The IDF will be sending a team to compete for the first time in Russia’s third annual International Army Games during the summer.
But they won’t be entered in the combat lists. Instead, the IDF is sending medics and cooks to vie for honors against their counterparts from at least 27 countries in field medicine and field kitchens, The Jerusalem Post reported.
It was not immediately clear why the IDF decided to send such a limited delegation to the games, scheduled for June 29 through August 12 in Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China. There are 23 different types of competition, including tanks, artillery, air crews, paratroops, warships, snipers, engineering and mountain units.
Whether it was out of concern about exposing Israeli military capabilities, or the Pentagon being unwilling to have Israel deploying U.S.-built equipment abroad, or simply a desire to save money, or a combination of all of those reasons, the IDF spokesperson was not saying.
The 27 countries set to participate were from among 73 invited. Another 16 have expressed interest and may come, as well, according to Russian media reports.
Israel is not the only new face at the games. South Africa, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Fiji, Laos — and Syria — are also to be on hand for the first time.