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 Hamas.

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 operational continuity.

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 region.

“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,” Barak said.


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.

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