The sources said the military has been working on the assumption that
within hours of hostilities Israel would be struck by missile and rocket
salvos from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. They said both Hamas and Hizbullah
were amassing huge arsenals designed to strike Israeli cities, military
bases and critical facilities.
All services of the military are training and
preparing for the outbreak of hostilities that could turn into a multi-front
war against Israel. The sources said the assessment was that Iran and Syria
would employ Hamas or Hizbullah in the opening stage of what could rapidly
become a wider war that would include massive missile attacks.
"Hizbullah is expanding its arsenal and improving rocket accuracy,"
Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, a leading military planner, said.
In the 2006 war, Hizbullah missiles and rockets were said to have struck
five percent of their targets in Israel. The Hizbullah ratio was expected to
increase in any future war.
"In the next war, there will probably be a 95 percent target hit,"
Christopher King, director of force protection at the U.S. company Raytheon,
As a result, the military has expanded its exercise schedule in 2010 for
the Army, Navy and Air Force. The sources said a key goal was to
significantly enhance air assault operations that would combine Army and Air
"The idea is for rapid response, deployment and retaliation," a senior
military source said. "Israel cannot afford to spend weeks fighting a rocket
The sources said the military has increased efforts to protect Israeli
cities from missile and rocket attacks to ensure the rapid mobilization of
the reserves. They said the military was pressing for additional missile and
rocket defense assets, particularly the Iron Dome short-range interception
"Hizbullah's dream is to maintain an army of at least 40,000 men,"
Israeli military analyst Alex Fishman said. "Today it has less than half
of that, and the increase it aspires for requires a compromise on manpower
The Israeli military has been dispersing its logistics and weapons to
prevent their destruction in an Iranian or Syrian missile attack. Officials
said Iran and Syria have intensified efforts to identify key Israeli
"Over the last two years, the Israel Defense Forces has been performing
wide-scale efforts to examine the best way to protect its military
equipment, including ammunitions, weapons, fuel and any other equipment
meant to serve the army during war," Brig. Gen. Nissim Peretz, head of the
army's logistics division, said.
The military has determined that Iran and Syria would try to avoid an
open confrontation with Israel. Instead, the sources asserted that both
countries would use Hamas, Hizbullah and other proxies to launch a missile
war that would include the Scud-class ballistic missiles.
"I call the summer of 2010 the tipping point for the Middle East,"
[Ret.] U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely said. "This could change the whole
chessboard over there."