In the face of a changing Middle East, the IDF held a set of war games this week
aimed at preparing the military for all-out war against Hezbollah, Syria and
The exercise did not include soldiers or live-fire exercises, but
was held to drill commanders and their decisions in the event of a large-scale
war on multiple fronts.
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The exercise was the first overseen by new Chief
of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz. It was organized by Maj.-Gen. Gershon
Hacohen, head of the IDF Colleges.
The IDF stressed that the drill was
part of the military’s routine exercise program and included all of its various
branches – ground, air and navy – with an emphasis on interoperability and
The scenarios simulated during the drill included
a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, sparked by a terrorist attack overseas as well
as the involvement of Syria, Hamas and Iran.
“The drill is part of our
need to retain a level of readiness,” Gantz said.
Defense Minister Ehud
Barak and members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee visited
the base where the exercise was held, even though the political echelon did not
play an active role in the war games.
Hacohen said the exercise was meant
to prepare the IDF for a future war in light of the recent changes in the
“The IDF is utilizing this opportunity to drill itself and to
formulate new understandings,” he said.
Meanwhile Thursday, Barak visited
the site of the Iron Dome
counter-rocket defense system outside of Beersheba,
vowing that Israel would deploy additional batteries in the coming years. Barak
decided last week to deploy the first battery, which is still undergoing
operational tests, outside Beersheba after 100 rockets and mortars hit Israel in
the recent round of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.
“This is not a
100-percent solution, and we still do not have it on all of our other fronts. It
will take us several more years before we are equipped with more batteries,”
The Iron Dome, developed by Rafael, constitutes the lower
tier of Israel’s multilayered missile defense architecture and will be
supplemented in a few years by David’s Sling, which is under development to
intercept medium-range rockets. For the upper tier, Israel already operates the
Arrow-2 and is currently developing the Arrow-3, which is slated to become
operational in 2015.