Tze'elim military base
Tze'elim military baseIDF spokesperson

Reserve soldiers who arrived at the Tze'elim military camp in the past few weeks have registered complaints about a series of thefts perpetrated by local Bedouin.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, the soldiers said Bedouin disguised as IDF soldiers arrive in the area via tractors, steal soldiers' personal belongings, and escape. So far, security forces have not been able to put an end to the problem.

"They walk around here as if they own the place, dressed as soldiers and stealing our personal belongings worth thousands of shekels," one reserve soldier told Arutz Sheva, adding that this week, Bedouin climbed onto an IDF tank in front of the soldiers and pulled two soldiers'bags out of it.

"They know that we can't do anything to them, and no one can catch them when they flee because they ride on tractors," the soldier explained. "People come to do reserve duty and they end up suffering financial setbacks. It's not normal."

"We're not talking about stolen military equipment, which in itself is an embarrassing problem. We're talking about personal equipment belonging to the reservists themselves. These Bedouin just walk around the base's firing zone, and no one bothers them."

A recent notice sent to the soldier's entire company read, "Hello and good morning to all members of Company 8. Two days ago, local residents stole a personal bag from company member ****** while we were still training at the Tze'elim base. The bag contained his tefillin and personal belongings, worth a total of 5,000 NIS ($1423). This is a huge loss for him, and we cannot let him carry this load alone. We have therefore decided to raise the money together with you, as a sign of 'mutual responsibility.' Any money transferred to this account today will be transferred directly to his account tomorrow."

An IDF spokesperson responded, "The IDF works extensively to eliminate events such as these, and recently changed the 'open fire' rules to deal appropriately with thefts. These incidents are known to us, and have been reported to Israel Police. IDF police are investigating."

This is not the first time such incidents have occurred. In April, 2,000 IDF reservists petitioned IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot to prevent the theft of military equipment from IDF bases and training grounds in the Negev.

In June, the Regavim organization for legal use of Israel's lands reported that Bedouin were using IDF training zones in southern Israel to cultivate drugs.