For the first time in IDF history, three officers were involved in the UN's peacekeeping courses. Coming soon: The IDF and the Foreign Ministry are anticipated to send representatives to similar courses around the world, thus allowing Israeli forces to participate in UN peacekeeping missions around the world
Capt. Karine Azri was sent in May to a UN course in Sweden. The course included 43 officers from 21 countries, including Japan, Lebanon, Albania, Mongolia, Germany, and Togo. Additionally, Capt. Stephan Cohen was sent not long ago to Croatia for an international observers' course. There were 24 participants in the course, most of them Croatian. Lt. Col. Shai Har-Tzvi of the Strategic Planning, Liaison, and Foreign Relations Division of the IDF assisted the officers in their studies.
We were informed that the instruction branch of the UN peacekeeping forces has already sent out invitations for two additional officers to participate in peacekeeping courses in the upcoming months, one in Finland and one in Sweden.
Political sources said that there is great significance to the continued integration of Israelis in UN peacekeeping missions, as part of Israel's growing participation in the UN in general. "This doesn't mean that tomorrow morning Israeli officers will already function as peacekeepers in UN missions, but it opens a door for integration of IDF forces in such missions in the future," said a source in Jerusalem.
It should be noted that the UN is very interested in Israel's involvement in this capacity and, in the past, had requested that Israel send forces to high-tension areas around the world.
Another important bonus of peacekeeping involvement: it will allow the IDF to participate in UN auctions for the sale of security equipment to peacekeeping forces.