Hoping For the Best, Preparing For the Worst: IDF Faces Prospect of War in the North

Israel’s goal of peaceful co-existence with its surrounding neighbors has not prevented the IDF from taking the necessary steps to prepare for a potential war.

Tensions have been rising on Israel’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon over the past few weeks. On February 10, the IDF shot down an Iranian drone, which had entered Israeli airspace in a clear violation of Israel’s sovereignty.

In response to this escalated act of aggression by Iran, the IDF launched several attacks against targets in Iran and Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently visited the northern border, along with top security officials.

“Our face is turned toward peace, we are ready for any eventuality, and I don’t suggest anyone test us,” Netanyahu said following the visit.

Numerous IDF officials have been vocal about the high likelihood of an outbreak of war on Israel’s northern border, even within the year. This conflict will likely involve a number of neighboring rogue states, including Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

“The year 2018 has the potential for escalation, not necessarily because either side wants to initiate it, but because of a gradual deterioration,” Maj. Gen.Major General Nitzan Alon, head of IDF Operations, told Army Radio. “This has led us to raise the level of preparedness.”

Any conflict in the north of Israel between the IDF and Iran, Syria, and Lebanon will likely result in battles being fought on multiple fronts. Alon warned that if Israel engages with the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah terrorist organization in the north, “Iran won’t hold itself back in Gaza. It wants to pay for its interests on the northern border in Palestinian blood.”

This multi-front war situation will be felt across every branch of the military and every citizen of Israel, according to IDF officials. With this foresight, the citizens of Israel, and the IDF are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

“The officers and commanders of the IDF are responsible for providing its soldiers with military tactics and training while LIBI USA is responsible for providing the soldiers with welfare support, as well as social and financial assistance,” Dr. John A.I Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, said.

The month of February was spent by many IDF divisions and brigades participating in large-scale military exercises in northern Israel. The Galilee Division of the IDF underwent extensive training in preparation for a possible conflict with Hezbollah on the Lebanese border.

It is believed that the terrorist group Hezbollah possesses an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets, which have been financed and supplied by Iran.

“Conscripted soldiers, along with reservists, took part in the exercise. They practiced a rapid call up for reservists, as well as operation capabilities and readiness to fight in Lebanese terrain,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“We will continue to train and prepare to ensure the security of the residents in this region,” Col. Manny Liberty, Commander of the 769th Brigade, told Times of Israel.

Preparation for a war in 2018 dates back to September 2017, when tens of thousands of IDF troops participated in a 10-day mock-war against Hezbollah. This exercise called “the Light of the Grain” was the largest military exercise carried out in Israel in the last 20 years.

“Tens of thousands of IDF troops are gearing up for a war in the coming year. We are available to provide the soldiers with any support they may require while undergoing this trying training,” said Grossman. “We would like to minimize the stresses and concerns in their lives so that they can be fully focused on their military training.” he continued.

Added Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich, commander of the Aerial Defense Array:
“In the coming weeks, we will train together to face complex and challenging scenarios, which are relevant to the dynamic range of threats that we must be prepares to face.”

Tragedy Narrowly Averted: IDF Defuses Bomb on Gaza Fence

A tragedy was narrowly averted when IDF sappers neutralized an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been set on the border fence with Gaza almost three weeks ago by Palestinian rioters.

“Earlier this morning, IDF soldiers neutralized an IED on the security fence in southern Gaza. It was set up to harm IDF soldiers stationed near the fence,” an IDF spokesperson said.

Gazan media reported that IDF sappers used a controlled explosion to neutralize the device.

An additional IED placed at the same time exploded on February 17, injuring four IDF soldiers. The IED, hidden under a Palestinian flag, was set off by remote control when the soldiers attempted to remove it from the fence.

Two of the soldiers were seriously injured and two were moderately hurt. They were hit by shrapnel, sustaining wounds throughout their bodies, including their eyes, doctors said.

Immediately following the IED attack, an Israeli tank fired a shell at an observation post, in response to the attack, the army said.

Last Monday, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians warned Gazans that the army would respond more aggressively to riots along the security fence.“We know that the violent clashes on the border are used as a cover for terrorist activity, as happened last Saturday. And we will not allow such an event to happen again,” Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Palestinians in an Arabic video on social media.“Let it be clear: Beginning today, the IDF will take tough and determined action against rioters along the Strip’s border,” he said.

Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz is a senior writer for Breaking Israel News.

 

Setting The Way For Israel’s Christian-Arab Soldiers

Growing up in Kafr Yasif, a mixed Christian-Muslim Arab town in northern Israel, Samur Geris never imagined himself serving in the Israel Defense Forces. It was only when his best friend, a member of the Druze minority in the town, began his enrollment during their last year of high school, that the thought even crossed his mind.

At the time, Arab enlistment in the army, even Christian Arab, was almost unheard of, but Geris said to himself: “If I want to be considered an equal in society, I first have to behave as such.”

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