IDF calling up hundreds of thousands for emergency-readiness war drills

© Baz Ratner
Large-scale military drills have been launched in Israel with the aim of testing the IDF’s readiness to go into emergency mode. Hundreds of thousands of reserve soldiers are involved in testing the system.

They will all be receiving a telephone call to confirm everything is in working order, according to the General Staff’s plan for the drills, set to last for three days.

Thousands of others will be summoned to bases on short notice, according to the Jerusalem Post. An IDF source told the newspaper that this is “one of the largest telephone call-ups we’ve had in an exercise.”

“We want to ensure that the system is well-oiled and working."

© Baz Ratner

The Air Force, with its bases, and other facilities will also take part in the call-up. Among other activities, base personnel will be carrying out emergency intelligence data analysis for the purpose of conducting airstrikes. The same goes for the Israeli Navy and their infrastructure.

"For the first time, cyber defenses will be a part of a General Staff exercise," the source also said.

Responses to potential attacks from Syria, Lebanon and Gaza are the overarching theme of the drills, the IDF says.

"It is part of our activities linked to working on our readiness,” the source added, saying the Southern Command will practice responding to mock rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Other units taking part in the war games include: the Operations Branch, which will practice coordinating emergency maneuvers; the Home Front Command, which will hold rescue drills, and others.

The IDF warns the Monday-Wednesday period will be marked by increased military activity, which will take in public places such as schools. Several cities around the country will be affected, including Tel Aviv and the central locations there.

IDF war drills have been coming under fire – not just from Palestinians, but from Israelis as well. According to Haaretz, frequent activity in regions such as Lachish has led to widespread fires, causing serious ecological damage. This is exacerbated, according to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, by the fact that the army doesn’t take care to fight the fires, nor does it have any firefighting equipment.

The number of fires has been especially high this year in the south-east. Satellite photography was used to assess the damage. The nature authority says around 60 brush and forest fires since April have all been the result of IDF training exercises. Animals and plant life suffer immensely, the body adds.

READ MORE: 'Biggest environmental wrongdoer in Israel': IDF accused of being major polluter

The Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry has accused the Israel Defense Forces of being the country’s top polluter, and one who doesn’t care to be told of the damage it causes.

“The IDF today is the biggest environmental wrongdoer in Israel,” the ministry’s deputy director-general said, as cited by the Jerusalem Post.