IDF not thinking about an exit strategy from the coronavirus

Troops from closed bases will be allowed to return home Sunday for 3-4 days

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi visits Bnei Brak (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi visits Bnei Brak
The IDF is not considering an exit strategy but rather a long-term strategy to handle the coronavirus for the coming months, the military said Thursday.
“We understand that it’s going to be a long term event” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told reporters, adding that the military will likely need to reconsider the IDF’s role in the crisis as well as how it’s handling the virus internally.
The spokesman explained that while the army is planning for the long term, “I can’t tell you right now how long this new reality will last.”
As part of the plan, the IDF announced on Monday that it would begin to release combat troops and other soldiers serving on “closed bases” after keeping them on base for over a month in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among servicemembers.
The decision to release the troops on furloughs “in a gradual and monitored way” was proposed to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi by his deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir who is leading the military’s role in the crisis.
According to Zilberman, the troops will return home for 3-4 days and will return to operational duty in “capsule systems” for a week before interacting with other troops.
“We are doing a reset for the army,” he said. “The challenge isn’t the troops going home, but their return to base is a challenging logistical and medical operation.”
While the troops will not be entering any sort of quarantine after returning to base, but rather a week of being with only soldiers from their team so that if one soldier was infected with the virus at home there would be minimal infections on the base.
The 1,400 troops deployed alongside Israeli police enforcing the government regulations will also be replaced with a new group of soldiers.
The spokesperson also told reporters that the reservists serving in the Homefront Command who were called up as part of the crisis and are instrumental in the fight against the spread of the virus will also have to be replaced.
A total of 173 soldiers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and another 1,600 troops are in quarantine. Another 42 have fully recovered from the virus and have returned to their units or have been discharged from the military.
The military along with the Mossad meanwhile continues to work with the Health Ministry, Magen David Adom and government bodies to help with decision making regarding the crisis. Thousands of troops also continue to help deliver food and other essential products to the elderly and at-risk population- handing out over 2 million food packages across the country including in the Arab sector.
While the army has been working well alongside municipalities in the Arab sector, Zilberman said that the military was told not to deliver packages to specific homes and instead to bring it to them to deliver to the families in order to reduce possible friction.
The Homefront Command has also taken 1,600 Corona patients and another 600 in quarantine to 13 coronavirus facilities across the country, including entire families from the Ultra-Orthodox sector.