TEL AVIV (Oct. 28)
Over half of an estimated 7,000 soldiers considered deserters — most of whom had failed to report for reserve duty when called up — have voluntarily turned themselves in at IDF depots by the time a two-week grace period was up.
Of the 4,000 surrendering deserters, 362 have already been sent to prison following trials, 350 are now awaiting trial, and others were fined. Some 250 were forgiven because of medical and other social reasons. The deserters who gave themselves up had apparently believed, when the appeal for them to surrender was first made by the authorities, that they would be pardoned if they turned themselves in during the two-week period. The IDF Command, denying they had promised the deserters amnesty, said they had merely indicated that soldiers found to be deserter after the two-week grace period ended would receive very heavy punishment.