The Israel Defense Forces called up six battalions of reservists and deployed them along the borders with Syria and Egypt. This event, like many before it, suggests that Israel is afraid that the Arabs will re-invade them.
Israel reserve call-up
Normally, the Tzahal (literally, Defensive Armies of Israel) can call up any one unit of troops one year in three. They can also call them up for short training sessions in the in-between years.
But The Times of Israel reports that Rav Aluf Benny Gantz, IDF chief of staff, demanded and got authority from the Knesset to call up 22 reserve battalions on an emergent basis. He has called up six of them, and might call up the other sixteen. (See also here.)
Last month, the IDF canceled a tribute to reservists, and then a short-term training session. The reports on both stories blamed “budget cuts.” But now Rav Aluf Gantz has called up more troops to active duty.
Sources told The Times of Israel that Rav Aluf Gantz is plainly worried about Egypt and Syria. He might have good reason. The Egyptian regular army has almost lost control of the Sinai. Arab infiltrators got into the Negev last August and attacked a loaded bus before the IDF killed them. Some of the infiltrators wore Egyptian uniforms.
In Syria, 10 people living in a farming village died from mortar fire from government forces. A UN observer on the scene told the Associated Press that both sides (government and opposition forces) have violated the cease-fire that should have taken effect on April 12.
Even earlier, Rav Aluf Gantz canceled all leaves and passes for Passover. Passover is almost as important as the Day of Atonement in Israel. At that time, many observers wondered whether Gantz was getting ready to order a bombing raid against Iran. He didn’t do that, but said then that he wanted his troops ready for action.
Also last month, rumors, that CNAV could never conform, said that Egyptian troops had massed along the Camp David Treaty Line. According to those rumors, they were ready to cross as soon as the Muslim Brotherhood got a man elected President who would, Nasser-like, give the word.
Contacts in Israel, including archaeologists and others familiar with the region, could not verify any of this. But the commanding general in Israel would not call up reserve troops, when the country can barely afford to train them, without good reason.
Israel has already celebrated its Independence Day, according to the Hebrew calendar. But the Arabs mark that event on the Gregorian calendar. So they will mark Naqba (literally, “Catastrophe”) Day on May 14. So perhaps Gantz wants to be ready to meet any riot threat on that day, and on Naksa (“Setback”) Day on June 5, the anniversary of the Six-day War. (Israel will also mark Jerusalem Day on May 20. That is the anniversary, in the Hebrew calendar, of the Battle of East Jerusalem in the middle of the Six-day War.)
But why deploy the extra troops along the border? Why not deploy them instead in the “West Bank” region, where riots might most likely break out?
One deploys troops along a border to repel an invasion. That invasion could come from “irregulars,” meaning the sort of men who infiltrated the border in August of last year, or the rag-tag mobs who tried to storm the fences near the Golan Heights. Or it could come from regulars.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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