Former brigadier commander and current Military Secretary Brigadier-General Eliezer Toledano participated on Sunday in a conference held at the Kfar Etzion Field School.
The conference, which was attended by more than 200 people, focused on scouting and hiking education.
Toledano, who led Operation Brother's Keeper, took the opportunity to discuss the search for the three missing boys in summer 2014.
"One of the lessons we learned from Operation Brother's Keeper was that our soldiers suffer greatly from their lack of familiarity with the land. I therefore decided to start a scouting course for paratroopers," Toledano said. "The course lasted approximately four weeks, and aimed to produce professional scouts who would be able to help company commanders work more efficiently. We cannot completely close the gaps between our soldiers and the area around them, but we can minimize the gaps as much as possible."
He also emphasized that the army needs to consider hiking tours as a valuable training exercise which familiarizes the soldiers with the land.
"Only when we are familiar with the land of Israel can we properly connect to the land and know how and why we need to protect it," he said.
Pais CEO Uzi Dayan spoke about the weak connection between today's youth and the land of Israel.
"Most of the youth is not connected to the land. They spend much more of their time on smartphones. But we can't complain, that's the way the world works.
"Still, we need to find ways to connect our children to their surroundings and their land. Parents need to take much more responsibility for their children, and this is true for the educational system as well. We need to create a situation in which the youth is much more connected to and familiar with the land and the landscapes around them," Dayan said.
Kfar Etzion Field School Principal Yaron Rosenthal, who helped lead the search for the missing boys, said, "Only because we were so familiar with the landscape, and we were good scouts, did we succeed in finding the boys. We saw a suspicious area, which looked as if it had been disturbed, and we concentrated our efforts there. That's how we found the boys' grave. We might have continued searching for several more days, had we not properly trained our scouts in school."