To replenish food and supplies, the soldiers need to drive in a convoy out of the battlefield. At night, instead of sleeping in tents or rooms, the soldiers and commanders rest inside bunkers, trenches and tanks.
While this is ordinary for a military at war, it is not for one that is in the middle of standard training up on the Golan Heights.
But as part of the lessons learned from Operation Cast Lead, the 7th Armored Brigade has implemented a training regimen under which its units and soldiers need to pretend that they are in the middle of war while they are undergoing battalion-level training exercises.
Two weeks ago, the brigade completed four months of operations in the West Bank and along the border with Lebanon, and headed up to the Golan for six weeks of drills that will culminate in a brigade-level exercise in December.
Col. Yaakov Banjo, the commander of the brigade, which participated in Cast Lead, decided that the upcoming training period would be defined as a mock war, meaning that every movement, even the simplest, would require armored convoys.
"Soldiers are sleeping inside tanks and armored supply vehicles," an officer from the brigade said. "Instead of using our private cars to run errands and replenish supplies, we now have to drive out of the training field in armored convoys as if we were leaving Syria or Lebanon."
This is the first time that an IDF brigade has instituted such a policy during a training period. According to the officer, the reason was that during Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War soldiers found it difficult to sit and live inside tanks for extended periods.
"It is difficult to spend two or three weeks inside a tank in enemy territory like Gaza or Lebanon," the officer said. "It is tough physically since you need to always move so not to get bruises, and mentally since you are cooped up in the same small space for a long time."