Parents of Israeli spotters threaten court action

Families of the mainly female surveillance soldiers have asked why their children are being placed so close to the fighting in Lebanon
Families of the mainly female surveillance soldiers have asked why their children are being placed so close to the fighting in Lebanon - THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

The parents of Israeli female spotters keeping lookout on the Lebanese border have threatened high court action if they are not moved to a safer location.

Intensifying cross-border fire between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has led to fears of an all-out war.

In a letter to the army, the families of surveillance soldiers stationed at the border have asked why their children are being placed so close to the fighting and whether there is an evacuation plan in place, according to the Times of Israel, citing a report by public broadcaster Kan.

The families fear their children are not equipped or trained to deal with the risks of being so close to hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, which have been ongoing since the October 7 attacks and spiked in recent weeks.

Hezbollah has launched thousands of rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosive drones over northern Israel over the past eight months. Israel has returned fire towards their bases.

Ten Israeli civilians and 15 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and reservists have been killed in the fighting while Hezbollah says 343 of its members have been killed by Israel in Lebanon and Syria. Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated on either side of the border.

The danger faced by IDF surveillance spotters, who are mainly female, was thrust into the spotlight when Hamas overran the southern border bases on Oct 7, killing unarmed military observers and kidnapping others.

In May the IDF released footage, with permission from the families, of chilling body-cam footage of five female surveillance spotters being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from their base in Nahal Oz.

In the three-minute clip released by the IDF, young women can be seen dishevelled and covered in blood next to the bodies of their companions. They are seen handcuffed and lined up against the wall before their captors threaten to kill and then bundle them into a jeep.

The video shocked the Israeli public.

‘We must act’

In recent weeks, parents of soldiers in the north have spoken out, saying their children are facing “daily danger to their lives, with anxieties and fears, burnout and fatigue, which impair their functioning”, reported Kan.

“My daughter asks why they are waiting to evacuate them. If a soldier asks such a question, we must act. They can do the work from anywhere, even from Tel Aviv,” Marganit Erez, one of the mothers, told the broadcaster.

An IDF spokesman said the forces were aware of the issue and “are at their disposal in order to provide them with the best ways to carry out their duties professionally while maintaining their safety”.

The clashes along the northern border and the increased use of more sophisticated weapons has triggered fears of a wider regional conflict.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah published a nine-minute 31-second-long video of what it claimed was footage gathered from its surveillance aircraft of locations in Israel, including the city of Haifa’s strategic air and sea ports. Any attack on Haifa would be seen as a serious escalation.

Amos Hochstein, a US envoy visiting Israel and Lebanon this week, said that Washington was seeking to avoid “a greater war”.