To span an entire month, the massive exercise called “Chariots of Fire” will have the Israeli Army, Navy, and Air Force practising combat and emergency scenarios in all regions.
For the first time since the Israeli Army was founded, the forces will be simulating a “month of war” to reportedly boost the IDF’s readiness.
The drills will involve both regular and reserve IDF forces from all the commands and forces.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence, the National Emergency Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other security bodies will participate in the “Chariots of Fire”.
While the exercise will practice a sweeping and synchronised manoeuvre in the “depths of enemy territory”, it shall also focus on functioning both within the IDF and between organisations, involving the Home Front and civilian assistance.
Fire and manoeuvring in built-up areas are also cited as on the agenda for the drills. Throughout the exercises, research teams will be making assessments and drawing conclusions, while referencing conclusions drawn from previous General Staff exercises.
According to the outlet, Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi opted to proceed with plans to conduct the “Chariots of Fire” exercises despite flaring tensions in Jerusalem.
Ahead of the announced drills, Hezbollah significantly increased its alertness in Southern Lebanon and Syria. The level of alert was the highest since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, according to sources cited by El-Nashra newspaper.
The Lebanon-based group’s officials reportedly view the exercise as “extremely dangerous”.
The developments come as the Middle East Quartet – Russia, the US, the EU and the UN – voiced concerns over the recent surge of violence in East Jerusalem.
“We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days. We call on all sides to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement. In this context, the Quartet Envoys reiterated their commitment to a negotiated two state solution,” the Quartet announced in a Saturday statement.
As unrest flared around the Temple Mount and in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent stated that a total of around 300 Palestinians have been injured in the past days.
According to Palestinian reports, the IDF has responded to the unrest with tear gas and rubber bullets.
On May 10, the Arab League plans to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the escalation of violence in East Jerusalem.