Nahal soldiers conclude intensive period in Gaza sector

Lt. Col. Yariv Ben-Ezra: Gaza sector does not allow for operational readiness to be lowered for one moment

Date: 01/05/2012, 10:57 AM     Author: Hadas Duvdevani

In the past year, many changes have taken place in Israel’s southern sector. The multi-pronged terrorist attack near Eilat last August changed the IDF (Zahal)’s outlook on the region and led to the formulation of new operational plans. The area received reinforcements and the speed of construction of a sophisticated fence on the border with Egypt was accelerated. 

In the past year, several rounds of escalation occurred in the Gaza Strip region. Israel signed a prisoner exchange deal in October for the return of Gilad Shalit. Also, numerous infiltration attempts, mortar and anti-tank fire, and sniper activity stirred the Gaza border region.

The past four months have seen a rise in the number of attempts to infiltrate the border. Despite the increase in infiltration attempts, the IDF (Zahal) has been consistently successful in thwarting them. The IDF (Zahal) has been able to capture terrorists due to sophisticated technologies and the operational capabilities of forces in the field.

The statistics show that the rise in terrorist activities in the region began after the Shalit deal. In the first quarter of 2012, there were more infiltration attempts, mortar and anti-tank fire, and sniper activity than in the first quarter of the previous year.

“On the other side, there is an enemy who would do anything to harm soldiers and civilians,” said Lieutenant Colonel Yariv Ben-Ezra, head of the Nahal Brigade’s Bazelet Battalion. “The business is becoming more complex, more sophisticated, and in the end it is a type of mind game. We give an operational response to events of this type, because that is our mission – to protect the border.”

According to Lt. Col. Ben-Ezra, the Gaza sector does not allow for operational readiness to be lowered for even one moment.

The major advantage of a battalion being stationed in a sector for a given time length is professionalism in the field. Familiarity with the territory, combined with accumulated experience, aid forces in thwarting enemy actions.

“We have an intimate familiarity with the territory, we make sure to analyze it all the time, performing evaluations, customizing operations and breaking routine,” Lt. Col. Ben-Ezra said. “Because the bottom line is that correct analysis allows us to reach good results.”