Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Israeli reserve soldiers seen in military training drill. (archive)

The Israel Defense Forces warned Sunday that the military is faced with a significant shortage of medical supplies, at least in part due to the war in Ukraine.

That shortage could jeopardize operational readiness in the next ground war, IDF officials said, with just 50 to 60 percent of the military’s needs met by existing medical equipment.

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The IDF launched a massive military drill on Sunday in northern Israel that is aimed at simulating a war with Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. The drill is expected to last until Tuesday.

In the last few months, the IDF Medical Corps demanded — and received — a budget of NIS 7 million ($2 million) to be able increase its medical supplies and meet those needs. But it’s not just about money — it’s also about availability.

“It is a very complex market,” a spokesperson for the military said. “We’ve instituted reforms that would extend expiration time, and while there are still significant gaps, the regular brigades are operational and fully equipped with medical supplies, even if a war breaks tomorrow,” an IDF spokesperson said, according to Ynet.

“If in the past, a European pharmaceutical manufacturer had supplied us with medical equipment within a month, nowadays, it could take long months to arrive, because this equipment is in high demand due to the war in Ukraine,” he said.

Equipment to facilitate field surgery, drugs for anesthesia and other medical issues, plus basic medical supplies were all on the list of inadequate supplies.

Equipment that does exist is approaching its expiration date, military officials warned, adding that things that are due to expire were being moved to current operational units.

However, the main concern is how such a shortage could affect the troops in a future war.

“Our priority is to supply the regular active duty brigades, but we are also able to provide the reserve forces with the equipment within a short period of time, in case of an emergency,” the IDF spokesperson 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.