IDF's Givati Brigade holding large scale drill in Israel's Jordan Valley

Four-month long drill comes after troops stationed along Gaza Border.

Troops from the IDF's Givati Brigade during large-scale drill in Jordan Valley (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
Troops from the IDF's Givati Brigade during large-scale drill in Jordan Valley
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
With tensions high along Israel’s northern and southern borders, hundreds of soldiers from the IDF’s Givati infantry brigade are in the midst of a four-month long drill.
“Our enemies have the same purpose. They want to hurt us,” company commander of the 432nd Tzabar Infantry Battalion, Capt. Benya Har-Zahav told The Jerusalem Post during a break from the drill.
“The soldier in the field is up against the same sort of enemy which have the same purpose, though each one has different capabilities. We know the difference between the enemy in Gaza and in the north, and how we deal with them is different,” Har-Zahav said.
While most drills take place in the Golan Heights, this exercise is taking place in the Jordan Valley.
The IDF has significantly stepped up the scope and frequency of its combat training in order to improve it’s readiness. As part of the IDF’s five-year Gideon plan, the military has returned to 17 weeks of consecutive training, an increase from the 13 weeks soldiers trained for the past 15 years.
As part of the increased training program, the IDF is investing hundreds of millions of shekels in upgrading training facilities in the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley and Southern Israel, and adapting them to the challenges facing troops on the various fronts.
According to Har-Zahav, the soldiers are already feeling the benefits of the upgraded training facilities and new technology such as the advanced tablets being employed by company commanders in the current drill.
The troops are training for a variety of scenarios, including urban combat as well as in open spaces, alongside platforms from the Israel Air Force.
A week before the brigade drill, platoon-level exercises were held to test the troops’ ability to fight in densely populated and urban areas and the challenges of fighting in a civilian environment.
According to Har-Lev, the biggest challenge of the drill is to make sure troops never lose focus and always stay on target.
“To bring soldiers from one point to another point dozens of kilometers away, with several pounds on his back, and to make sure he is always aware and not losing his focus is a challenge,” he said, adding that all of the drills are done as realistically as possible.
Har-Zahav told the Post that while soldiers don’t feel any pressure due to the increased tensions along the border with Lebanon, troops know the threat is real.
“We don’t feel any pressure right now but the soldiers know what they have to deal with, that these are real challenges and not imaginary. The other side is never sleeping,” he said, adding, “We are always learning about the enemy, and we are challenging ourselves.”
As one of the first infantry brigades created with the establishment of Israel, the Givati brigade has participated in many conflicts. After Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the brigade was declared part of the Southern Command and is the main infantry brigade stationed in the Gaza Strip area. It’s reconnaissance battalion was honored in 2005 with a Medal of Distinguished Service for its work in Gaza.
“Even when we are stationed along the border with Gaza, we are always training for war and we are always ready,” Har-Zahav said. “The Tzabar battalion (of the Givati brigade) is ready at any moment to protect the border. We’ve done so in the past, and we will be in the future. We make sure our soldiers are ready for that.”