SINCE the outbreak of the coronavirus, the number one priority of the IDF has been clear – “remain combat ready [with] the ability to continue to defend borders north, south, east, Gaza, on ground, underground, in the air and at sea,” explained IDF international spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus.
Addressing media in a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies online briefing on Tuesday, Conricus illustrated some of the many IDF efforts against the pandemic.
The Naval Commando Unit, Shayetet 13 have used their experience in scuba diving to compress oxygen gas into containers to aid those ailed by the effects of COVID-19, he said, while a DNA laboratory set up for identifying the remains of fallen soldiers was transformed to facilitate more than 6000 COVID-19 tests for IDF soldiers.
Deeming collaborative initiatives with Israeli-Arab communities “a very positive experience”, Conricus said the IDF has also been working with the Palestinian Authority to coordinate efforts, provide personal protection gear and disinfectants, train medical personnel and supply medicine. Turning to Gaza, Conricus explained Israel has been facilitating international aid into the enclave, ensuring the transfer of goods continues unabated.
But, “our enemies haven’t stopped”, he declared, sharing details of terror activities that have persisted despite COVID-19, with damage to the security fence found at three locations along the Blue Line with Lebanon last month.
With Iran further entrenching itself in Syria, Conricus spoke on the increased “severe” threats posed on the northern and north-eastern fronts, saying, “We are tracking all those activities and we are taking steps to mitigate them. We’re not waiting for the UN or anybody else to stop the Iranians from threatening us, but it is a serious situation that has serious possible ramifications for the region.”