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(photo credit: IDF [file])
In their first test since the Second Lebanon War, IDF generals and political leaders gathered in the underground war bunker at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Monday to drill their performance and interaction in a war game simulating an all-out regional war.
While the IDF refused to reveal details of the war game, defense sources said all military commands were participating in the weeklong exercise that included war on all of Israel's fronts - Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. The drill not only is testing Israel's defensive posture in response to an Arab attack, but also simulates an Israeli offensive against Syria.
On Monday, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh simulated the political echelon during the first day of the war game and signed imaginary emergency call-up orders for reservists. Sneh sat in on security assessments with the General Staff and was brought operational plans for approval by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. The war games are being run by OC IDF Colleges Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz will play an active role in the exercise, marking the first time that the country's political leaders participate in the annual war game. In past years, political leaders have refrained from participating in the drill so as not to commit themselves to specific courses of action.
Defense officials said Olmert and Peretz's participation this year was due to the harsh conclusions of the interim Winograd report, which slammed the political echelon for failing to exercise judgment and draft a comprehensive plan before heading into war with Hizbullah.
Peretz said Monday that the IDF has learned its lessons from the Second Lebanon War and has made the necessary changes, some of which he called revolutionary.
"There is no doubt that every citizen feels today that there is a revolution occurring in the IDF," Peretz said during a speech at the Israeli Zionist Congress in Jerusalem. "There is more training today, higher-quality equipment and we are better prepared."