IDF cancels all ground exercises amid crushing heat wave
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IDF cancels all ground exercises amid crushing heat wave

Tryouts for Paratroopers Brigade and pilot’s course to be held, but under strict safety guidelines, military says

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative. Soldiers climb a rope on the Israeli Navy's Haifa Base on June 19, 2013. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative. Soldiers climb a rope on the Israeli Navy's Haifa Base on June 19, 2013. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday night canceled all ground exercises through Tuesday in light of the risks posed by a heat wave sweeping through the country, with temperatures predicted to exceed 45°C (113°F) in parts of the country.

The military initially planned to allow exercises, with some safety precautions, but the head of IDF Ground Forces Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick decided to fully cancel all of them in light of fresh forecasts late Saturday night.

The IDF said any exceptions to this will only be granted by Strick, not by any lower-ranking officers.

Troops would still be able to train in gun ranges if they were in “cooled areas,” the army said.

Despite canceling exercises, the military decided to still hold two tryouts planned for this week, though it said they would be held under different, safer conditions.

“The tryout for the Paratroopers Brigade that was scheduled to be held from [Sunday] to Wednesday will be held under strict guidelines, specifically remaining inside cooled and air-conditioned areas,” the military said.

“The tryout for the pilot’s course that was scheduled to be held from [Sunday] to Wednesday will be held under strict guidelines,” the IDF said.

Temperatures were expected to rise and could reach 46°C (114.8°F) in some parts of Israel in the coming days.

The Health Ministry has issued a warning to the elderly and people with health conditions, instructing them to stay indoors, avoid unnecessary physical exertion and drink plenty of fluids as temperatures rise.

Temperatures were projected to reach up to 41°C (105°F) in Afula and Beersheba, 43°C (109°F) in Beit She’an, 36-37°C (96.8°F) in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and 34°C (93.2°F) in Safed.

The high temperatures are expected to persist into next week, with Beit She’an reaching up to 46°C (114.8°F) and Tiberias 45°C (113°F) by Tuesday.

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