Kfir battalion leaves W. Bank for Lebanon border

Move part of planned reshuffling of infantry forces; brigade has made most of IDF’s West Bank security arrests in recent years.

Kfir Brigade soldiers 370 (photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
Kfir Brigade soldiers 370
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
A battalion from the IDF’s Kfir infantry brigade has departed the West Bank to take up new positions along the Lebanese border shortly.
The move is part of a planned reshuffle of infantry forces, and points to the IDF’s growing reliance on a brigade that was originally set up to operate only in the West Bank.
The Shimshon Battalion – which until now had been tasked with anti-rioting and counter-terrorism missions in the Hebron area – will be taking on a very different mission in the North, where soldiers will be required to direct tanks, artillery units, and combat helicopters, its commander said.
“The northern border is very different from Hebron, and we are preparing ourselves [operationally] and mentally,” Brig.-Gen. Dotan Rubner said.
He said that “The situation will be very different from what we’ve been used to in the West Bank, where we could see the threat or enemy at any given time with our eyes, and this is what kept us sharp. Every night we carried out an arrest, and every day we embarked on an activity.” In the North, Rubner continued, the enemy will be less visible.
Freshly appointed commanders in the battalion have been receiving special training to ease their transition to the northern border, Rubner added.
“Our preparation [in the new front] began with patrols, training, and courses that are relevant to the North,” he said.
“I am completing our operations in Hebron with much satisfaction,” Rubner said.
The Kfir infantry brigade has made the majority of the army’s West Bank security arrests in recent years. But it is now expanding its area of activities to northern and southern fronts, including the Gaza border, the border with Egypt’s Sinai, the Golan Heights (where a battalion was sent during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012), and now, the Lebanese border.
Meanwhile, the IDF reported two instances of cross-border gunshots fired from Syria into the Israeli side of the Golan Heights overnight on Monday. There were no injuries in either incident The IDF believes the shots were not directed at Israel, and were fired during nearby battles between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to the Assad regime.