Photo Credit: Yossi Aloni / Flash 90
Israeli police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where synagogues and cars were torched as well as shops damaged, by Arab residents who rioted in the city. May 12, 2021.

In the next war, the IDF will mobilize reserve forces that will act in the civilian sector, to ensure that the army’s activities and movements will not be disrupted by elements from among the Israeli-Arab population.

During Operation Guardian of the Walls this past May – the 11-day mini-war with Hamas, Gaza’s Iranian proxy rulers – there were widespread riots and violent attacks in mixed cities with local Israeli Arabs targeting Jewish residents.

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There were also numerous terrorist attacks by Israeli Arabs on major arteries and near sensitive sites, including military bases.

It is believed this may be repeated – or even expanded – during Israel’s next war, including attempts to disrupt the movement of military forces and infiltrate military bases in order to attack soldiers and sabotage sensitive equipment. Hezbollah has been trying to smuggle weapons to Israeli Arabs to use in the next war.

“We are focused on offense but may pay a heavy price on defense, which will disrupt our offensive plans,” a senior IDF officer told the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom news outlet.

The IDF will be required to move many soldiers to the north and south in the next war, but since there are a limited number of arteries through which that is possible, the transfer of forces is vulnerable to attack.

As the IDF prepares for the next war, a new three-part plan has been formulated:
1. Transfer Border Guard Police forces immediately upon the outbreak of the next conflict, with the IDF mobilizing reserve forces to take their place in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

2. Because police will be preoccupied with security in Israeli cities, reducing the ability to secure areas around the bases, Home Front Command reserve forces will immediately be called up once hostilities break out. These soldiers will escort and secure convoys and arteries to ensure freedom of movement.

3. It will also be necessary during the next war to increase the police forces to deal with domestic security, without using uniformed soldiers, in order to ensure calm within Israeli territory and thus secure the free movement of IDF forces to the various fronts. This may include curfews on Arab villages and towns in which civilians are likely to attempt to disrupt the movement of IDF troops and equipment.

One of the key lessons from Operation Guardian of the Walls was the need to make the above moves quickly, right from the start of the campaign. The IDF will be required to rapidly reinforce troops at the front – which requires extensive mobilization of forces from all over Israel.

“We must prepare for it now so there will be no surprises in the future,” the senior officer said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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