IDF Battalion 'Tip of Spear' in Future Hezbollah War

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GOLAN HEIGHTS, Israel -- Israel must always be prepared for war. Danger awaits the Jewish state across each border and fighting in Syria makes the north an area of concern.

CBN News got a rare look at The Herev (Sword) Battalion's live-fire exercise.

The battalion specializes in fighting in the northern terrain. In a future war, they'll be the first ones to cross the border. For example, in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, they were the first ones in and the last ones out.

Lt. Col. Shadi Fares is the battalion commander who oversaw the live-fire exercise.

"The goal of the training is to improve the service of the battalion for war, focusing on the battlefield terrain similar to Lebanon against Hezbollah," Fares told CBN News.

For two days and nights, the battalion commander put them through a series of surprise scenarios, maneuvers, and then threw the soldiers into the middle of a mock battle that included tanks and live ammunition.

"We came here to the Golan Heights and performed live-fire exercises," Fares explained. "With all of the preparation, we will be ready to face Hezbollah."

For the Israel Defense Forces, preparing for war is a way of life.

"We should always be ready," artillery officer Lt. Oz Franco told CBN News. "This is one of the reasons we are making this exercise."

Hezbollah is now deeply involved in Syria's civil war, fighting for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It's been weakened, but still represents a formidable enemy for Israel.

Israeli Intelligence estimates Hezbollah has 50,000 rockets in its arsenal. A few thousand of those rockets could reach Tel Aviv.

The Herev Battalion would likely be the tip of the spear in a future war with Hezbollah.

It's made up completely of Israeli citizens from the Druze religion. Druze speak Arabic and are considered very patriotic. Many fight not just because they're soldiers, but because they're family men, like Lt. Moner Hamood.

"If I look toward the Lebanese border, I can see my house in my village," Hamood told CBN News. "I'm protecting my own home and family. That's why I'm here," he explained.

"I am a married man with two children providing them with everything, even my life so they will be happy," he continued. "When I look at my soldiers, I'm ready to do whatever it takes for them and my family."

No one knows when a war may break out on Israel's northern border, but for now this unit will serve as Israel's eyes and ears in the north -- their watchmen on the wall.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.