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Soldiers who were drafted into the IDF this week will begin a newly-formulated training regimen that introduces in-depth classes on the Syrian military as well as shorter marches with heavier loads.
On Sunday, the IDF began its summer draft with the enlistment of soldiers into the Golani Brigade. The draft will end on Thursday as recruits are enlisted into the Paratrooper's Brigade.
According to Lt.-Col. Itzik Bar, commander of the Paratrooper's Brigade training base, following the Second Lebanon War, the IDF reevaluated its training regime for infantry units and decided to change the way soldiers trained so they would be better prepared for a future conflict.
"The war emphasized the need to change what we do and to make it more applicable to the different fronts and threats we face," Bar, who was a member of the IDF team that formulated the new regimen, told The Jerusalem Post this week.
"The past few years of intense operations in the West Bank eroded our capabilities, and today we're working to find a balance between the need to continue with our operations in the territories and to be prepared for an escalation in the North," he said.
Bar said that one lesson from the war was the need to better familiarize troops with the enemy - its weaponry and soldiers. "The recent war uncovered new information about the enemy and this is being emphasized," Bar said, adding that soldiers in the Paratrooper's Brigade are given lessons on the Syrian military and its tank and commando units.
"The soldier today is more familiar with the material," he said. "We get to know our enemies better through training in the North in terrain that resembles Syria and Lebanon."
Another change is to the traditional Paratrooper's Brigade Beret March. For several years, the march was 90 kilometers long (it was more than 100 kilometers in length until the early '90s), but since last summer's war, it has been cut down to 50 km. - 15 of which, however, will be while carrying "wounded" on stretchers. The march ends with a ceremony in which the soldiers receive their red Paratrooper berets.
"After the war, we checked the terrain, weights and distances and found that a soldier needed to learn to walk shorter distances but with more difficult loads," Bar said. "Soldiers need to learn to walk not on paved roads, but in the field and up and down hills."