The objective of the IDF Southern Command is to defend the southern borders of Israel, the largest zone in the country. The Southern Command is responsible for all units located in the Arava, Negev, and Eilat regions. Its commander is Major General Herzl (Herzi) Halevi, and its headquarters are located in Beersheba. Its soldiers maintain close ties with the residents and the heads of the various communities. The Southern Command was established in 1948 under the command of Major General Yigal Allon.
The command is responsible for the protection of 250 kilometers of Israel’s eastern border with Jordan, about 215 kilometers on the western border with Egypt, and about 65 kilometers along the Gaza border.
There are several units placed under the Southern Command: the Givati Brigade, the Nahal Brigade, the 401st Armored Brigade, the 215th Division, the Northern and Southern Divisions, the Sagi Brigade, and the Eilat Brigade. Two co-ed battalions, Bardelas and Caracal, are also operating in the sector and are intended to maintain security on the border with Jordan and Egypt.
Crossings with the Gaza Strip are also under the Southern Command’s authority. The crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Israel were built with a considerable investment on the part of Israel, in order to ensure the regular flow of goods and people. Unfortunately, the crossings have been subject to frequent terrorist attacks, including the firing of Qassam rockets and mortar shells, as well as suicide bombings and shooting attacks.