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Israel ghost unit for upcoming war with Hezbollah – Israel News




The northern Israeli Arab city of Kabul in Western Galilee had not tried a military exercise for decades. Police were skeptical when the Israeli army sought to hold part of an extensive General Staff exercise this week in the city.

You will be lucky if you are not stoned there, police told the army, but in fact, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the reception the city gave to the army was nothing of the sort. Arab mayors have worked side by side with uniformed officers of the Israel Defense Forces on a daily basis to protect community residents. And the effective business spirit, which has prevailed in contacts with the commands of the Internal Front of the armies, even pervaded the war simulation exercises.

As in previous exercises in recent years, the simulation presented a scenario involving the outbreak of a military confrontation with the movement of the Shiite Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon. The ridge of the hills near Kabul represented Israeli territory while the Hilazon stream represented the Lebanese border. In the simulation, the villages north of it were ahead, where Hezbollah deployed its elite Radwan units. According to the scenario, the war results from a series of discrete events that escalate rapidly from a limited round of fighting to a comprehensive confrontation, with implications for Syria and the Gaza Strip as well.

Hezbollah sends commando forces to Israeli communities near the border as it launches rockets and missiles inland. The Israeli army is tasked with halting the offensive while at the same time launching attacks across Lebanon and sending ground forces north to Lebanese territory.

The battle turns to initiative and time: which side gets the brakes and how fast they operate. Some of the airstrikes simulate airstrikes on Israeli territory near Israeli army units, aimed at forcing Radwan fighters from the feet they captured.

But the key to IDFs’ success in training is measured by their attacking abilities. In that outcome, the goal of Israeli forces is to uncover Hezbollah infrastructure and personnel scattered around a dense urban environment, hitting them and putting them out of action. An extraordinary network of intelligence, aircraft, spoters and cyber technology units has been used for this purpose. Some of these skills are already in the hands of units that conduct ground maneuvers.

The name of the exercise, Lethal Arrow, was a poor choice that sounds more like a nap for the Egyptian military under President Nasser. But the ideas that guide it are more advanced. In a video produced in August for the commanders, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi spoke of a war that could break out. It almost always comes as a surprise, he warned. Prepare as if it were going to happen tomorrow. The biggest illusion is that it would be a long road.

Estimates of disasters in practice this time seemed more realistic than in the past. They included hundreds killed and thousands injured in rocket attacks on civilian areas, in addition to a substantial price paid by the military in ground operations.

In the previous hours on Tuesday in Kabul, the multidimensional ghost unit of the Refaim unit in English Kochavis eye apple, came into action. It is an project which, if successful in integrating different technologies and resources in support of ground maneuvering, is planned to be replicated in other IDF units. At this point, rapid progress is reported, but it is not yet clear how quickly these capabilities can be passed between ranking battalions.

Unlike the exercises a decade ago or so, the IDF no longer recruits former politicians to play the role of political figures. True Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both took care to visit the exercise this week and took the opportunity to give warnings to Hezbollah.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, June 2020.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, June 2020.Credit: IDF Spokjesperson Unit

The next military confrontation will be decided not only by the confrontation on the ground, but also by what is said in the telephone conversations between Jerusalem and Washington and, perhaps mainly, the calls to Moscow. Participants at the General Staff level had to address those developments in the exercise as well.

Should action be taken against weapons that will be involved in the fighting but are in Syria? How would Russia respond? Would Moscow demand an immediate ceasefire? Another intelligence-related question involves Hezbollah’s full willingness to fight, given the economic and political crisis in Lebanon, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the August outbreak in the port of Beirut.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the Israeli military to significantly reduce reservist training this year, but Kochavi insisted on conducting this exercise, which involved thousands of reservists. He argued, and rightly so, that removing it would undermine the readiness for war.

Along with operational outcomes, Lethal Arrow is likely to be estimated by the number of participants who fall ill during exercise, especially when it comes to reservists, who face greater health and economic risks than 20-year-olds.

A brigade commander who attended the exercise told Haaretz that the rate of infection in his unit in recent months was about 20 new cases a week. The main problem relates to those who are in quarantine because any soldier who identifies as a carrier puts other soldiers in his platoon out of action, he said. All those who are ill have been in very good condition. When the reservists joined the exercise, they were very timid and we made adjustments to reduce the risk.

The second recent coronavirus outbreak across the country isolated the military after soldiers in combat units were denied enterprises for a considerable number of weeks. We currently learned about their mental resilience from this, said the commanding officer. It’s an accepted complaint that this generation has broken down, but people were isolated at the base for six or seven weeks without ever shaking.

With the vast majority of combat troops being so young, the coronavirus seems to be a secondary concern. If and when a war would break out, the strict separation required by health regulations would be abandoned and the military would focus on what was important. If required, the soldiers coughed and continued fighting.

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