The IDF has relocated a drill simulating battles against Hezbollah, which was to take place in the city of Umm al-Fahm, to open areas nearby, following Mayor Samir Sobhi Mahamed’s appeal to Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The Yediot Aharonot newspaper had reported that the drill of the 162nd Armor Division was scheduled to take place next week in the Umm al-Fahm area, but the Defense Minister instructed the Chief of Staff to change the plans.
The decision was met with anger by the local commanders, who argued that the IDF did not need to change its plans because of the inconvenience caused to the Mayor and that this indicates a problem in understanding the need for a demonstration of governance in the Umm al-Fahm area as well.
"During the month of drills, one of them was also planned in the Umm al-Fahm area. In accordance with the municipality's request, the necessary adjustments were made in the outline of the drill, including bypassing the city and practicing in the mountainous and rural area. There has been no change in the goals and achievements of the drill as defined and planned in advance," the IDF said.
About six months ago, the IDF conducted an exercise in Umm al-Fahm that angered the residents, but the army continued with its plans and carried the drill out as planned.
The Torat Lechima organization responded, "It is delusional that the IDF is fleeing entire areas within the State of Israel. If a drill fails in this manner even before it began, what will happen during a war? It is inconceivable that supporters of terrorism, in a city from which terrorists went out to murder police officers and soldiers, determine for the IDF where it should go. No wonder this is the case, with terrorists sitting in the Bennett-Gantz-Lapid government. The bad government will soon fall, and the next government will have to lead a deep correction in the leadership of the army."