IDF’s Low-Tech Solution to Protect Weapons: Moats and Ditches

IDF soldiers take part in a training drill at the Baf Lachish army base in southern Israel. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90, File)

For months, the IDF has been seeking a way to stem the endless series of weapons theft from bases, and among the solutions it is adopting is the digging of moats and ditches around bases, the 0404 news site reported. According to the report, the first ditch around a base has been dug, and the results are encouraging enough for the IDF to expand the program.

The latest round of concern over the long-standing problem probably was set off by a major theft from a weapons storage facility at the Sde Teiman IDF base in southern Israel. Officials said that the group broke into the weapons warehouse and loaded dozens of weapons onto their truck, which was parked near the warehouse. After several days on the job, when their presence was no longer seen by soldiers as out of the ordinary, the group began veering off their regular schedule and entered areas of the base where they were not authorized to go. When they realized no one was watching them, they began stealing the weapons.

The gang sold the weapons to criminal groups, security officials said. Police found some of the weapons in the possession of criminals and traced them back to the base. The gang earned hundreds of thousands of shekels from their theft, police said. Six people were arrested in connection with the case, it was revealed Monday. According to officials, the suspects were outside civilian workers employed at the base, undertaking a painting and fix-up project.

Among the solutions the IDF has decided upon is to beef up security around bases and weapons warehouses, using video, sensors, and alarms to ensure safety. Access to the storehouses will be granted only to authorized personnel, with biometrics likely to be used to identify and authenticate those who are allowed to have access to the facilities. Other advanced technologies, including big data and computer analysis, will be used to discover weak points where thefts are more likely to occur.

However, low-tech can come in very handy to solve this problem as well, IDF officials believe. The first ditch has been built around the Ketziot base in southern Israel, the report said, and work will soon begin on a ditch around the Tze’elim base. The ditches, which are several meters deep, will prevent thieves from ramming through fences around bases in order to get inside and steal weapons, as has occurred many times in the past. While the solution is not foolproof, it is likely to make stealing much more difficult, the report quoted army officials as saying.

In a statement, the IDF spokesperson said that “we have begun to dig ditches around IDF bases and exercise areas as a way to improve security.”

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