The IDF General Staff Operations Department has issued an urgent warning to all IDF units, including "immediate instructions to IDF units regarding the security of firearms in soldier's homes in light of warnings that soldiers may be targeted for burglary" and that "criminal elements intend to break into homes throughout Israel to steal firearms."
In the document, which reached Israel National News - Arutz Sheva, various instructions are given as to how to secure firearms, as well as instructions for commanders to "examine the necessity" for soldiers to leave their base with weapons.
The Torat Halehima organization reports that dozens of combat soldiers have complained to the organization that their officers have canceled all permits to leave base with their firearms, despite the recent spate of terrorist activity in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and other areas in the country.
"Every soldier must be able to protect both civilians and the state outside their base. That is what we are trained to do from our first day in uniform. If need be, we must also be ready to defend ourselves as well - people do target soldiers if they see one in uniform," said Yotam, a soldier in training in the IDF's ground forces.
His friend David added: "As a combat soldier who is currently in advanced training, it is obvious to me that every soldier on leave needs their gun with them. That is the whole purpose of a soldier - to protect Israel's civilians. We can't do that without weapons."
Eitan, another combat soldier who lives in Jerusalem, noted: "I went through combat training, marksmanship, and hand-to-hand instruction. I live in Jerusalem, where there are daily Arab riots, and am not allowed to take my weapon home with me. This is disgraceful."
Torat Halehima has presented this problem to a number of IDF officers over the course of the week, noting the ethical discrepancy between the IDF's decision to cancel weapons permits and the thefts carried out, according to the organization, "mainly by Bedouins and Arabs, with the intent of arming the Arabs' fifth column."
"In the face of an Arab enemy rearing its head throughout Israel, weapons are not the problem but the solution. The Israeli government, IDF, and the Israel Police display a worrying degree of inaction in this regard, allowing an uninhibited flow of arms to Arab cities," the organization commented. "It is for precisely that reason that soldiers must be allowed to take their weapons home on leave, and to protect themselves and those around them."
The IDF did not issue comment.