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Fake Gaza Village in IDF Base
By Micah Halpern

Saturday June 25, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Israel has built a fake Gaza city in the middle of a military base named Zeelim, located in the Negev Desert, in the south of Israel.

Even the muezzin, the Muslim call to prayer, is sounded five times a day in this fake city.

Other than members of the IDF, the city is deserted.

This Israeli built fake city cannot be found on any map. Officially, it’s known as the Urban Warfare Training Center. Israeli soldiers who run military drills call it “Mini Gaza.”

The IDF began building Mini Gaza in 2005 at a cost of $45 million.

According to the facility’s commander, Col. Eli Abeles: “The nature of war has changed … Today our principal fighting … is done around built-up areas and in built-up areas.”

The tight alleyways, drab concrete buildings and open areas in the roughly 60-acre (quarter square kilometer) facility are meant to simulate the urban environments in which Israel’s soldiers often operate.

The IDF has an official graffiti artist who decorated the buildings with murals featuring Arabic slogans and portraits of Palestinian and Lebanese militants.

Between exercises, soldiers rest in the shade of the 500 buildings Israel has built, the tallest being eight stories high. They smoke cigarettes beneath faded posters, some of which honor those Palestinian fighters killed in battle with Israel. Other soldiers don red-and-white checkered scarves to role-play militants in an upcoming drill.

The training center can accommodate exercises for an entire brigade of 2,000 soldiers at a single time. Visiting American troops and forces from European allies — most recently Cypriot soldiers — have also trained in Mini Gaza.

This fake city is as realistic as you can get.

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29 June 2022 11:35 PM in Thoughts

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