IDF Competes With Russia, Syria, Iran in Annual International War Games

June 26, 2017

2 min read

For the first time, representatives from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will participate in the International Army Games, a general competition held from June 29 through August 12 in Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China.

This year’s Games, which are the brainchild of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, will consist of 28 contests held within the various countries.

The competitions will involve tanks, artillery, air crews, paratroopers, warships, snipers, engineering corps, mountain units, tank biathlon (a mechanized military sport developed by the Russian military), military medicine, military police, and drone operators competing for the best inspector of military traffic police.

Ironically, Israel, which many consider to have the greatest army in the world, will only compete in the categories of field medicine and field kitchens. The Field Kitchen contest took place from June 6-8 in Volsk, a town in Saratovskiy Region. IDF chefs competed with 60 other military cooks and bakers including from Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Mongolia, Serbia, South Africa, and Iran.

The chefs were given 38 different ingredients with which to cook a full-course dinner including salad, soup, a main course and a drink. In another competition, chefs were asked to cook dishes according to a menu which included traditional Russian ‘rassolnik’ soup and borscht, kasha, herring with beet salad, beef entrecote with potatoes and more. Bakers were required to make buns, croissants, pies, pretzels and bagels.

“We are proud of all areas of our strong IDF,” stated Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF, to Breaking Israel News. “Our field hospitals have become world-renowned as we have saved lives in such locations as Turkey, Nepal, Haiti, Japan, the Philippines. We have even rescued Syrian refugees who make it to Israel’s border.”

It is unclear why Israel has limited its participation in the games. Some speculate that the military did not want to expose its full capabilities, or that the Pentagon did not allow the deployment of US- built equipment abroad.

According to Russian media, out of 73 country invited to the third year of this event, 32 have confirmed their participation and 11 more have expressed interest. Newcomers to the event include Israel, Syria, Fiji, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Uganda and Laos.

The first edition of the games was held in Russia in 2015. The 2016 games were hosted jointly by Russia and Kazakhstan with over 3,000 service members from 19 different countries competing, and interest continues to grow.

Following the 2016 games, Kazakhstan Defense Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov stated that the event had become a “symbol of international cooperation, exchange of experience, and a key to peace and solidarity. The games display both the competitive nature of the participants and the spirit of military brotherhood.”

“It is generally believed that participating in the International Army Games provides invaluable experiences and the strengthened cooperation between participating countries,” noted Grossman. “For example, last year, China developed a special tank for the competition and Russia helped Armenia modernized its T-72 tank. Let’s pray that positive experiences like what takes place at the International Army Games carries over to general peace in the world.”

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