Macho Israeli commanders ignored female “spotters” who raised the alarm that Hamas was plotting a major terror attack ahead of Oct 7, a leading Israeli newspaper has revealed.
According to Haaretz, sexist male officers ignored warnings from the young surveillance soldiers, whose mission is to closely watch camera footage to spot potential threats.
In a separate report, the Financial Times also found that low-ranking soldiers had seen evidence of Hamas training in hostage-taking and sent the warning up the chain of command. No action was taken, sources told the newspaper.
The spotters tried to warn their bosses that they had seen ample evidence of Hamas planning a huge attack, including combat drills, drone flights and suspicious activity near the border fence. They observed Hamas operatives learning how to shell tanks.
But the warnings were reportedly ignored, apparently because of sexist attitudes in the army towards the spotter units, which are overwhelmingly staffed by female soldiers.
“[They are] young women and young women commanders,” one spotter interviewed by Haaretz, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “There’s no doubt that if men had been sitting at those screens, things would look different.”
One female spotter said they noticed that Hamas seemed to be conducting briefings and placing Nukhba units – Hamas special forces – near the border in the buildup to the attack.
They passed on that information to senior commanders, but it was not clear whether any further action was taken.
“We reported that it was a briefing by senior [Hamas] officials who we could not recognise. But until today, it’s not clear what [the IDF] did with that information,” said the spotter.
The Haaretz report also alleges that, on the morning of the Oct 7 massacre, Israeli security chiefs had some indications that an attack was imminent but did not share them with the spotters.
A spotter who gave her name as Yaara said about three hours notice would have been enough time to warn them of the attack. Instead, they were caught unaware by the onslaught and many spotters were massacred at their posts.
“Nobody thought to tell us,” she said. “The IDF left us like sitting ducks on a range. The fighters at least had weapons and died as heroes. The spotters who had been abandoned by the army were simply slaughtered, without any opportunity to defend themselves.”
Haaretz said it had also interviewed spotters a year ago for a story about their role, and even then the female soldiers had raised concerns that their intelligence reports were not taken seriously by their superiors.
The Telegraph approached the IDF for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
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