The Israeli Defense Forces have undergone considerable upgrading since the 2006 war in Lebanon. Following the appointment of former Golani Brigade commander, Lt. General Gaby Ashkenazi to IDF Chief of Staff, virtually all branches of Israel’s military, especially it’s ground forces, have undergone a number of changes to prepare if a possible future war with the Hezbollah and possibly Syria as well. Ashkenazi is well suited for his new role as he has considerable combat experience and is well acquainted in ground combat fighting, as he has been a commander of what may considered to be the IDF’s top fighting unit.
Being a field commander, General Ashkenazi is much more suited to head the IDF than his predecessor, Dan Halutz, who formerly headed the Israeli Air Force before his appointment to be C.O.S., by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005. One of General Ashkenazi’s major tasks has been to improve the morale in IDF military units, especially among reserve soldiers, considered to be the backbone of the country’s military. Gross logistical failures during what is now called the Lebanon II War, resulted in may reserve soldiers saying that they would refuse to fight in a new conflict unless considerable changes were made to enable them to have the required equipment and training needed to face an enemy that has grown much stronger and is better equipped than in previous years.
For security reasons, a number of these revisions have not been disclosed to the general public. One of main problems that many IDF officers have had is in regards to the type of warfare known as asymmetric warfare that is now being fought not only by Israel against it’s enemies but by other armies such as the American led coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Russian forces in provinces such as Chechnya. In asymmetric warfare, different ideologies and the will to fight often results in a lesser equipped enemy having an advantage over a stronger, better equipped army.
Besides Israel’s ground forces, include the highly acclaimed Givati brigade, the armor corps in which the Ga’ash Formation is the largest armor group, and special units such as the Egoz special operations unit, the IDF is also upgrading the Naval forces and Air Forces.
Speaking at a recent officer’s school graduation ceremony at Mitzpeh Ramon, both General Ashkenzi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (a former C.O.S. himself) warned that the IDF must be ready to face the threat of possible regional conflict that could break out at any time, especially following the assassination of Hezbollah’s top terror strategist Imad Mughniyah.
Throughout Israel’s nearly 60 years as an independent country, its army has had to make constant upgrades in its ability to meet the challenges facing the Jewish State in light of constantly changing realities. Only in this way can a small country such as Israel meet the challenges of facing its enemies and prevailing against them.