IDF launches massive 3-day drill, calls up thousands of reservists

Exercise will test military's ability to transition to emergency mode; Hundreds of thousands of reservists will receive telephone message.

IDF soldiers in the Paratrooper Brigades take part in an evacuation drill (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF soldiers in the Paratrooper Brigades take part in an evacuation drill
The IDF General Staff launched a large-scale, threeday drill on Monday, testing the military’s ability to rapidly transition itself from routine activities to an emergency war footing.
Over the course of the drill, hundreds of thousands of IDF reservists will receive mock telephone messages asking them to confirm that the call-up system works, and thousands of reservists will be physically called up to bases at short notice.
“This is one of the largest reservist telephone call-ups we’ve had in an exercise,” a senior military source said.
“We want to ensure that the system is well-oiled and working.”
The IDF’s Northern and Southern territorial commands will drill response to attacks from Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.
“This is part of the planned graph of exercises for this year,” the source stressed. “It is part of our activities linked to working on our readiness.”
During the call up, the Israel Air Force will place its air bases in emergency mode, and practice rapidly translating intelligence data into air strikes.
The Israel Navy also will take part, testing its infrastructure.
“For the first time, cyber defenses will be a part of a General Staff exercise,” the source said.
The IDF’s Southern Command will seek to apply lessons learned from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, and hold exercises responding to mock rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
The IDF’s Operations Branch will practice coordinating various emergency maneuvers across the country, and the Home Front Command’s search and rescue battalions will hold a number of drills, including one held at a mock disaster site in Holon on Monday.
Civilians can expect to see an increase in military traffic around schools in a number of cities, including Beit Shemesh and Herzliya, and around Herzliya’s Shivat Kohavim shopping mall, Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, and the Tel Aviv Municipality during the three-day period.
Maj. (res.) Dudi Mizrahi, commander of a national Home Front Command search and rescue unit, said soldiers had been quickly mobilized to a site simulating many casualties and wide-spread destruction caused by a missile strike, with trapped civilians among the rubble.
“We are simulating readiness and immediate mobilization, to maintain our operational capabilities so that in a real situation we will function in the best way possible to save lives,” Mizrahi said.
Lt.-Col. Hai Rekah, commander of the Home Front Command’s Tavor Battalion, said units were mobilized to various mock destruction sites as part of the drill on Monday.
“The battalion’s goal is to operate in these situations as rapidly and efficiently as possible,” he said.