Brigade 551 exercise
Brigade 551 exerciseIDF spokesperson

At the end of a week of training commanders in the IDF's 551st reservist brigade, the brigade commander, Col. Ephraim Avni, tells Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about the challenges in the north and the lessons learned from the incident in the Egoz special forces unit in which two soldiers were killed by friendly fire.

Avni is proud of the brigade's officers, who leave their daily routine behind when called for reserve duty. "I know the officers will do anything to succeed. There's a reason why they leave families and come for fifty or sixty days a year to succeed and to be best prepared."

The commander tells of how new threats are always developing on the northern border: "Drone warfare is stepping up a notch and the enemy has developed better firepower than we have seen so far, so our brigade needs to be prepared and practiced. We were in the Golan Heights this week, and are now moving to the Shlomi area. Anything can happen, and our commanders must be able to go from zero to one hundred when the day comes."

The IDF is drawing lessons from the disaster in the Egoz unit, in which the late Major Itamar Elharar and the late Major Ofek Aharon were shot by a fellow IDF officer. "One of the first things we did was to try and study and learn from the incident. We can never say 'that won't happen to me."

The unit commander tells us that the reserve brigade includes veterans of many special forces units: "My mission is to create a common language between them all. There are sometimes gaps and differences, but training as we have this week, together with improving personal ability, brings the brigade to be the best in the army."

The brigade commander has an important message for the Israeli public: "The reservists are the State of Israel's insurance policy. Thanks to them, we can be sure that when the next war comes, we will win."