As temperatures hit a scorching 42 degrees (107 F), soldiers manning the anti-missile system in Eilat for the past 10 days are without air conditioning.
Soldier’s family: ‘Does no one in the IDF know about the mad heat wave?’.
By Yoav Zitun
Despite reports of the difficult conditions that IDF Iron Dome soldiers are subjected to, commanders decided to house soldiers of the Eilat Iron Dome battery, which was deployed there only 10 days ago, in tents and not air-conditioned accommodation. Upon a Ynet query, the military said that the issue will be resolved within the next 24 hours.
The battery deployed in Eilat is meant to protect the city from rockets fired from Sinai. The battery arrived with weapons, launchers, radar and logistics equipment, but without transportable structures to accommodate the soldiers.
Consequently, with sweltering heat hitting 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) in the shade, the soldiers are forced to sleep in tents that were set up in the field.
Following an inquiry by Ynet, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that following the situation assessment and preparations for a long-term deployment, it was decided to bring portable air-conditioned accommodations for the benefit of the soldiers within the next 24 hours.
The army further claimed that it was decided against bringing portable structures as commanders did not know how long the battery would be needed in the area. The IDF decided that the cost of transportation of the structures to Eilat was “too expensive”.
A relative of one of the soldiers said that “they invest so much money in the technology (of the Iron Dome), they provide the Air Force with virtually unlimited resources, particularly compared to other branches in the army, and yet Iron Dome soldiers are still treated as second-rate.”
The relative further added that “(the soldiers) are already used to difficult field conditions, without proper plumbing and showers. But why should they wait even one day for their air-conditioned accommodation? The IDF chief of staff and defense minister were there recently, does no one in the IDF know of the mad heat wave in Eilat right now? Why wait? The heat at night is unbearable and they can’t sleep. How can they stay alert? Do soldiers in the Egyptian or Lebanese border, or in the West Bank, have such conditions?”
The IDF’s official response stated that “immediately after the deployment was made permanent, all necessary measures were established. All required preparations will conclude by Wednesday evening.”
A military source added that “Iron Dome batteries are installed in different sites across the country in accordance with the situation assessments. The commanders are in the field with the fighters and care for the logistic aspects.”
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4411485,00.html