2012: Biggest IDF Events

The year of 2012 was packed full with events and security issues. Some challenged us, like Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’, and some were devastating, such as the attack in  Bulgaria which killed six Israelis. During this year, over 1,400 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip hit Israel. So here are the biggest events for the IDF in 2012:

January 18: Paratroopers Complete First Brigade-Wide Drill in 15 Years
The Paratroopers Brigade began 2012 in a massive brigade-wide parachuting drill, simulating parachuting behind enemy lines and navigating in the field. It has been 15 since the last drill this wide, making it one of the biggest in 2012. Read more here.

First Opertional Parachuting Drill in 15 years

First Operational Parachuting Drill in 15 years, January 2012.

March 9-14: Escalation of Rocket Fire Between Israel and Gaza
On March 9, the Israel Air Force targeted a squad planning to infiltrate Israel via the Sinai Peninsula. Over the next several days, the Israeli home front was under heavy rocket fire launched by Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee in Gaza. Read up.

June 1: Staff Sgt. Nethanel Moshiashvili Killed on Israel-Gaza Border
Staff Sgt. Nethanel Moshiashvili, an IDF soldier of the Golani Brigade, identified a terrorist attempting to breach the Gazan border and infiltrate Israel. As he opened fire according to protocol, the terrorist fired back and Nethanel died in the exchange, thus preventing the infiltration. For more information.

Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili, Deceased

Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili, an IDF soldier killed by Hamas’ explosive device placed on the border.

June 18-23: Escalation of Rocket Fire Between Israel and Gaza
During June, terror organizations in Gaza fired over 150 rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns and communities. In response, the Israel Air Force targeted dozens of launching sites, storage houses and other targets. Read more. 

July 18: The Bulgarian Airport Terror Attack
A suicide bombing in an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria killed six people are injured dozens. The terror attack, orchestrated and backed by Hezbollah and Iranian groups, was only the latest in a stream of attempted attacks worldwide. The IDF assembled a rescue team to help treat the victims and bring them back to Israel. Here’s the full story.

Bulgaria Bus Bombing

Damaged buses at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport on Wednesday. Credit: New York Times

July-September 2012: IDF Soldiers and Veterans Participate in London Olympics
During the London Olympics, six IDF soldiers took a special vacation from their military service and traveled to London to compete in swimming, Judo and rhythmic gymnastics. Some even made it to the finals. The Paralympics featured several IDF veterans who were injured during their service. Noam Gershoni, an injured helicopter pilot, won the gold medal on Men’s Quad Singles Tennis. Read more.

IDF Veteran Noam Gershoni

Former IDF Apache helicopter pilot, Noam Gershoni, began playing tennis at the facility as part of his rehabilitation (Source: Philippe Buissin)

October 11: Remains of Missing IDF Soldier Majdi Halabi Identified
Cpl. Majdi Halabi went missing on May 2005, having disappeared without a trace near his home town, Daliyat al-Karmel. On October, his remains were discovered near Usafiyah and verified with DNA checks. Read more about it. 

October 20: “Estelle” attempts to breach maritime blockade on Gaza
“Estelle”, a Swedish vessel, attempted to breach Israel’s maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip and was intercepted on the way. Israeli Navy commando teams boarded the vessel without any violence and safely directed it to Ashdod Port. Read it all here. 

October 21-November 13: Biggest US-Israeli Military Exercise to Date
‘Austere Challenge 2012’, a combined US-Israeli large-scale drill simulating several security issues and possible scenarios. The exercise was held here in Israel, and was considered a success. Read more.

November 14-22: Operation Pillar of Defense
After days of heavy rocket fire launched from Gaza, the IDF embarked on an operation meant to cripple Hamas’ terror infrastructure and guarantee the safety of Israeli citizens. After targeting Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’ military wing commander, the IDF destroyed over 1,500 terrorist targets. Hamas attempted to launch rockets at the Israeli home front, including Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, though these were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Read what happened.

Pillar of Defense Summary

2012 was a eventful year, and its lessons were learned. The IDF will work tirelessly to ensure that 2013 will be safe and peaceful for the citizens of Israel.