Sexism enabled Hamas attack – Haaretz
The deadly Hamas attack on Israel could have been prevented if an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unit made up of women and tasked with monitoring Gaza had been listened to, an unnamed soldier has told the newspaper Haaretz. She cited sexism as the reason for the lack of attention paid to their reports.
In an article published on Friday, the women, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed they had repeatedly alerted their superiors of recent activity by the Palestinian militant group.
According to the outlet, female surveillance troops said months before the incursion that something unusual was about to happen. They reportedly saw militants briefing near the border fence, training to hit tanks and disable cameras, and increased drone activity in the area.
“It’s a unit made up entirely of young girls and young female commanders,” one interviewed soldier told the outlet. “There is no doubt that if there were men sitting at those screens, things would look different.”
The women said that on the day of the Hamas raid, “no one told us there was such a high level of vigilance,” referring to claims by senior security officials that they had warned of possible infiltration into border communities.
According to one soldier, three or even two hours would have allowed them to prepare. “The IDF left us like sitting ducks” she said, noting that combat troops “at least had weapons and were killed like heroes” while the female observers “were abandoned by the army and simply slaughtered without having any chance to defend themselves.”
In late October, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he had been warned of Hamas’ intentions “under no circumstances and at no stage.” He apologized and deleted the statement shortly after a wave of criticism from Israeli officials and politicians.
The New York Times has reported that both Netanyahu and top Israeli security officials underestimated the threat from Hamas and did not devote the resources necessary to counter it, in the belief that Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah posed a greater danger.
Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 and taking about 240 people hostage, according to Israeli officials. In response, Netanyahu declared the country to be at war, and the IDF launched massive air strikes and a ground operation in Gaza. Palestinian officials say the death toll on their side has exceed 13,000, with most casualties being children and women.