Jerusalem Opens New Urban Park in Time for Tu Bishvat

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Across from the busy Pat Junction, a nature reserve and park is being developed. Meet the young volunteers who planted trees.
Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Tree planting for Tu Bishvat

Across from the busy gas station at the corner of the Pat Intersection just before it turns into Begin Highway is a large patch of undeveloped land called Emek Hatzva’im, or Gazelle Valley. This month, work began to turn the area, also referred to as Pri-Har Valley, into a park with a soccer court and open space for the small herd of native gazelles to graze. A tough fight in the Jerusalem Municipality resulted in plans for new commercial area to be cancelled.

On Tuesday, a group of volunteers planted trees in anticipation of the holiday of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for the Trees which began Wednesday evening and will last until sunset Thursday.

Rotem Palti, a young national service volunteer from the north of Israel spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio about the land and his work.

Gazelle Valley Interview

To hear the interview in streaming audio click here.

“This is considered an urban nature park because it’s like an oasis within the city limits,” Palti explained. “There a lots of buildings, people, cars and noise and right here there’s a place where people can come and connect to nature and just forget about the troubles of the city for a bit. We need to preserve this place.

Among his jobs are planting and trimming trees, and making sure wild jackals don’t break through the fence and attack the gazelles. “Jackals are attracted to garbage and scraps of food that they can eat.” he explains.

He and his fellow young national service volunteers sit next to an old one story, one-room stone building, used as a storage facility, and play guitar during their break time as cars race past in the background.

Rabbi Shaul Judelman of JiVE! – Jerusalem Volunteers for the Environment, and the Teva Ivri (Hebrew Nature) organization was there as well, leading a group of volunteers in transforming a barren slope into a mini garden with diverse trees. The area was once owned by Kibbutz Ramat Rachel and used for apple groves. This month tractors began working to transform one third into children’s park areas, one third a nature center and one third to remain a wildlife preserve.

“We’re here to recreate the hillside that was damage due to construction,” he stated, as he set down a shovel. “We’re planting almond, Israeli pistachio, mastic trees, and pines. In a couple of years we’ll have a little forest.”

With the Holyland apartment complex looming in the background Rabbi Judelman described what the future neighborhood would look like.

“The vision for the future is we will recreate what would be the natural Jerusalem hills environment. The visitor’s center will be a welcoming place for kids,” he explained.

“This is a low income neighborhood and people don’t always have the money to take a long trip to a park. For 2,000 years we’ve prayed to return to Jerusalem, but in the past thirty years people have actually been leaving due to high rents, and small apartments. Studies have been done (which show) that proximity to parks and gardens indicates a higher quality of life. So the municipality of Jerusalem has been trying to increase funding for such projects,” he related.

Rabbi Judelman highlighted the desire for the park with an anecdote about riding the bus past Tzomet Pat Junction.

“I remember when there was a vote going on in the city as to whether this was going to be a commercial zone or a park and it was a hot Jerusalem July afternoon.

“I was on the 32 bus from the center of town at about 5:00 p.m. and everyone was hot and annoyed and we were anticipating going to war, and we got stopped at the red light in heavy traffic… And every single person’s head was turned to the right looking out the window and gazing at this green area. It encapsulated what this place means for the city.”

For the full interview plus Tu Bishvat music, download Arutz Sheva’s – Israel Beat by clicking here. For the Israel Beat archives click here.






 

Azaria Alon -Lover of Zion and The Land of Israel

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Azaria Alon z”l – Lover of the Land of Israel
**
Whenever we travel throughout our beautiful country or enjoy our streams and our clean well-kept trails it is thanks to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and their development of Israeli nature reserves.
**
Azaria Alon, who died this morning, was one of Israeli nature’s greatest lovers and guardians.As a Bar Mitzvah gift I received an encyclopedia titled “HaChai V’HaTzomach Shel Eretz Yisrael” (The animals and greenery of Israel), edited by Alon. I loved turning the pages and afterwards going on a hike in those very same places.
**
The Nation of Israel owes much gratitude to this very special lover of our beautiful country. He was a Humble and good Jew.and Zionist
May his memory be blessed.

יהי זכרו ברוך —
18 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Stephen Darori In 1972 , 76 and again 1980 the South African Railways proposed taking over the Administration and Development of Israeli Railways ( at the expense of the SA Railways entirely).The negotiations were led by my late father Morrie Drus. In 1980 he came on Aliyah with the entire Drus family but remained the Right Hand Man of the then Director General of the South African Railways , Dr Johannes Marais ,a great Christian Zionist. Between 1980 and 1982 he worked closely with Azaria Alon and produced a 10 years development plan for the Israeli Railways that included railway lines from Rosh Hanikra ( the tunnel by the way and line to Beirut was built by the South African Engineering Corps within the British Army during the Second World War… my father led this Unit) .The Plan included Railway lines from Katsrin on the Golan, Metulla and Rosh Hankra through the Shomron to Ashdod , Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot , Dimona, Yerocham , Beer Sheva to Eilat with an additional Narrow Gauge commercial line from Eilat to Tel Aviv and the Jewels of the Development Plan a Fast Net to Jerusalem and a MonoRail System in the Mercaz ( the water table is to close to the surface for an underground) . 47 Israeli Railway workers ,all members of the Histadrut objected and the high level contract was never signed. The Cost to Zion of the 47 in today’s money is estimated at $63 billion dollars and counting. The Fast Net to Jerusalem has already cost Zion about $9.4 billion and is slated to open in early 2016. ……………………My father walked the length and breath of Zion with Azaria Alon and his Society for the Protection of Nature clutching their Nature Biblehttp://www.amazon.com/…/038514…/ref=la_B001JOIT6I_1_2… …..Azaria Alon’s contribution to Zion’s landscape is his legacy. A very Great Man. May his his Memory be Blessed.Wonderful………………… … For the last 6 months I have been transitioning back to a position in Zion ( the White Silicon City would be nice) but I have been repeatedly tagged with ” too much experience ” or “too many degrees”… it is very frustrating especially as remuneration isn’t an issue ( unless it is insulting or/and a disincentive). If you have any contacts or know of companies looking for a mutlifaceted skilled person, please contact me Tel 0524182849 ( stephendarori@gmail.com)http://www.linkedin.com/…/stephendarori… the 6th September 1986 , Drus ( pronounced Darus) was Hebrewaized to Drori. The “a” in English was added for branding purposes. Darus is the gerund of “Le Dareis ” to be trodden on . we couldn’t live with that.Dror is the Biblical word for Sparrow. Achad Ha’am wrote … “cage a sparrow ad it will die” ( think about it .. it is true) . Eliezer ben Yehuda included the word Drori in his 1930’s New Hebrew dictionary with a meaning of “freedom, liberty”

    www.amazon.com

    Describes the flora and fauna of Israel and adjacent areas. Geographically Israel…See more
  • Larry Williams It’s sad to loose someone like that who is so in touch with nature !
  • Lisa Kamins bauruch dayan emet
  • Stephen Darori

Ayelet Shaked: Stop Worrying and Apologizing for Being Zionist

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Stephen Darori

Ayelet Shaked is my  favourite MK. Naftali Bennet is my favourite Minister. Both eloquently speak Zionism as it should be spoken .. with rip roaring ” in your face” enthusiasm.

Calling building in Judea and Samaria ‘the lifeblood of Zionism,’ MK Ayelet Shaked urges Israel to stand strong on building plans.

MK Ayelet Shaked

MK Ayelet Shaked

In light of increasing pressure from the European Union (EU) and other international powers to stop building in Judea and Samaria, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has urged Israel not to back down.

“Building communities throughout all of the Land of Israel has always been the lifeblood of Zionism,” Shaked explained, “from the immigrant groups who arrived pre-state, through the establishment of border communities after the War of Independence and the establishment of communities in regions liberated in the Six Day War.”

“These communities symbolized the Jewish people’s return to the Land of Israel, the home of its ancestors, and has defined the state of Israel’s security,” Shaked continued. “Unfortunately, we have seen that where there are no Israeli communities, there is no security.”

“In recent times, these settlements have become devalued in the eyes of our leaders,” Shaked stated. “Suddenly, the establishment of a new community – once celebrated all over the country – has become a rare event. The pulse of Zionism throbbing in the veins of our country has begun to weaken.”

“Especially now, when the flourishing communities in Judea and Samaria are facing external threats, we must say [to the world]: ‘Building communities in Israel – this is Zionism,” she continued.

Shaked called on the government to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid of world powers, and to tell the world that “we must return to the values ​​that led to the rebirth of Israel in its land – the establishment of new communities.”

Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the EU for summoning envoys over recently unveiled plans for some 1,800 new homesfor Jews in the ancient Jewish capital of Jerusalem, and the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

“This is hypocrisy. The EU calls our ambassadors in because of the construction of a few houses? When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors about incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction?” Netanyahu asked foreign correspondents at his annual new year reception.

“It’s time to stop this hypocrisy,” he said. “This imbalance… doesn’t advance peace, I think it pushes peace further away.”

The European Union has been unrelenting in its criticism of Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria. The EU promotes boycotts of products made beyond 1949 Armistice lines, and has effectively redrawn Israel’s borders to those lines in policies to its member states.

Recently, the EU has gone so far as to offer “unprecedented” aid packages to both Israel and the PA in the event that a two-statesolution – and a withdrawal – results from negotiations.

Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

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Ariel Sharon (November 2005)

Ariel Sharon’s life was intimately entwined with the life of the country he loved from the moment of its birth.

He fought in its war of independence in 1948 and from that point until he slipped into a coma in 2006 it seemed there was hardly a moment of national drama in which he did not play a role.

He was always a controversial figure in Israeli politics – certainly not universally loved – but in mourning his passing, Israelis are marking the loss of one of the few public figures left whose career stretched back to the earliest days of their state.

Ariel Sharon’s roots were in the world of Zionist pioneering zeal – he was born between the two world wars in Palestine when it was under British control – to a Jewish couple who had fled to the Holy Land from Belarus.

Ariel Sharon in Sinai (October 1967)Sharon was admired among Israelis for his military exploits

His reputation as an uncompromising and unapologetic defender of his country’s interests dates back to his military career.

He was still a teenager when he fought in the war of 1948 and in his autobiography, fittingly called Warrior, he described intense fighting against soldiers from the Jordanian Arab Legion for control of a crucial police fort on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

He and his men lay in fields ignited by gunfire in the burning heat with water and ammunition running low.

He remained a soldier for many years afterwards, fighting with distinction in Israel’s battles with its Arab enemies in the wars of 1967 and 1973.

He helped set up Unit 101 – a commando detachment whose job was to conduct reprisal operations across the border in Arab territories to retaliate for attacks against Israel.

Such was his reputation as a military commander that some accounts of his army career say he was nicknamed the Lion of God after a particularly daring tactical parachute operation against Egypt in 1967 in the Sinai desert.

Shadow of Lebanon

But already there was a dark undertone. Allegations emerged that Egyptian prisoners had been shot and there were questions at home about whether the operation had been a military necessity.

Fifteen years later, it was another dark episode that brought Ariel Sharon international attention.

Continue reading the main story

Political Career

  • 1973: Elected Knesset member for Likud
  • 1975-77: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s special security adviser
  • 1977-81: Minister of Agriculture
  • 1981-83: Minister of Defence
  • 1984-90: Minister of Trade and Industry
  • 1990-92: Minister of Construction and Housing
  • 1996-98: Minister of National Infrastructure
  • 1998-99: Foreign Minister
  • 2001-2006: Prime Minister
  • 2005: Left Likud to found Kadima

He was minister of defence when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The strategic goal was to bring stability to the country’s northern border by crushing Yasser Arafat’s PLO, which was then holed up in southern Lebanon and Beirut.

But the war was deeply controversial at home as well as in the wider world.

And there was worse too.

Fighters from a Christian militia group which was co-operating closely with the Israelis carried out extensive massacres in Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatilla.

It is likely the names of those camps will be associated with Mr Sharon’s own name as long as the history of that conflict is remembered.

Eventually an Israeli inquiry held that Ariel Sharon was “indirectly responsible” for the killing.

The war cost many lives – Israeli as well as Palestinian and Lebanese – and it casts a long shadow over his historical legacy.

Second intifada

Within Israel Mr Sharon was not finished though.

Long a supporter of the settlers who moved on to the lands Israel captured in the war of 1967 in defiance of international opinion, he saw himself as a natural leader of the Israeli right.

In a volatile place, he could be a provocative figure.

Paul Adams looks back on the life and legacy of Ariel Sharon

In the year 2000, flanked by hundreds of Israeli riot police, he staged a visit to the area of the Old City in Jerusalem which contains sites sacred both to Jews and Muslims – the Temple Mount or Harem al-Sharif.

Even though the area is in the part of East Jerusalem captured by Israel in the war of 1967, Jewish rights to pray there are limited – and it is a microcosm of the tensions that fuel the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

Intense rioting followed his visit there and many people trace the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada to that moment.

Ariel Sharon was characteristically unrepentant.

Bold moves

He became prime minister in 2001, promising to bring peace and security to his country but it was a turbulent period in Israeli politics and he eventually left the governing Likud party to found his own Kadima movement while still in office.

Ariel Sharon in Nitzanim, north of Gaza (May 2005)Sharon pulled Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, a move which divided his supporters

Peace remained elusive then as it is elusive now.

It was on his watch as prime minister that construction of a barrier began with the intention of preventing suicide attacks on Israel from the Palestinian territories.

His supporters would argue that it worked. Its detractors would say it entrenched an already deep sense of separateness.

He did not shy away from bold political moves though. The man who had supported Israeli settlers ordered their removal from Gaza when he decided to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave beside the Mediterranean in 2005.

It was precisely his reputation as a hardliner that allowed him to sell to his supporters a decision with which many felt instinctively uncomfortable.

Not long afterwards, he slipped into the coma from which he was never to emerge and we will never know how he would have followed up that decision or where it might have led.

Ariel Sharon died hated by Israel’s enemies but there are plenty of Israelis who would argue that the depth of that hatred was a measure of the success with which he always defended the country he served.

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8 Female Israeli Soldiers Who Shattered Barriers in 2013

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Women have proudly served in the IDF since the very beginning. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, wrote an impassioned letter to religious communities outlining the necessity of women serving and protecting Israel. Since then, women have taken increasingly high-level positions in the IDF. These female Israeli soldiers challenge stereotypes through the work they do every day. 

1. Lt. Shelly Markheva, IDF Intelligence Commander

Shelly Marhevka is an IDF intelligence commander who keeps watch over Israel’s southern border. In the event of a terrorist infiltration, Shelly and her soldiers are those responsible for detecting and thwarting an attack.

Shelly Markheva

2. Cpl. Dylan Ostrin, Combat Engineering Corps Explosives Expert

Corporal Dylan Ostrin made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from the US at the age of seven with her family. Today, Cpl. Ostrin is an explosives instructor in the Combat Engineering Corps. She teaches all things explosive: from how to handle the explosives themselves to utilizing them in operations, such as gaining access to buildings. She has already begun receiving job offers to work on bomb squads and similar security-related teams both in Israel and abroad.

3. Lt. Amit Danon, Gymnastics Champion & Combat Platoon Commander

Lt. Amit Danon was the Israeli national champion in rhythmic gymnastics when she enlisted in the IDF. After embarking on her path as a soldier, she decided to leave her previous life behind and became a combat officer in the mixed-gender Caracal Battalion. Lt. Danon now leads other soldiers as platoon commander.

karakal4

4. Sgt. Sarit Petersen, Nahal Infantry Brigade Shooting Instructor

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Sgt. Petersen currently serves as a shooting instructor in the Nahal Infantry Brigade. The soldiers she commands range from brand new to advanced; the advanced soldiers are part of the reconnaissance brigade. As a shooting instructor, Sgt. Petersen is responsible for teaching a soldier about weapons and how to use them.

IDF Shooting Instructor Sarit Peterson getting ready to fire

5. First Sgt. Monaliza Abdo, Arab-Israeli Combat Soldier

First Sgt. Monaliza Abdo is an Arab-Israeli woman who proudly served her country as a combat soldier. She wasn’t required to enlist, but her determination to protect Israel motivated her to volunteer. As a fighter on Israel’s southern border, she rose through the ranks to become a commander, teaching soldiers how to combat terrorism and other threats. Just a few weeks ago, she honorably completed three years of service  one more than the required number for Israeli women.

Monaliza

6. Pvt. Or Meidan, Iron Dome Missile Defense System Operator

Or Meidan moved from Uganda to Israel as a teenager. During Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, the area around her kibbutz was pounded by missiles from Gaza. Today, she serves as an operator in the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Kibbutz Hatzerim garin poses for a photo at nahal tekes

7. Sgt. Noa Goren, Commander Working With New Immigrants

Sgt. Noa Goren serves as a commander in the IDF unit responsible for absorbing new immigrant soldiers. “What can unify a squad that is mixed with French, Brazilians, Italians and Australians, if not learning the Hebrew language and sharing one goal?” Noa asks . “I need to consider that these new immigrants are arriving frightened, and it is my responsibility to know where to start and how to begin working with them.”

noa goren8. Lt. Col. Dr. Hadar Marom, Director of Family Medicine, IDF Medical Corps, and Doctor, IDF Delegation to the Philippines

Lt. Col. Dr. Hadar Marom wanted to be a doctor ever since she was a child. This year, she served on the IDF team that saved lives in the Philippines after a devastating typhoon hit the country. “I’m proud to be part of the delegation, and proud of the work that we’re doing,” she says. “I feel satisfied that we managed to help people in their hour of need.”

Hadar Marom

Related posts:

Analysis: Examining the future of the IDF

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Does Israel’s air force have a self-inflicted monopoly on firepower, should the IDF reassess and be investing more in special forces & cyber-ops, or are boots on the ground what is essential in winning a war?

As the Middle East becomes ever more anarchic and unpredictable, a group of high-ranking former and current military figures gathered at Bar-Ilan University this week for what would turn out to be one of the liveliest and frank public debates on the future of the IDF ever held.

BESA

The conference, called IDF Force Structure, was organized by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and Israel Defense magazine, and contained two panels of speakers, each of which used their rich personal experience in the security world to build up deep and well-founded arguments on how Israel should tailor its armed forces in the first quarter of the 21st century.

The former navy chief, R.-Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, used the opportunity to say that the Israel Air Force enjoys an unreasonable monopoly over the IDF’s firepower. The monopoly was in fact dangerous, Marom said, since an unpredictable challenge to air power would severely limit Israel’s ability to direct long-range fire at enemy targets.

“If something happens to the air force, like it did during the Yom Kippur War, there won’t be firepower directed at the depth of the enemy’s territory,” he warned.

Most of the IDF’s guided weapons systems are launched autonomously these days, and it would be easy to spread out the weapons more evenly among the air force, ground forces, and navy, Marom said.

Israeli Dolphin class submarine (left) courtesy IDF Spokesperson's Unit, picture of a nuclear-armed Harpoon missile launched from a Dolphin-class submarine (right).

Israeli Dolphin class submarine (left) courtesy IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, picture of a nuclear-armed Harpoon missile launched from a Dolphin-class submarine (right).

The ex-navy commander cast doubt on the idea that squadrons of fighter jets have to take off every time a target needs destroying. “It would not be a problem at all,” he said, to direct surface-to-surface missile fire when needed.

In truth, senior elements in the IDF agree with Marom’s analysis, believing that the navy can and should play a bigger supporting role in ground combat.

Navy vessels should serve as floating guided- weapon launch pads. That said, they still regard the air force as Israel’s supreme strategic branch.

In the IDF’s coming four-year working plan, called Teuza (Hebrew for “valor”; the plan is awaiting government approval), the air force and its guided weaponry appear to take second place in the military’s priority list. Intelligence would appear to be in first place.

The air force continues to be perceived as the most effective operational tool for strategic gains in war.

Ground forces hold third place in the priority list, and are seen as an inseparable component of an Israeli victory in any full-scale war.

Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit during exercise – Photo courtesy: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Moreover, the navy might find itself playing additional, classified roles that could be game-changers in a future conflict.

During his address, Marom paid tribute to the IDF’s networking capabilities, in which the three branches – air, ground and navy – and their various platforms are merged into one. In effect, this means that today, an infantry battalion commander can order an attack on a target in Gaza by simultaneously employing missiles on navy ships and tank fire.

Yet with all due respect to technology, Marom pointed out, “in the end, in order to win, we need boots – with human legs in them – on the ground.”

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, deputy head in the reserves of the IDF’s Depth Corps, presented one of the most fascinating and radical visions during his address. Hersch argued that technological advances and regional changes have prepared the ground for a second revolution in military affairs (the first occurring in the late 1970s to the early 1980s).

Faced mainly with enemies that know no limits, and which employ terrorism, guerrillas or subversion rather than organized military forces, Israel now has to create its own surprise force, Hirsch said.

He showed a graphic of a floating iceberg, and then a second image, in which an intricate matrix of wires, signals and colors pulsed inside the iceberg.

“What you see is not the whole picture. We need to know what is happening underneath the iceberg,” he explained.

“We need capabilities and forces that know how to exit the frame,” Hirsch said, adding that a combination of secret services, commando units and special forces fit the bill.

Creating a force based on what Hirsch described as the “Six Cs,” command and control, computing, intelligence, surveillance, cyber and special forces, would make the IDF “far more effective.”

Photo: News outlets around the world are publishing their 'people of the year' for 2013. Who are ours? Our sons, our brothers, our friends - our soldiers who work 24/7 to protect our home. This year, the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion received the Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in recognition of their hard work protecting all of Israel, especially the north, which is under constant threat. We are proud, and feel confident knowing that they are watching over us.The Golani Reconnaissance Battalion received the Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in recognition of their hard work protecting all of Israel – Photo courtesy: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Amir Rapaport, editor-in-chief of Israel Defense magazine and a member of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, noted the intensive debate being held in the IDF on whether to prioritize firepower, or ground maneuver capabilities.

A lack of training and proficiency in basic skills, neglect of ground forces and a failure to invest in armored vehicles led to systemic failures during the Second Lebanon War, Rapaport noted, adding that the IDF repaired these shortcomings between 2007 and 2011.

Now, he said, some of this work is being undone.

According to Rapaport, in the coming years, cyber warfare capabilities will be at the top of the IDF’s its priority list – higher even than the air force.

“If there is a recruit suitable to become either a pilot or a cyber-operator, he will be sent to be a cyber-operator,” Rapaport said. The Intelligence Unit 8200, which according to reports, runs cyber war programs, can inflict as much damage with the press of a button that paratroopers can with weapons, he said.

Intelligence-gathering units are next on the list of priorities, enjoying an enormous budget, followed by the air force, which is due to receive the F-35 fighter jet in the coming years.

But budget cuts will affect numbers of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs), tank units and ground forces combat training. “I’m not sure there will be enough AFVs in the next clash,” Rapaport said.

Rapaport’s concerns for the future of the ground forces are well-founded.

The Ground Force Command’s special staff, who oversee key functions, have experienced a 20-percent budget cut in 2013-2014. When combat units resume training programs this year, the drills will be limited to frontline fighting forces.

Combat support units will not train much – if at all – unless the IDF’s budget is increased again in 2015.

Conscripted soldiers this year will spend nine months carrying out operational duties, before holding short war-training exercises, and returning to normal duty.

Nevertheless, in the eyes of army brass, robust ground maneuvering capacities remain a vital component in Israel’s ability to strike deep in enemy territory, making conflicts short, and, unlike past clashes, making an Israeli victory appear convincing.

The current cuts appear to be guided by an element of risk management for the coming year, rather than a permanent downgrading of ground forces.

During the panel, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avigdor Klein, former Armored Corps chief officer, argued in favor of cutting back on armored vehicles, saying that such tools were becoming increasingly irrelevant.

He supports focusing more on firepower, and less on ground maneuver force build-up.

With no current existential threats facing Israel, and enemies seeking to inflict damage on Israel’s civilian sector, the IDF should focus on being able to strike the enemy’s infrastructure, weapons and commanders, while minimizing harm to Israeli civilian casualties and noncombatant deaths on the other side of the border.

“I very much agree with the reduction [of heavy vehicles]. What will remain constitutes an enormous core [of military forces] in comparison to other armies in the world,” Klein said.

Maj.-Gen. Meir Kalifi, former military secretary to the prime minister, said Israel should seek to build a flexible military, guided by its capabilities, rather than trying to design the IDF according to a forecast of future developments. Strategic and security forecasts are less relevant now than ever, he argued.

Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen, current corps commander of the General Staff, looked at how differing cultures play a part in military force build-ups, and offered some salient perspectives.

Whatever technical advantage Israel develops, hostile Arab entities like Hamas and Hezbollah will work to neutralize them, he said, turning disadvantages into advantages. Israel’s enemies adapt quickly, and leverage their inferior strategic conditions as tools against the Jewish state. Recent examples include Hamas’s movement of human shields to rooftops of buildings designated for destruction via air strike.

“When we identify a problem, we look for a technical solution. We think like graduates of a business school. They focus on primitive adaption, and then watch how it creates a new situation,” Hacohen said.