Bahad 4 was founded in 1949 as the main IDF recruit training base, for all types of recruits (combat and non-combat). It was originally located in Tzrifin, but after the Six-Day War it was moved to the Beit El base in the newly captured West Bank. After the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in 1995, the base was moved to Zikim.
Qassam fire, evacuation and return
Bahad 4 is one of the few Israeli military bases located within range of Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, and has endured numerous barrages. On September 11, 2007, a Qassam rocket hit an empty tent, causing injuries to soldiers in neighboring tents. Four soldiers were seriously wounded and a further 63 were treated for moderate to light wounds and shock. One soldier, Avi Dorfman, was critically brain-injured, and his miraculous recovery was chronicled in the Israeli news. Following the incident, pressure was put on the IDF by parents to stop training recruits at the base.
On November 19, 2008, Zikim was evacuated as part of a plan presented by Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Harel to remove general recruit training bases. Following Operation Cast Lead, Qassam attacks decreased significantly, and returning recruits to Zikim became a viable option. In late 2009, after a severe shortage of space in the other basic training bases, several companies were placed at Zikim, and more are expected to be recreated in 2009–2010.
Structure and board
The base comprises 9 companies for any kinds of troops. There is a special company for commander training (קורס מפקדים) and officers' course. Female commanders are dominant on the base.
Each company is represented by a letter in the Hebrew alphabet (from alef (1) to yud (10), while skipping zayin (7)), as well as a word starting with the corresponding letter. Each company also has an official motto. The company names are as follows:
- 1. Alef (א) - Eitan
- 2. Bet (ב) - Bardelas (Cheetah)
- 3. Gimel (ג) - Golan
- 4. Daled (ד) - Dores (Predator)
- 5. Hey (ה) - Harel
- 6. Vav (ו) - Vulcan
- 7. Het (ח) - Horev
- 8. Tet (ט) - Tornado
- 9. Yud (י) - Yuval
- Greenberg, Hanan; Hadad, Shmulik; Waked, Ali (2007-09-11). "67 wounded in Qassam attack". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
- Markus, Alexandra (January 28, 2016). "Meet a True Israeli Hero: Avi Dorfman Survives Hamas Attack and Near Permanent Brain Damage (VIDEO)". Algeimeiner. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
- Kosti, Nir; Winter, Yarden (September 25, 2009). "The Comeback of Zikim". Bamahane (in Hebrew) (3006): p. 8.
- Waked, Ali (November 19, 2008). "Palestinian Terror Group Gloats over Zikim Closure". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
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