackling our soldiers and Hamas is aware of it. The only way we will win is if we adopt a mindset of victory and enable our soldiers to properly defend themselves and the country."