Eyes on Lebanon: Inside the IDF’s Operations Room

Small group of female soldiers in IDF’s operations room is charged with managing response to infiltrations on Israel-Lebanon border.

Eyes on Lebanon (Archive: IDF/Creative Commons)

It usually starts with a brief news alert: Infiltration suspected on the Lebanon border. Forces and military vehicles are quickly mobilized to the scene. Soon after, locals on both sides of the fence report flares lighting up the night’s sky. At times, helicopters and fighter jets are called in.

Behind the scenes, a small cadre of female soldiers is charged with one of the IDF’s most critical missions: Overseeing the response to infiltrations on Israel’s border with Lebanon. These operations sergeants may be very young, but they shoulder a huge responsibility.

“They’re the ones who mobilize all forces to the scene and make sure that everyone’s alert,” an officer in the all-female unit told the IDF website. “If a sergeant gets the number of people who crossed the fence wrong, everything will fall apart.”

Hezbollah tests defenses

The sergeants staff the operations room 24 hours a day and receive information from the army’s entire surveillance network. When the border fence is triggered, they deploy forces to inspect the scene and counter potential attackers. They must stay alert while doing 12-hour shifts, alternating weekly between mornings and nights.

In case of infiltration, the operations room mobilizes more troops and coordinates their movements, synchronizes intelligence from all sources, and relays orders from senior commander to frontline forces.

As of late, the sergeants have been busy as border fence sensors have been triggered regularly. A key challenge is to remain vigilant despite repeated false alarms. The IDF also assumes that Hezbollah sends civilians to the fence to test Israel’s defenses and the army’s response time.

The IDF has been on alert for a Hezbollah attack for long months and continues to monitor the border closely. Meanwhile, Israel is setting up more barriers at the fence to make infiltration harder. While all is quiet for now, the Lebanon frontier could erupt without warning. The operations sergeants are watching.