Israeli PM, DM inspect IDF drill

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both participated in the IDF “Chariots of Fire” Exercise on Tuesday at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

By Erin Vine

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Brig. Gen. Avi Blut,  head of the IDF Operations Branch, Director of the IDF Intelligence Branch and additional senior officials also attended the inspection.

After being briefed on the mission’s inclusion of combat scenarios on all fronts, the officials held a fundamental and in-depth discussion on the operational concept “for achieving a decisive result and victory” on the three main efforts to focus on “multi-dimensional maneuvering in enemy territory, vigorous and powerful live-fire strikes, cyber and multi-dimensional defense,” said a communiqué released by the Prime Minister’s Foreign Media Advisor.

“The ‘Chariots of Fire’ exercise – one of the longest in IDF history – is underway. It simulates a simultaneous conflict on multiple fronts, with all that entails,” said Prime Minister Bennett, while thanking the Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff for “the very significant exercise that is underway and which will help upgrade our capabilities in preparing for the real thing.”

Adding that the ongoing “extensive and reinforced IDF operational activity” is “challenging,” Bennett acknowledged that, “This is the actual situation of the State of Israel again.” He went on to underscore that “We neither seek out nor want conflict but we are prepared for any scenario that comes. The enemy knows that if he drags us into a conflict – he will pay an unbearably heavy price. The Israeli public needs to know that the State of Israel is stronger than all of our enemies combined, and we will always be ready for this on every point.”

Defense Minister Gantz stated that “Safeguarding the security of the State of Israel is tied to two anchors – the use of force and building up the force in continuous process over the years,” while reaffirming that “the IDF knows how to do both.

Explaining that he has “about 20 years’ personal experience with exercises of this sort, from all angles and points-of-view,” Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gantz said the Chariots of Fire exercise “surpasses all of its predecessors. It is deep, prolonged, on all fronts and it is happening in command posts and in the field, and in coordination with government ministries. It is indeed very significant, and I would like to express my appreciation for this as well.”

Thanking the army’s Chief of Staff “for putting together this exercise” and to the Prime Minister’s participation, Jerusalem’s top defense official underscored that “visits by the political leadership to this exercise are important” in order for decision-making that is “substantially and prominently linked to understanding what is possible and what is needed. Our cooperation in this context, on this exercise, is really what makes this exercise possible,” said Gantz, pledging that, “tThe coming weeks will upgrade the level of security of the State of Israel.”

The collective move was made in correlation to the launch of the IDF “Chariots of Fire” Exercise, which commenced yesterday and includes a month-long large-scale exercise in preparation for all-out war.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit noted in a statement, “Chariots of Fire” is a unique exercise which aims to both increase the IDF’s defensive readiness and examine its preparedness for an intensive and prolonged campaign, and will include participation of both regular and reserve IDF personnel from all commands, branches and directorates, IDF combat units, headquarters and professional arrays.

Ahead of the drill’s launching on Monday, Lt. Gen. Kochavi defined goals of the exercise as including improvement in the IDF’s operational systems and defensive readiness for a campaign, realizing the ‘operating concept of victory’ regarding the IDF’s ability to conduct a sequence of high-rate operational and defensive activities and multidimensional maneuvering, applying lessons learned from last year’s Operation “Guardian of the Walls” conflict with Islamist terror groups in Gaza, and examination of the operational course of action of all IDF personnel ranging from the headquarters level to the operational end.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit highlighted that “Chariots of Fire” was planned as part of the Israeli military’s 2022 training schedule.

It is important to that the wide-scale drill is clearly aimed at preparing for a probable future conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran and its regional proxies. The Gaza-based Islamist Hamas and the Iranian-proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), as well as the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah terror groups have raised their state of alert to the highest level while vowing to respond to any offensive Israeli activity.