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As security cabinet meets for war drill, Netanyahu says Israel 'can handle any threat on our own'

Large-scale drill – 'Firm Hand' - meant to simulate conflict with Iran on multiple fronts

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the security Cabinet participate in the 'Firm Hand' military drill, June 4, 2023 (Photo: Haim Zach/GPO)

The Israeli Security cabinet met at Kirya base in Tel Aviv on Sunday to participate in a military drill simulating a multi-front conflict.

The security cabinet’s participation in the two-week large-scale military exercise is intended to simulate political decision-making in a possible future multi-front war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet that they must be able to react quickly to complex decisions that a war would present. 

“We must be able, if possible, to make swift decisions on critical questions the cabinet would face, in advance, " Netanyahu said. "This is the purpose of this drill.” 

The “Firm Hand” drill brings together all aspects of Israel Defense Forces branches – Army, Navy and Air Force – and will replicate Israeli strikes deep into enemy territory, as well as practice defending Israeli territory from attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends IDF 'Firm Hand' exercise at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv , May 31, 2023 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

While government officials said the drill was pre-scheduled and not in response to any current event, many believe the drills serve as preparation for a future strike against Iran and any other resulting aggression.

“We are obliged to act against the Iranian nuclear, against the missile attacks against the state of Israel and against the possibility of multiple arenas,” Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting.

The prime minister also hinted at the diminished role the United States has taken in the Middle East, stating, “We are confident we can handle any threat on our own.”

The U.S. Biden administration has not presented a clear Middle East policy and many analysts believe that recent developments, like the Iran-Saudi rapprochement and the United Arab Emirate’s withdrawal from the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces alliance, indicate that Middle Eastern countries are reevaluating their relationship with the U.S. in light Washington’s lesser role.

“The reality in our region is changing rapidly. We are not stagnating. We are adjusting our war doctrine and our options of action in accordance with these changes, in accordance with our goals which do not change,” Netanyahu told the cabinet.

This year’s Firm Hand drill follows last year’s “Chariots of Fire” drill, which focused predominantly on threats from the North, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian forces in Syria.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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