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March 4, 2015 11:55 am

IDF Chief Says Israel Must Meet Maritime Threats

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Israel's INS Dolphin submarine. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said Israel needs to take more action against maritime threats. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Israeli Naval Academy held its 130th graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Welcoming the new naval officers, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the past few years “have seen the Middle East change in a way that mandated the IDF and its troops change with it.”

“The sea is a significant part of Israel’s national and economic resilience, as it holds natural resources that allow the state to continue developing its strength,” Eizenkot said. “Nevertheless, it also harbors dangers and threats by enemies who wish to harm us. … We have to meet these maritime threats—it is the only way for us to realize the full mission of the Israel Defense Forces. The navy is pivotal to our success as a military and as a state.”

The next class of Israeli Naval Academy cadets will have the option of specialized submarine training, ahead of the arrival of new submarines.

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Lt. N., who graduated on Tuesday, told Israel Hayom, “I realized I would be assigned to submarine duty only a year and four months after my training began. At the end of this course I may be certified to be stationed on a submarine, but I’m less familiar with my specific role, which is why I now have to go through specialized training.” The newly minted officer has been assigned to the INS Tanin, which is the newest addition to the Israeli Navy’s submarine fleet.

The Israeli Navy recently installed the AquaShield Diver Detection Sonar system, which makes it possible to identify individual divers underwater from a far greater distance off the coast. The new detection system is expected to prevent situations like one that transpired during Operation Protective Edge last summer, when a small group of Hamas naval commandos managed to approach the Israeli coast from the sea and went undetected by military surveillance until the group reached the shore.

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