The Four Mothers (Hebrew: ארבעת האמהות) was established shortly after the February 1997 crash of two IDF transport helicopters ferrying troops to Lebanon. Seventy-three soldiers died in the disaster. For the movement’s leaders – mothers of IDF soldiers serving in Lebanon (among them also mothers who had lost their sons in Lebanon) – the escalating price of remaining in Lebanon was one they were unwilling to pay.
Four Mothers launched the most aggressive campaign for a territorial withdrawal that Israel had ever seen.
It included protest rallies, public petitions to Israel’s prime ministers and Knesset members, distribution of information pamphlets, television appearances, seminars, campus lectures, and public conferences.
They protested the fact that the Israeli government, which had indicated its readiness to pull out of Lebanon in 1985, had done nothing in the intervening 12 years to return to within its international border and had allowed the occupation of Lebanon to continue. During this period hundreds of Israeli soldiers and untold Lebanese have been killed in this “silent war” which nobody in the government has been ready to acknowledge or to end.
The activates of the Movement created a real change: On May 24, 2000, the Israeli Defense Forces completed a unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon, ending a 22-year occupation.