IDF begins surprise two-day drill in the north

The large-scale military exercise will test military preparedness and operational abilities.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israeli army launched a large-scale military drill in the north Monday to test military preparedness in the region which it feels is facing the biggest threat to its security.

The drill is being conducted in the Jezreel Valley and Upper Galilee “to test the Northern Command’s preparedness and operational abilities,” said an IDF statement.

Thousands of soldiers are said to be participating in the two-day exercise, which will see ground troops, armored vehicles, and aircraft all working together.

Another aim of the exercise was to test how well the phone call-up to reservists worked in an “emergency,” so thousands of calls were made although only a minority actually had to leave for duty.

Residents in the north were told to be prepared to hear many jets flying overhead and to be ready to contend with extra military traffic on the roads, the army said.

Israel’s political and military leaders have stressed many times in recent months that they consider the northern border to have the most potential to catch fire. They point to Iran’s heavy involvement in Syria, with its Revolutionary Guards on the ground there, and Lebanon, through its Hizbollah proxy that sits in the government.

Among its many attempts to strike at the Jewish State, the Islamic Republic has tried to help its terrorist clients to turn their short-range rockets into precision missiles that could greatly endanger Israel if a conflict is touched off. Its continual threats to wipe out “the Zionist enemy” are taken very seriously in Jerusalem.

This is the second time in two months that the IDF has initiated a large-scale exercise in the north. In September, the Northern Command’s 36th Division and Golani Infantry Brigade simulated urban fighting in Lebanon, and practiced tunnel warfare and hunting down rocket launchers.

The IDF has not ignored the threat from the Gaza Strip in the south, a reminder of which was felt last week when hundreds of missiles were fired from the coastal enclave into Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In the other major surprise drill of 2019, in February, the IDF practiced, over the course of three days, the ability to move large numbers of troops to designated locations, and conducted live-fire drills in mock battles with terrorists that included air support.