The home front is the IDF’s first priority

IDF (Zahal) creates a fourth Search and Rescue unit using air force manpower, Command Manpower director:”The home front is becoming a second battlefield”

Date: 27/03/2012, 2:32 PM     Author: Bamahane Magazine

Home Front Command establishes a fourth Search and Rescue unit, using manpower from the headquarters and two operational batteries of the “Ram” Battalion, who run the anti-aircraft Stinger missiles of the air force.

“The decision was reached to build four battalions, but we never dreamed it would happen so quickly,” explained head of Planning and Organization of the Home Front Command, Lt. Col. Elena Samson.

Increasing search and rescue forces will create a large force available to respond to emergency situations, including non-conventional attacks, large-scale rescue events, and other extreme situations. “There is an understanding that the home front is becoming a second battlefield, so it must get stronger,” explained the head of Manpower in the Home Front Command, Lt. Col. Sharon Horeb.

A ‘Ram’ Battalion’s battery that was not transferred to the Home Front Command will remain operational and will be re-assigned to the air defense wing of the air force. The wing operates the Iron Dome and Arrow missile defense systems, and will absorb the Magic Wand system in the future. These anti-missile defense systems have proven extremely effective in defending Israeli civilians from rocket fire launched from the Gaza Strip.

The Stinger batteries will join the Home Front Command in August, and under its command will continue to perform its routine operations as combat soldiers. At the beginning of 2013, the soldiers will begin changing direction toward the Home Front, developing search and rescue capabilities so that they can also perform the tasks required of the battalion during emergency.

“Ram” battalion commander, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said that”This summer we will change the color of our berets but continue the same operational mission. What will change is that during emergencies our mission will switch to one of saving lives.”