The IDF’s Golani Brigade has completed a week-long drill, simulating fighting against Hezbollah, just weeks after Israel’s military carried out the most extensive training exercises conducted by the Ground Forces’ 36th Armored Division.The drill took place in the northern part of the country as part of a series of exercises 36th Armor Division (Gaash formation) to improve its readiness for emergency and war.As part of the week-long drill the Golani Brigade was trained in infantry, armored and engineering battalions, and held including live-fire exercises by Golani Brigade fighters on Namer armored personnel carriers alongside tanks and artillery pieces.Soldiers trained both during the day and at night in complex, built-up areas. In addition, various combat methods and operational protocols were practiced, including a joint training exercise between the land forces and air force, the flow of intelligence to on-the-ground forces, and new capabilities that are currently being implemented.
Israel’s ground forces have been undergoing a major change with a combined fighting method of infantry, tanks and combat engineering in one unified force - the “Gideon Battlegroup” - a combat brigade with thousands of IDF soldiers.The new method, which is designed to make the ground forces more efficient and better suited to the types of fighting they might face against terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, will be implemented in the coming years.Israel’s defense establishment has stated that any outbreak of conflict on the northern border will not be confined to just Lebanon or Syria, but along the entire northern front. The IDF has been training in Israel’s Golan Heights for another war with Hezbollah which over the years has morphed into an army with more advanced weaponry and more mobile, large amounts of fighters which can be deployed quickly into enemy territory.Hezbollah was recently described by a senior officer in the Northern Command as "the strongest army in the Middle East after the IDF."According to one senior IDF officer, ground forces will need to be deployed to conquer enemy territory and destroy its weapons stores, especially rocket launchers, in order to minimize the number of missiles and rockets the enemy can fire. Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which called for disarmament of Hezbollah, for withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon, for the deployment of the Lebanese army and an enlarged UN force in the south.On Wednesday IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the exercise and met with the Head of the Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick, the Commander of the Ground Forces, Maj.-Gen Kobi Barak, and Brig.-Gen. Avi Gil, the commander of the 36th Division.Eisenkot expressed his appreciation to the soldiers of the Northern Command, saying that each exercise reflects part of the IDF's operational, physical and mental readiness. The Golani Brigade will mark 70 years of operational duty at a brigade rally which will be held in the northern city of Karmiel next Thursday.