Infantry: September 23, 2004


Israel has established several training areas, where buildings and neighborhoods are constructed, that are similar to those found in Palestinian areas, and are used for realistic urban training exercises. These training sites are used for initial and refresher training for troops sent into Palestinian neighborhoods on patrols and raids, or sometimes to rehearse for specific operations. For example, the long planned operation to remove Yassir Arafat from his compound, and send him into exile, has been planned and rehearsed in these training areas. The training is done with blank ammunition, paint-ball guns or MILES (laser tag) equipment. 

These areas are also used to develop and test new tactics, especially new methods needed to deal with any tactical innovations the Palestinians may come up with.

A major effort is made to get troops through the training areas at least once a year. This is sometimes difficult, because battalions generally spend ten months of the year on duty in combat zones (the Palestinian areas), usually in a 21 weeks on duty, three weeks out, 22 weeks in, six weeks out schedule. The weeks out of combat are used for leave and unit combat training. The soldiers need leave time to relax and reduce tension, and there are other training courses to take as well. So it's difficult to schedule battalions for realistic training when they are out of the combat zones.

There is also a training base at Lachish, that prepares reservists and new recruits for duty in the Palestinian territories. Troops are shown the safest techniques for manning roadblocks, searching cars and people, and spotting suicide bombers. Special techniques for making arrests, conducting patrols and fighting from armored vehicles are also taught. Between 1,000 and 1,600 soldiers (including reservists) go through the Lachish training area each week.




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