TEL AVIV (Aug. 23)
Israel’s regional defense system, testing the speed, efficiency and morale of not only members of the armed services but civilian reserves as well, got under way today with impressive exercises in the ancient Judean hills, starting a series of summer maneuvers.
An army of “Greens,” representing a foreign power, attacked in the hills. The attack was directed against an important urban center surrounded by a number of agricultural settlements which include not only old Israeli settlers but also relatively new residents, some of them freshly-arrived immigrants. The objective was to see whether the defending forces, the “Blues,” could stem the attack through civilian defense, holding up the attack long enough for the regular troops to arrive.
Showing what the military commanders here called “exemplary morale,” the defenders mobilized with great speed. Men and women left their work in the fields. Factory workers and office personnel joined the “Blue” defenders. One settlement was the center of attack. Three times the defenders threw back the “Greens.” On the fourth attempt, the “Greens” did take the settlement, but only after bringing up overwhelming fire power.
The summer maneuvers are attracting a great deal of attention. Thousands of soldiers are involved, and vast numbers of civilians and members of the armed reserves. Other tests will be made during the maneuvers. There will be exercises in the North, and others in the Negev Desert in the South, involving Israel’s Navy, Air Force and armored units.