IDF Ups Readiness, But Sees No War in Near Term

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (Hadas Parush/Flash90, File)

While stressing that the enemies on Israel’s borders do not want a war, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi unveiled a multi-year plan to increase readiness, just in case.

Kohavi told reporters on Thursday that “in the northern and southern arenas, the situation is tense and precarious and poised to deteriorate into a conflict despite the fact that our enemies are not interested in war. In light of this, the IDF has been in an accelerated process of preparation.”

The name given for that process is Amplitude, or Tenufa in Hebrew, and it envisages major investment in developing in IDF arsenals, including expanding its fleet of mid-sized drones, obtaining large numbers of precision-guided missiles from the United States and additional air defense batteries.

The IDF chief identified the most serious threat facing Israel coming from Iran along Israel’s northern borders.

“The central strategic threat of the State of Israel lies in the northern arena: with the entrenchment of Iranian and other forces in Syria and with [the Hezbollah terror group’s] precision missile project,” Kohavi said.

“Both of these cases are efforts led by Iran, using the territory of countries with severely limited governance. For years Hezbollah has taken the state of Lebanon ‘hostage. It built an army of its own and it is the one that dictates the security policy,” he said.

Amplitude doesn’t begin officially until January 1, 2020, but the program to upgrade military readiness is already under way.

With a view toward the possibility of urban warfare in the next conflict, the IDF has decided to maintain the increased training implemented under the Gideon multi-year plan (an increase from 13 weeks to 17 weeks of consecutive training) and raise the number of soldiers assigned to training for urban combat in simulators.

Kohavi did not say what the projected cost would be, nor was it clear how such an expensive undertaking will be paid for, given that the Finance Ministry has not approved any budget increase on the necessary scale.