Anticipating more powerful enemies, IDF has put training front and center

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has significantly stepped up the scope and frequency of its combat training, as sub-state jihadist enemies around the Jewish state build up their power.

Israeli soldiers participate in a drill simulating Infiltration of terrorists from Gaza, in Eshkol Regional Council, in the Southern part of Israel, December 6, 2016. Photo by Flash90

In the event of any future large-scale conflict—whether it be against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and possibly in Syria, where Hezbollah has a heavy presence; against Hamas in Gaza; or against other foes in other arenas—Israeli military planners believe they will need a ground offensive involving maneuvering divisions, in addition to the use of massive firepower against enemy targets.

Should Israeli military formations need to cross borders to engage enemies and extinguish rocket fire on the Israeli home front, they will have to deal with heavily armed guerrilla-terrorist forces—entrenched in the middle of built-up civilian areas—with access to tunnels, underground bunkers, anti-tank missiles, mortars, machine guns and mines.

At the end of February, the IDF’s Golani infantry brigade held a large war drill in the Golan Heights, marking the peak of its military winter training season. During the drill, units simulated war in a northern arena. They practiced storming a village, seizing an open hilly area, dealing with incoming artillery fire and moving around in the new-generation Israeli-produced Namer armored personnel carrier (APC). The Namer comes equipped with an active defense system, called Trophy, which intercepts missiles fired in its direction. This enables the vehicle to transport soldiers under heavy fire.

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