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Protecting the eyes of Israel in any weather

CM 13/04/2021

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The beginning of April is usually cold, but sunny, at Hermon Mountain. But a surprise waited for combat warriors of the Tzabar Battalion of the Givati Brigade — a snowstorm, that covered the tallest mountain in Israel.The battalion was posted there last month, and its mission is to protect one of the most valuable assets for Israel’s security — the place that was dubbed as the “eyes of the country.””It is not just a nickname. When the air is clear, you can see Damascus from here — and they can see us. They said that [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad can see us from his presidential palace,” Lt. Ido Volovovic, a deputy company commander in the battalion, told the Jerusalem Post, in an interview at the highest IDF military post on the Hermon. “So one of our main missions is to make sure they know that were are here,” he said.The Hermon, which is mostly known as a tourism site where Israelis go skiing, has several military posts, located above the tourism site. In order to get there, the combat warriors rely on the snow clearing unit, which operates heavy machinery to pave the routes up the to posts and to carry soldiers and supply to them.The three main missions of the battalion situated on the mountain are to protect the tourists visiting the site, to protect the border, and tם defend the intelligence facilitates located on top of it.Volovovic said that despite the hard weather that came by surprise, his company keeps carrying out its mission.“Though we are not used to it, there are no excuses,” Volvovic said. “Even if there’s heavy snow, and we barely see, we keep manning our position and carrying out our routine tasks.”

Volvovic noted that the threats his force are facing range from mortars to snipers.“We are ready to face all these scenarios. There’s a reason that my company was placed here — we come with a range of abilities and qualities that make us fit to carry out this task.”The Hermon battalion is one of three in the 474 Regional Brigade, in charge of protecting the area of the Golan Heights, and the border with Syria.While most eyes are focused on the Lebanese border, the main mission of the 474 brigades is “to prevent southern Syria from becoming southern Lebanon,” as a source in the brigade said.Essentially, the brigade combats the Iranian entrenchment in southern Syria and acts to prevent Iran, Hezbollah, and other proxies from using the poor border communities for actions against Israel.Only in the past year, there were two incidents in which IEDs were put near the border, and forces from the brigade thwarted that attack.The brigade also faces the threat of shepherds, who are used to collect intelligence and carry out attacks along the border.In the area of the Hermon, the terrain does not allow building a fence. A major part of Volvovic’s battalion is making sure that no one crosses.“We are the fence,” he said. “We have our own means and tools, which we use to prevent infiltrations. We work with the observation unit and other forces in the area, and due to this cooperation, we manage to protect the border,” he said.
Source: Jerusalem Post

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