Photo: Ori Shifrin/IDF Spokesman
The college, set up in 1999 by former chief of staff Lt.- Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin Shahak, is designed to create personal and professional tools for company commanders serving in the ground forces, and has trained some 600 officers since its inception.
“Some of these officers are now commanding brigades, and others have risen higher,” the chief instructor at the college, Brig-Gen. Gideon Sharav, told The Jerusalem Post.
On the academic front, the students obtain a BA from Bar- Ilan University, where they study the Middle East region, political trends, and the rise of Islamist movements, as well as relations between the military and society. “They [examined] how the Muslim Brothers came to power in Egypt,” Sharav said.
At the same time, the officers study military strategy, defense affairs, historical battle analyses – from the World War II to the Second Lebanon War – and train in live fire exercises.
“We are the Israeli West Point,” Sharav said, adding, “the main difference is that the cadets there begin with no experience, receiving basic training and an officer’s course. We are closer to the UK model, where people with some training arrive. Our cadets were platoon commanders when they arrived, and some of them took part in combat, such as Operation Cast Lead.”
When the soldiers complete the course, they are aged 25- 26, have a BA, and are set to take command of some 100 soldiers.
“I am confident they have all of the tools to succeed in their task. This makes them more ready,” Sharav said.
The cadets are also taken to active front line scenes where, “if anything were to happen, [it] will happen there,” and train in map reading and orientation.
During the graduation ceremony, Gantz said, “Every IDF commander understands the significance for the security of Israel of being prepared and alert. Every company commander, every battalion commander, and every major general knows that the IDF can’t rest on its laurels when we are not in a state of war or in an emergency.”
He added, “We must prepare with vigor for any scenario that can endanger Israeli security – this is the eternal promise of the IDF.”