In a “war game simulation” held at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on Thursday, players representing Israel’s security cabinet decided to respond swiftly to an attack from Sinai, in which 17 people were killed and dozens wounded when two rockets hit Eilat.
Among the casualties were five children, seven Israeli tourists, two French citizens, four Americans and couples from Russia and the UK.
The security cabinet, comprising former senior officials, ordered a strike on the Gaza Strip, where the terrorist attack was said to have been planned by the Army of Islam, while at the same time coordinating with Egypt, the United States and the international community.
The prime minister – played convincingly by the former head of the National Security Council, IDC Prof. Uzi Arad – ruled after hearing the views of his security cabinet members (Eitan Ben-Eliyahu as defense minister, Roni Milo as foreign minister, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Eitan as chief of staff, Ya’acov Perry as director of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and Col. (res.) Lior Lotan as director of military intelligence) that the IDF should retaliate immediately with a massive air strike – but not a ground operation – on terrorist targets in Gaza.
“We have to react,” he said. “We cannot wait.”
The three-stage simulation was held under the guidance of Dr. Boaz Ganor, the founder and executive director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the IDC, and was moderated by Steve Linde, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.
In the second stage of the simulation, major parties in the region played by academics and former officials – including Hezbollah, Syria, Egypt, Iran and al- Qaida – decided, for the most part, not to get directly involved in the escalation following the Israeli military strike, which, according to a mock report on CNN, killed dozens in Gaza.
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