Israeli Southern Command
The Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i Southern Command ' onMouseout='HidePop("99435")' href="/topics/Transliteration">transliterated
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

: Pikud Darom), often abbreviated to Padam (פד"מ) is a regional command
Command (military formation)
A command in military terminology is an organisational unit that the individual in Military command has responsibility for. A Commander will normally be specifically appointed into the role in order to provide a legal framework for the authority bestowed...

 of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. It is responsible for the Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

, the Arava
Arava can refer to:*Arava, Estonia, a village in Anija Commune, Harju County, Estonia.*Arabah, a section of the Great Rift Valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in Israel and Jordan....

, and Eilat. It is currently headed by Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

 Tal Russo.


For many years the Southern Command was tasked with defending the Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 and securing the border on the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 from Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. The Southern Command led IDF troops in five wars against Egypt: the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, the Suez War, the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, the War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

, and the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. This high operational activity and its demanding toll resulted in the Southern Command's Aluf
Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

s (SCA) being replaced fairly rapidly. The most famous replacements took place in 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, when Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel "Gorodish" Gonen was an Israeli general and Chief of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

 was suspended as the SCA due to repeated disputes with Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, who was the previous SCA. The government appointed Chaim Bar-Lev
Chaim Bar-Lev
Haim "Kidoni" Bar-Lev was a military officer during Israel's pre-state and early statehood eras and later a government minister.-Biography:...

, who was the former Chief of Staff
The Chief of the General Staff, also known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces is the supreme commander and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. At any given time, the Chief of Staff is the only active officer holding the IDF's highest rank, Rav Aluf , which is usually...

, as the new SCA in an emergency directive. After the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

, the southern front remained quiet and most of the activity centred on guarding the borders from smugglers
Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

 and fluid security over the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...


During the Al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

, the Command was placed in charge-of counter-terrorist
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 efforts. The Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world, was known as a stronghold for extremist
Islamic fundamentalism
Islamic fundamentalism is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating a return to the "fundamentals" of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah. Definitions of the term vary. According to Christine L...

 groups such as Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and Islamic Jihad, who engaged in Palestinian political violence
Palestinian political violence
Palestinian political violence refers to acts of violence undertaken to further the Palestinian cause. These political objectives include self-determination in and sovereignty over Palestine, the liberation of Palestine and establishment of a Palestinian state, either in place of both Israel and...

. The local production and proliferation of light anti-tank weapons by these groups, made travel by lightly armored vehicles dangerous. From 2004, the fighting in Gaza became especially intensive, and on the IDF's part, included Targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

s, short armored expeditions, and efforts to locate and destroy the smuggling tunnels used by Palestinian militant groups to obtain weapons.

These armed encounters have resulted in considerable losses for the IDF. Due to the failures to stop the launch of Qassam rocket
Qassam rocket
The Qassam rocket is a simple steel artillery rocket developed and deployed by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. Three models have been produced and used between 2001 and 2011....

s and smuggling tunnels activities, the Engineering Corps
Israeli Engineering Corps
The Israeli Combat Engineering Corps is the combat engineering forces of the Israel Defense Forces.The Combat Engineering Corps beret's color is grey and its symbol features a sword on a defensive tower with a blast halo on the background...

 exposed and destroyed thousands of homes in southern Gaza. During 2005, the Southern Command was involved in the unilateral Gaza disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

, initiated by Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

, 2001-2006), which mainly entailed the removals of all Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s from the Gaza Strip and back to the Israeli side of the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

. The Command re-situated itself north of the Gaza fence, while the Philadelphi Route
Philadelphi Route
The Philadelphi Route refers to a narrow strip of land, 14 km in length, situated along the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt. Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the buffer zone was controlled and patrolled by Israeli forces. After the 1995 Oslo Accords,...

 was given to Egypt, who did not however prevent the movement of thousands of Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai through the city of Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

. As 2006, the attempt to infiltrate Israel to perform suicide bombings
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 and the launch of Qassam rockets, especially by Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees
Popular Resistance Committees
The Popular Resistance Committees are a coalition of various armed Palestinian factions that oppose the conciliatory approach adopted by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah towards Israel...

, remains ongoing and is the central focus of the Southern Command.


  • Southern Corps HQ
  • 366th "Amud ha-Esh"/"Pillar of Fire" Armor Division
    366th Division (IDF)
    thumb|right|320px|Structure 366th Armor Division The Israel Defense Forces 366th Armored Division, also known as the "Pillar of Fire" - Units :* 460th "Bnei Or"/"Sons of Light" Armored Training Brigade* 84th "Giv'ati" Infantry Brigade...

    • 460th "Bnei Or"/"Sons of Light" Armor Training Brigade
      460th Brigade (IDF)
      The Israel Defense Forces 460th “Bnei Or”/”Sons of Light” Armor Brigade is the training formation for Israel's Armored Forces. It is subordinate to the Southern Regional Command.- Units :* 195th "Adam" Training Battalion with Merkava 2...

    • 84th "Giv'ati" Infantry Brigade
      Givati Brigade
      The Givati Brigade is an infantry brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets...

    • 209th Artillery Regiment "Amud ha-Esh"/"Pillar of Fire"
    • 10th (Reserve) Armor Brigade "Har'el"
  • Gaza Division
    Gaza Division
    The Israel Defense Forces Gaza Division , is subordinate to the Southern Regional Command. Its area of operation is the Gaza Strip and the area surrounding it...

    • Gefen Territorial Brigade (south)
    • Katif Territorial Brigade (north)
  • 80th "Edom" Division
    80th Division (IDF)
    The Israel Defense Forces 80th "Edom" Division , is subordinate to the Southern Regional Command.- Units :* "Arava" Territorial Brigade* "Sagi" Territorial Brigade** 33rd "Caracal" Unisex independent Light Infantry Battalion...

    • Arava Territorial Brigade (east)
    • Sagi Territorial Brigade (west)
    • Eilat Territorial Brigade
    • 7489 (Reserve) Artillery Regiment "Shaham"
  • Two Reserve Armor Divisions, including 252nd 'Sinai' Armd Div
  • 5005th "South West" & 5006th "South" Logistic Support Unit (Reserve)
  • Southern Command Signal Battalion
  • "Nesher"/"Eagle" Field Intelligence
    Israeli Field Intelligence Corps
    The Israeli Field Intelligence Corps is the newest of the IDF GOC Army Headquarters' five corps, created in April 2000, and is tasked with collecting combat intelligence. It is responsible for intelligence units from the battalion level and up to the entire force. Accordingly, it is professionally...

  • Engineer & Construction Battalion
  • "Rotem" Eilat Area (Res)Counter Terrorism Unit
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