In light of the recent wave of terror striking Israel, our soldiers received advanced training to better prepare them to face violent Palestinian demonstrations, shootings and stabbing attacks.
The smell of burning tires fills the air. Molotov cocktails fly from every direction, a trail of flames left behind in their wake. On the left, someone wields a knife, while rioters on the right hurl rocks. This is the scene that IDF (Zahal) soldiers face during violent Palestinian riots in Judea and Samaria. Our soldiers train tirelessly to handle riots. They minimize casualties and restore calm as quickly as possible.
Recently, the Givati Brigade simulated a demonstration to train their response to varying levels of escalation. “The goal is to use as few means as possible in order to restore calm. We aim to disperse the riot with no one getting hurt,” explains Lt. Colonel Itamar Koali, Head of the Combat Division on the base and commander of the exercise.
While the nature of the riot may vary, certain protocols apply across the board. Captain Fares Fhralden, Head of the Riot Dispersal Tactics Department on the base, explains that as long as protests remain peaceful, soldiers do not interfere. When protests transform into riots, the equation changes. If participants start throwing rocks and charging forward, our soldiers respond with non-lethal means. “In specific cases, when the riot further escalates and demonstrators hurl firebombs, shoot at soldiers from close range, or lunge at them with knives, soldiers respond with live fire,” explains Capt. Fhralden.
Since the rise of deadly stabbing attacks against soldiers and civilians, all soldiers stationed in Judea and Samaria have been undergoing intensive Krav Maga training. Krav Maga is a popular Israeli martial art that equips one to fend off an attacker at close range. “Soldiers must be able to protect themselves in case an assailant armed with a knife suddenly grabs them from behind,” explains Capt. Fhralden.
Illustrative image of soldiers in a Krav Maga course.
In addition to violent riots, IDF (Zahal) soldiers train to contend with shooting attacks on civilian vehicles. In a simulated attack, soldiers learned how to care for a victim before an ambulance arrives and practiced securing the vicinity. Additionally, they trained to track down the assailants. Lt. Col. Koali explains that attempts to attack civilian vehicles in Judea and Samaria are a weekly occurrence.
Soldiers from the Givati Brigade training in a shooting scenario.
Lt. Col. Koali stressed that “regular IDF (Zahal) operations including intelligence collection, riot dispersal, arrests and patrols” are critical for preventing attacks in Judea and Samaria. The IDF (Zahal) will continue to prepare soldiers to respond to riots and attacks. Ultimately, the goal is to maximize Israel’s security while minimizing casualties on all sides.