Southern Command (Israel)

Southern Command (Israel)

Southern Command (Israel)

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The Israeli Southern Command (, transliterated: Pikud Darom), often abbreviated to Padam (פד"מ) is a regional command of the Israel Defense Forces. It is responsible for the Negev, the Arava, and Eilat. It is currently headed by Aluf Tal Russo.


For many years the Southern Command was tasked with defending the Negev and securing the border on the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. The Southern Command led IDF troops in five wars against Egypt: the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Suez War, the Six-Day War, the War of Attrition, and the Yom Kippur War. This high operational activity and its demanding toll resulted in the Southern Command's Alufs (SCA) being replaced fairly rapidly. The most famous replacements took place in 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, when Shmuel Gonen was suspended as the SCA due to repeated disputes with Ariel Sharon, who was the previous SCA. The government appointed Chaim Bar-Lev, who was the former Chief of Staff, as the new SCA in an emergency directive. After the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, the southern front remained quiet and most of the activity centred on guarding the borders from smugglers and fluid security over the Gaza Strip.

During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Command was placed in charge-of counter-terrorist efforts. The Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world, was known as a stronghold for extremist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who engaged in Palestinian political violence. The local production and...
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