Are Israel's Military Drills Preparation for an Iran Strike?

The IDF military drills taking place this week were planned a long time ago, but as they occurred alongside a public debate on a strike on Iran, there are some who seek to maximize their gains.

It is important to note that the drills and tests of recent days, and those expected to take place in the coming days, were all planned months ago.

The test-firing of a ballistic missile on Wednesday at the Palmahim Israel Defense Forces base in central Israel would not have been possible without a long and complex process of serious planning and rigorous safety standards; The joint drill with the Italian Air Force last week over Sardinia could not have occurred without extensive pre-planning with the Italians. The drill planned for Thursday in Holon, simulating a rocket attack on Gush Dan, was scheduled a long time ago by the Home Front Command.

An IAF helicopter
Tal Cohen

However, one cannot ignore the proximity of these events, together with the continuing operational work on the Iron Dome systems in Gaza and in northern Israel, the acceleration of the Magic Wand and Arrow 3 defense systems – and naturally the public discourse over the last few days concerning the possibility of a strike on Iran.

All these elements – with differing degrees of planning - provide the background music in a concert of a military apparatus preparing for a possible large-scale operation. Even if the decision to attack Iran has not yet been made, and despite opposition by senior security officials, the IDF's task – and that of the rest of the security and intelligence bodies – is to provide the decision-making level with the maximum number of operational options and the offensive and defensive options.

The speed in which events are unfolding, and the advancement of the IDF and military industries' development and training programs, often result in such a combination – drills simulating long-range attacks and drills simulating missile attacks on population centers. Such coincidences have occurred quite often in the past, and they will happen again in the future.

Yet when such a coincidence occurs alongside a whirlwind of news and an unprecedented public discussion concerning the decision-making process at the top echelon of Israel's political-military pyramid, it is hard to ignore the feeling that there are some elements who are trying these days to highlight every drill and maximize their gains.