July 1st, the date set as the earliest Israel can move forward with their plan of annexing parts of the West Bank, is approaching and the country is heating up as the possibility moves closer to a reality. In particular, tensions between Israel and Hamas have escalated to the point where Hamas has resumed their practice of indiscriminate rocket fire towards civilian communities in southern Israel. In response, the IDF has struck Hamas infrastructure and underground operations, using aircraft and tanks along the Gaza border.
Hamas has further threatened that if Israel were to actually go ahead with the plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, they would view this as an act of aggression and would escalate their terror activities against Israel. The IDF for its part is preparing for all possible scenarios in an operation they are calling Dawn on the Hills.
As a second wave of COVID-19 begins to take hold of Israel, the IDF is planning to once again add restrictions to soldiers in order to prevent the disease from spreading in the ranks. Soldiers on base have been told to prepare for month-long stays on base, and soldiers on leave are forbidden from attending bars, movie theaters, and other places of mass gatherings.
This comes as news of more than 300 soldiers have been infected and close to two thousand soldiers are in quarantine has been recently reported. With Israel facing a potential second lockdown, it is unclear if the IDF will be deployed in a similar manner as the first wave. The IDF played a key role in distributing food and assisting with the basic needs of the citizens – especially those in hot zones, the elderly, and those at high risk.
On Thursday night, IDF soldier Sgt. Adiel Fishler was reported missing by his family, who were expecting him home that night. He had last been seen leaving base with his military-issued M-16. After a wide-scale search, he was discovered in a training area near the Shizafon Base in the Negev.
An investigation surrounding the circumstance of his death has been launched by the Military Police. This is routine in all cases involving noncombat deaths of military personal. The cause of death is as of yet unknown, but the possibility of it being terror-related has been ruled out.
Fishler’s funeral was attended by hundreds of soldiers, friends, and family as he was laid to rest at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time.
With the annexation of Judea and Samaria approaching, concerns have been increasingly raised about the potential wave of lone-wolf terror attacks it may bring. This makes sense – annexation is an incredibly sensitive issue for the Arab population, and on top of that, Israel is annexing the hotbed of lone-wolf terror activity in Israel. Since the beginning of the lone wolf terror phenomenon, the vast majority of the attacks took place in or immediately near the West Bank. So with the alarm bells ringing for Israel and the IDF, here’s what you need to know about them and how they can be stopped.
Lone Wolf attacks are generally considered to be completely unpredictable acts of terror, carried out by someone completely unaffiliated to any terror organization. Why are they so dangerous? Because of their lack of affiliation with a known terror organization, it’s close to impossible to gain intelligence on them. While Israel’s intelligence is focused on terror groups, and their activities including transfers of funds, weapons, and any other kind of movement – they can easily miss the one radicalized terrorist who plans his attack with a kitchen knife and no funding. That means they are for the most part unpredictable, and for a country whose strength lies in its intelligence, this can be a big issue.
There are those who argue that lone wolves really are not so alone, and there are ways to actually prevent these attacks. First of all, almost every one of these attacks can be traced back to incitement, usually by Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They did not randomly decide to attack Israel, they were provoked and prodded into it by known terror groups. Second of all, most of these terrorists are not very shy about their goals, many times announcing on social media their intentions to be a martyr or publicly spreading the views of the known terror organizations. According to studies, many of the attacks are carried out by younger and poorer Arabs, making them more susceptible to radicalism, and usually don’t have much to lose. And specifically because of their radicalism, they can be very loud essentially announcing themselves as suspects for the IDF to pay attention to.
Still, even with these signs, it can be difficult to differentiate those who are dangerous to those who are not. It leaves intelligence agencies with a large list of potential suspects to deal with. But it is encouraging to know that there is a way to track back, and if there’s an army anywhere in the world that knows how to think creatively to fight terror – it’s the IDF!
Everyone knows the popular video game “Call of Duty”, but did you know the IDF uses a very similar game to train their soldiers?
Last week, for the first time ever, the Givati Brigade participated in a new training program that uses a very advanced computer simulator to train soldiers for battle in all kinds of situations. According to Commander Alon Sharabi, the simulators are made to mimic hostile territories where the IDF could potentially find themselves in battle. This allows them to mentally prepare and understand the layout, and trains them on how to handle every unique situation that could appear in real time.
What makes this game even more interesting is how it combines the simulations with real training on the ground. At different junctures of the battle, the troops are taken out to specially constructed sites designed to mimic the structures that they may find themselves in. In the structures they also leave clues, similar to an escape room, that they can then take back to the computer simulators. This helps them learn how to obtain and understand knowledge from different kinds of clues that are left behind from their enemies.
While the computer generated the battlefield, one thing it did not simulate was the enemy. In fact, the Givati Brigade’s opponent was none other than the commander of the Shaked Special Forces unit! He made sure to make life as difficult as possible as he strategically set up his forces in the best way possible to slow the IDF. All along the way, he gave his feedback from the enemy perspective, which added invaluable knowledge and understanding for the soldiers.
While some may wonder about the effectiveness of a computer simulated battlefield, it has actually been scientifically proven that training the mind and envisioning how success looks is one of the most powerful tools for being successful in real time. By preparing their minds for specific scenarios, soldiers will be able to react quicker and more effectively when they need to.
The IDF is always finding new and innovative ways to train their soldiers ensuring the safety of their citizens and Israel’s strong borders. You can help when you support the soldiers through one of LIBI’s projects and lookout for the welfare of our troops!
The IDF is full of soldiers who are extremely dedicated and passionate about the State of Israel and protecting her borders. But there is perhaps no group as committed and courageous as the Lone Soldiers.
For most soldiers, there is a simple routine. Spend a week or two on base, and go home for the weekend to your family, community, and friends. These weekends are so important for the morale of the soldiers giving them a much-needed reprieve from the daily grind of being an IDF soldier. Lone Soldiers are soldiers who don’t have a family to go back to – some because they are new immigrants who came to Israel to fight for their nation, others who are orphans, or distanced from their families.
That means their weekends off are usually lonely and isolated, and the bulk of their free time is taken up with the chores and responsibilities of maintaining their home. This understandably doesn’t make for such a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend, and the mental toll can be crushing.
That’s why it is so important to stand behind these soldiers, and why American Friends of LIBI runs multiple programs to support them! Between the Lone Soldier Center, Lone Soldier Homes, and Organized Fun Day’s, LIBI makes sure that no Lone Soldier will ever be alone.