Photo Credit: Regavim movement
Bedouin weed greenhouse on IDF base

The desert fire zones of the IDF Tze’elim base have become safe shelters for Bedouin weed growers, according to a Channel 2 News report Wednesday night, based on a long investigation by the Regavim movement. The report included rare photographs showing the method of growing thousands of marijuana plants in the heart of the firing zones, and the way the plants are smuggled away for sale.


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Video credit: Regavim movement

The Tze’elim base, one of the IDF’s most important training bases, has been in the news in recent years, in light of the rash of thefts by Bedouin criminals who ride their ATVs unmolested during fire exercises and steal ammunition and military equipment.

But now, it turns out, the desert soil in the midst of tank shelling, range firing and navigational tracking, is also home to thousands of marijuana plants belonging to Bedouin criminals in a large number of greenhouses.

Bedouin weed greenhouse on IDF base / Photo credit: Regavim movement
Bedouin weed greenhouse on IDF base / Photo credit: Regavim movement

The criminals take advantage of the fact that the firing zones are closed to civilians, and erect temporary greenhouses in hidden corners of the firing zones. Every greenhouse hosts hundreds of marijuana plants, covered with cloth in desert camouflage. Water and fertilizer tanks are brought to the site, and the rest is left to the sunlight and the heat. Estimates are that the street value of the weed in each greenhouse is $250,000, making the annual turnover of all the greenhouses in the tens of millions.


Video credit: Regavim movement

The footage from a hidden security camera installed next to one of the greenhouses shows the criminals arriving on tractors and jeeps and loading the plants into the vehicles for hours on end.

“For years we have documented and warned of the Bedouin criminals who steal ammunition and military equipment unhindered, but now it turns out that this is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Amichai Yogev, director of the southern district of the Regavim movement.

Bedouin weed greenhouse on IDF base / Photo credit: Regavim movement
Bedouin weed greenhouse on IDF base / Photo credit: Regavim movement

“The IDF and the legal authorities have preferred not to deal effectively with the invasion of the firing zones, and have not acted decisively against the criminals who behave as if they own the place,” Yogev added. “This has led to the loss of sovereignty in the region and the reality of a state within a state. A huge drug industry is growing undisturbed under the nose of the IDF and the police … If we do not want to lose the Negev, the State of Israel must return here at full force.”

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