Israel-Gaza War, Northern Front

Defense Ministry Establishes New Administrative Division to Strengthen Northern Civilian Areas

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced the establishment of a new administrative division called "Ofek Tzfoni" to strengthen civilian infrastructure, security, and more.

Defense Ministry conference. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)

At the end of a situational assessment on the subject of the civilian rear, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant decided to establish an administrative division within the Defense Ministry entitled “Ofek Tzfoni” or Northern Horizon.

The division would be responsible for strengthening the civilian infrastructure of local governments, improving security components of northern settlements including increasing the size of security response teams and arming them, restoring infrastructures harmed during the fighting, and completely realizing the government decision to complete the “Northern Shield” project for fortifying settlements up to nine kilometers from the Lebanese border.

Fortifying settlements up to nine kilometers from the Lebanese border. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)

This decision was made in light of the recommendation of Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir; the head of the administration and its modus operandi are set to be decided in the coming days. The administration will work with local governments and the IDF, and its decisions will be made in accordance with the situational assessment, alongside an increase in the forces operating in the northern area.

In addition, a recommendation will be placed before the cabinet to expand the authorities of the Tekumah administrative division to deal with all civilian areas in the north as well and the importance of conducting the elections for local government on the date set – 30.1.2024, as a message strengthening stability and national continuity.

The Defense Minister spoke at the discussion, saying that “in light of the complexity in the north, and our desire to create conditions to return the residents to their homes, the first action that needs to be done is to take care of everything happening in the settlements, to protect them, to act within the settlements for functioning life, for protecting the routes, for rebuilding infrastructures.”

“In order to provide a correct response in the north, we will establish the Ofek Tzfoni administrative division within the Defense Ministry. The administration will strengthen the security response, improve the civilian infrastructure and security components: reinforcement and equipping of security response teams, adding security components in settlements (gates, fences, lighting, roads, vehicles, defensive positions, observation points, strengthening of governments, a main operations center with command capabilities, and more).”

He also said that “subject to the operational situational assessment, and as part of an overall defensive plan being built for the northern area, we will take care of fortification gaps and work to implement the government decision from 2018 as part of the northern shield plan.”

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