Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the Shizafon Armor Corps' training base in southern Israel on Tuesday, where they observed an officers' course drill simulating a joint Armor, Infantry Engineering and Artillery corps operation, complete with aerial assistance, meant to take a Syrian village.
"Future comprehensive operations will not resemble Operation Cast Lead, but will be designed to go deeper and wider and to take more chances," Barak told the cadets.
"We will do everything we can to avoid such things, but when they happen you will be ready for them and able to win."
Despite the means at their disposal, Barak told the cadets that "things won't look like this at war. Combat has a way of going wrong, even if you prepare for it. At the end of the day, not everything comes out as planned during war and the battle is often decided by tenacity and courage. When a commander is out there alone with his troops, they must strive to win."
IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Dan Harel, who was also present for the drill, added that "Israel may be small, but it carries the same might as a superpower."
Netanyahu, in a slightly more nostalgic mood, told the cadets that the visit reminded him of his years in Sayeret Matkal – the IDF's elite Special Forces unit: "The smell of explosives and walking on the ground here reminds me that is wasn’t so long ago that the defense minister and I were young soldiers."
"I have seen the soldiers' determination, especially those who were hurt (during the Gaza offensive) and wanted to return to the battlefield with their bandages. Keep improving your abilities and keep your spirits up," said Netanyahu.