The Field Observers Unit: “Your Border is Our Border”

Last week, the IDF Field Observers Unit held a company exercise just outside of Jerusalem. The exercise included time in the command room, physical fitness tests, marksmanship perfection and observing through binoculars from high points into volatile areas.

During the exercise, the observers were perched on a hill with maps and special binoculars. Their assignment was to pick a position on the map and according to its coordinates, pinpoint it through the lens.

IDF Observer's Unit

Soldiers from the IDF Field Observer’s Unit during the exercise last week.

The observers unit, subordinate to the IDF Field Intelligence Corps, is comprised of only women. Before entering active duty, the young women endure three months of basic training, where they learn how to operate a firearm, apply first aid, operate communication tools, and get into physical shape.

After their training, the soldiers intimately learn the terrain they will be covering for the remainder of their service.

Observers must have a long attention span. They must constantly sit in front of a screen in the command room for four hour shifts and watch images fed from cameras on Israel’s borders.

When they spot something suspicious — such as potential terrorists, drug smugglers and other infiltrators – the observers call the IDF forces who are nearest to the trouble spot.

IDF Observer's Unit

Soldiers in the IDF Field Observer’s Unit during the exercise last week.

IDF forces sometimes come by the command room for a visit. Doing so gives them a better understanding for the territory that they patrol every day. The combat soldiers study the video images from the field.

Often, when the ground forces and observers meet, the girls in the command room who are on duty cannot look at the men since their eyes must be glued to the screen.

Being an observer in the IDF is a demanding, yet vital responsibility for the young women aged 18-20. The lives of Israeli citizens and soldiers are in their hands. Could you do it?

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