IDF Chief of Staff Gantz inspects military preparations.
(photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
Fearing a future war with Syria, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz held a
surprise drill inspection of two key military bases in the North on Sunday to
ensure that they will be able to continue operating in the event of significant
Commanders at the bases – one a critical ammunition
depot and the other a key maintenance base for IDF armored vehicles – were
surprised when Gantz and other senior officers arrived at the gates of their
bases to review operations there.
A senior IDF officer who participated
in the inspections said that they were aimed at ensuring the military’s
readiness for a wide range of scenarios including possible war with Syria as
well as additional border demonstrations like those held over the
“Our assumption is that both of these bases will come under
major missile fire in a future war and nevertheless, soldiers there will need to
know how to continue to operate,” the officer said.
The officer said that
commanders and soldiers at both bases had invested in digging trenches as well
as the construction of various reinforced structures throughout the bases that
could be used to protect soldiers.
Surprise inspections like those
conducted on Sunday have become Gantz’s trademark since he took up the post as
chief of staff in February 2011. On the eve of Yom Kippur in October, for
example, Gantz held a drill in the North during which he scrambled various units
to ensure that they could be quickly mobilized if a war erupted.
end of a visit to the Ramon Air Force Base a few months ago, in another example,
Gantz announced that the Syrian Air Force had infiltrated Israeli airspace and
was on its way to bomb targets in the South.
Gantz stood by, watching the
clock as fighter jets were mobilized and pilots suited up and jumped into their
He called off the surprise drill only after the jets were
already on the runway and about to take off.
Gantz has explained that the
objective of the drills is to help create a new mindset within the IDF according
to which Israel needs to be prepared for the possibility that war could erupt
without warning, particularly in light of the ongoing upheaval sweeping the
Meanwhile Sunday, the IDF was holding joint air and navy
maneuvers with the United States and Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. According
to reports in the Greek press, the drill was focusing on air-toair combat
scenarios as well as anti-submarine warfare. The drill is under the supervision
of the US’s Sixth Fleet.
The exercise, called Noble Dina, was first held
in 2011 and came to fill a void created after Turkey pulled out of joint
maneuvers it had held with Israel since 1998 after Ankara suspended military
cooperation with the IDF in 2010.
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