IDF to hold massive exercise this summer, simulating full-scale, multi-front war

Exact timing and nature of the drill will depend on coronavirus restrictions, but it’s due to include entire army and other government bodies, in apparent message to Iran

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

IDF troops are seen during an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops are seen during an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday announced plans for a massive, month-long exercise this summer, simulating a multi-front war, in which every branch of the military will take part.

This will be the first time that the military holds a drill of this scope, according to the IDF.

“The structure of the exercise, which is being put together now, will include a scenario of a multi-front campaign in both the north and the south, in accordance with up-to-date and worst-case scenarios,” the military said in a statement.

The exact date and nature of the exercise are still being sorted out as it is not yet known exactly what will be permitted under coronavirus restrictions, the IDF said.

Though the military has maintained that it remained at full readiness throughout the pandemic, the IDF’s ability to hold large-scale exercises has been hampered by the crisis, leading to more modest drills throughout 2020.

The military said the purpose of this General Staff-level exercise was to “increase the IDF’s preparedness and fitness for war.” The announcement of the drill was also seen by Israeli defense commentators as a message to Iran and its proxies.

IDF tanks are seen during an exercise in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the IDF, both conscripted and reservist units from every regional command, branch and directorate will take part in the exercise “in the air, at sea and on land,” along with representatives from the cabinet, Defense Ministry, National Emergency Management Authority, Foreign Ministry and other security services.

“The exercise will simulate wide-scale, coordinated ground maneuvers behind enemy lines, based on the General Staff’s capabilities, as well as special forces operations,” the military said.

Maj. Gen. Moti Baruch will lead the exercise with the help of a task force that has been formed specifically for this drill, the IDF said.

The military said the exercise was meant to test new strategies and concepts developed under IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi.

“During the month, all aspects of combat will be simulated — from multidimensional defense to limiting the threat of projectiles and denying victories for the enemy, while conducting a series of multi-faceted barrages to strike enemy weaponry, headquarters, training camps, infrastructure and command-and-control centers,” the IDF said.

Last year, Kohavi unveiled many of these concepts in his multi-year plan, dubbed Momentum or Tenufa in Hebrew. However, the implementation of this plan has been significantly limited by the coronavirus pandemic, which has eaten up much of the funding that was required for its full execution.

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