The IDF launched yesterday a large scale General Staff exercise aimed at drilling emergency preparedness in all of the military’s commands. The IDF seeks to prepare the different commands for a range of emergency and war scenarios and to increase the readiness and operational dialogue between the various commands. As part of the exercise, the IDF Home Front Command will also hold a drill tomorrow, during which it will sound ‘rocket alert sirens’ across the country. The rocket alert sirens will also be sounded on the radio, will appear on different websites and beepers for people who are hard of hearing, on the television and on the Home Front Command’s website and mobile application. The IDF announced that the goal of the ‘rocket alert sirens drill’ is to prepare the general public to enter protected areas both in their workplaces and their homes, and to test the functionality of the rocket alert siren system across Israel. While military officials noted the significance of the current drill, amid imminent threats from Israel’s northern neighbors, as well as the dire situation in the Gaza Strip; the IDF spokesperson’s unit released a statement in which it emphasized that “The drill was planned in advanced as part of the training plan for 2018 and is meant to maintain the fitness and readiness of the troops.”
The military drill coincides with another training exercise, in which some 5,000 Israeli and American troops are conducting a joint drill against the threat of massive missile and rocket barrages on Israel, coming from Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and even from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The joint American-Israeli exercise, dubbed Juniper Cobra, has been taking place every two years since 2001 to prepare the armed forces of the Jewish state for a future wider Middle East war. During the exercise the troops simulate live-fire drills of sophisticated missile-defense systems. This year’s exercise, which began on the 4th of March and will run through the end of the month, is the largest one yet. Chief of the IDF’s Aerial Defense Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich stressed ahead of the drill that ‘Juniper Cobra’ is not aimed at any particular adversary, but rather ‘is meant to simulate “very complex scenarios” that include simultaneous attacks from enemy countries and militant groups.’ Lieutenant General Richard Clark, the commander of the American troops in the joint-exercise, stressed that the American forces are ready to deploy in Israel at Jerusalem’s request. He noted that once Israel gives the green light, U.S. forces could start moving from Europe within two or three days to assist the Jewish state in a time of war.