Israel faces a number of threats from terrorist groups like Hezbollah on the northern border and Hamas in Gaza. Keeping our borders secure is of primary importance. These are five tools the IDF uses to keep them safe and virtually impenetrable.
1 – Patrol Balloons
These hi-tech balloons gather intelligence and patrol above Israel’s borders. What really makes the balloons stand out is their ability to remain in the sky for long periods of time. A balloon doesn’t require constant refuelling like an aircraft does, and therefore is able to supply a constant source of intelligence on a target or a suspected area. If there’s an area not visible from the ground, these surveillance balloons can reach a height and cover ground that may be difficult to detect from below.
2 – Bedouin Trackers Unit
The IDF’s Trackers Unit is comprised of a few hundred combat soldiers, most of whom come from Israel’s Bedouin community and draft as volunteers. A tracker’s work is based on following signs left by suspects. By examining footprints, trackers can decipher the age, height, direction, pace, and shoe type of the suspect. The trackers set out on missions equipped with weapons, military apparatus, and sharpened senses. Even with technology continuing to advance, the trackers’ senses on the border are irreplaceable.
3 – Unmanned Ground Vehicles
Israel’s border with Gaza can be tense and volatile. Hamas snipers, anti-tank missiles, and explosives threaten forces patrolling the security fence on the border. To counter these threats, the IDF has introduced a new Unmanned Ground Vehicle, which patrols the fence around the clock. The vehicle, called “Border Protector,” is a semi-automatic 4×4 capable of carrying cameras and sensors. It makes information gathering and scanning possible in all weather conditions. In places of high risk, the remote-control vehicle can make a substantial difference.
4 – Indicative Sensorial Fence
The indicative fence has special sensors generating warnings when touched or damaged. Whenever and wherever the fence is touched, an IDF command center is immediately alerted so that the area can be checked. The verification can be done by cameras, but soldiers are sent in most cases to ensure that there has been no break-in attempt or suspicious movements.
5 – Specialized Ground Forces
Last but not least, our dedicated soldiers play an important role in defending our borders. Forces always keep their eyes open to possible threats. They are constantly patrolling along the border and alternate shifts every twelve hours. When soldiers are not on patrol, they are still on duty as an emergency support team. They are called whenever there is suspicious movement or other threats detected. Our Ordnance Corps soldiers responsible for the warning systems, are qualified and ready to keep our borders secure even under fire.
Israel’s borders are undergoing unprecedented changes. The deteriorating security situation in both Syria and Lebanon in the north, and the Islamic Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula, present many challenges. But as always, the IDF is developing new technological tools to face these threats and protect Israel’s civilians.