Rotem David

Interview with former observer, Yana Vanko

credit goes to idfspokesperson instagram - free to use

This Saturday, terrorists infiltrated Israel from Gaza and murdered 1200 innocent Israelis and kidnapped them. Many people question how it is possible that although, the security forces and intelligence field tools, terrorists still infiltrated Israel from Gaza. To answer that question I interviewed Yana Vanko, 20 years old former room operations commander from Ashklon.

What is the job of observers in the army and what did you do in your service?Observers are soldiers from the combat intelligence corps, who join shifts at operation rooms, each girl has a screen connected to a camera that records the border. The girls are responsible for defending the borders using systems and cameras.Once they recognise or have a suspicion, they inform the forces.I served for four months in an operation room in east Jerusalem and then as a room operations commander at the Jordan Valley.

From what you were told, what exactly happened?From the information I got on the news, there were a few failures during the infiltration. Hamas blew up the systems on the border and shot the cameras. In addition, since the holiday season and Shabbat, there weren’t enough soldiers at the base to take control while everything happened.

As a former room operations commander, how does this case make you feel?I still can’t believe it happened. It feels like an old story you tell soldiers to warn them. I remember in our training, our commanders told us an old story about the infiltration of terrorists from Gaza to a military base that ended up with two dead soldiers, but that was a long time ago when the system wasn’t developed enough. What happened right now is a million times worse. When we had a tour of the Gaza Strip, I saw the border and how everything is protected. I thought that no one could ever infiltrate.

Some of the girls in the operation room in the Gaza Strip were my friends from basic training, the operations officer and I were together at basic training, and now unfortunately she is dead.

As someone who went through training as an observer, do you think there were any failures at your training that impacted the case?Absolutely not! you are not qualified like soldiers in combat units or someone who physically can prevent infiltration. You are trained to know the system and how to operate it.

What would you like to wish the other girls at your job?This is a job with so much unit pride. there are many support group chats for girls who are observers. I want them to know that many girls who served in their positions are behind them and support them.

without us, there’s no army!

About the Author
By the age of 16, I created a project on social media called "Teens for Israel" to educate the younger generation on how to use their social media skills to improve Israel's image online. 2 years later I filed a position as a spokeswoman of a political youth headquarters, I manage a team of 30 ambitious teenagers and lead online social projects. In addition, I wrote columns for youth news websites about social issues in Israeli society and impacted youth with my articles by creating conversations about the topics I wrote about. Today I am a released IDF combat soldier who is soon to fly with a delegation to the USA to educate youth about Israel and is passionate about using media as a way to educate and raise awareness.
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