The IDF carried out its biggest drill in almost two decades, bolstering its preparedness and readying itself for a conflict with Hezbollah.
The IDF concluded this week its largest and most important exercise in the past 19 years. The exercise was called “Or HaDagan,” the “Light of Dagan,” in honor of the late Major General Meir Dagan, who commanded the last exercise of this scale nearly two decades ago.
The 10-day-long exercise involved the IDF’s active divisions in addition to reservists, 20 different brigades including infantry, armored, artillery, and regional, Combat Intelligence, Special Forces, the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the Israeli Navy, the Intelligence Directorate, the Home Front Command and many other units.
The main objective of the massive drill was to improve combat readiness on the northern front.
In addition, the “Sky Rider” artillery unit was slated to hold its first unit exercise, dispersing teams and providing intelligence assistance to all forces.
“It’s not enough to just be strong,” an IDF official said, “we need to adapt the response to the challenges facing us.”
The various units were practicing for operations in unexpected situations on the northern front, primarily those involving potential conflicts with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization.
“The enemy is developing greatly in warfare, learning and understanding combat,” said a senior official. “There’s a significant threat to the IDF, and especially to the home front.”
The exercise is unique in its scope because it involves all levels and ranks, from troops in the field to the top of the chain of command, the IDF explained.
Over the past year, the Or HaDagan Administration, lead by Major General Yossi Bachar, has built the exercise in accordance with the objectives of the General Staff and the operational needs of the Northern Corps.
Hezbollah Terrorists on Jet Skis
The navy carried out defense missions on Wednesday to maintain its edge at sea. The submarine fleet collected intelligence, performed special missions and directed forces.
The Navy’s exercise included a simulated surprise attack by Hezbollah naval commandos on the Jewish state.
One of the naval scenarios had Israeli sailors facing a swarm of Hezbollah terrorists on jet skis and small motorboats loaded with fighters, divers and suicide bombers headed for the Israeli coast or ready to attack Israeli vessels at sea.
Another scenario involved Hezbollah terrorists using jet skis to attack Israel without warning as a diversion from a major assault on Israel’s shores in other areas. Sailors also prepared for Hezbollah’s potential use of heavy rocket fire on the coast and its infiltration of Israeli communities near the border to kidnap civilians.
“This is absolutely a scenario that could open in the next war in the north,” an IDF naval officer who participated in the drills told Yedioth Ahronoth.
“We want this kind of scenario to end at sea, even though we may have to take the fight against the threat to the shores,” he added. “The soldiers who acted as the enemy in the exercise also serve in the area, they know our weak spots, so this was an advantage for the training forces.”
In the Technology and Logistics Directorates, soldiers drilled emergency operations of advanced technology, including unmanned vehicles, autonomous hummers, robots for carrying equipment, and new technological developments in the field, some of which were deployed for the first time.
“The IDF is very advanced in the technological world, the world of intelligence, combat, and maneuvering,” the IDF senior official stated. “The exercise is a clear expression of this. We’re adapting the improvements to the challenges that we see in the context of the northern region and Hezbollah.”
(With files from JNS.org and IDF Blog)