Israel Defense Forces: January 2012

The month of January was an eventful one, with many occurrences both within Israel’s borders and outside them.

Jan 27: The IDF honored the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005, this day marks the liberation of the Nazis’ biggest death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Jan 19: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Military, four-star General Martin E. Dempsey visited Israel and met with the IDF’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. General Dempsey, who visited  the country for the first time, was briefed by senior IDF officials with an emphasis on cooperation between the two militaries, as well as mutual security challenges.

IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Benny Gantz meets with Gen. Dempsey

IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz meets with Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey

Jan 18: IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz participated in a NATO conference in Brussels. Lt. Gen. Gantz referred to the IDF’s anti-terror strategy:

“…Any effective international strategy to deal with these threats must involve strengthening the moderates while weakening the radicals. Only by working together, using a mixture of hard and soft power, will we be able to deter and, over the long haul, overcome the radical actors.”

Jan 17: For the first time in 15 years, the entire Paratroopers Brigade parachuted out of planes in a brigade-wide drill. Nearly a thousand paratroopers lit up the night sky as they leapt into action as a unit.

Paratroopers Brigade First Operational Drill in 15 Years

Paratroopers during their first operational drill in 15 years

Israel’s Northern Border:

IDF Chief of Defense Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, on the future of the Assad regime:

“The radical axis operates to preserve its strength. As time passes, Iran and Hezbollah persist in their efforts to prolong Assad’s regime by providing him with the know-how, arms and additional means, lately doing so through active involvement.”

Judea and Samaria:

Jan 2: IDF forces stationed near Nablus captured two armed Palestinian men carrying an M-16 rifle, Uzi, and matching ammunition.

Illegal Rifle Captured in West Bank
M-16 rifle confiscated by IDF forces near Nablus

In addition, indictments were filed against the suspects responsible for last month’s shooting attack near Azzun, while restraining orders were filed against violent settlers.

Israel’s Southern Border:

29 missiles and mortars were launched into heavily populated areas in Israel this month, following 42 rockets in December. In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted three terror facilities and smuggling tunnels used to enable the launches.

Two explosive devices were planted near the Gaza border – the second incident this month, following nearly 30 incidents last month.