More information has become available since we posted Monday, August 11, 2008 Israel's part in arming Georgia, and the risky game of Russian Roulette they have been playing
Ex-envoy: Georgia modelled its army after IDF ynet
"Georgian government officials used to tell me that they wanted to model their army after the IDF," former Israeli ambassador to Georgia Shabtai Zur told Ynet Sunday evening amid the country's bloody feud with Russia over the separatist region of South Ossetia.
Travel Advisory Issued for Georgia, Jews Being Evacuated
Yeshiva world News 10th August 2008
Assisting in closing defense packages with Israel is Georgia’s Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili, (დავით კეზერაშვილი)a fluent Hebrew-speaker and former Israeli. ( and a close personal ally of the party's leader, Georgian President Saakashvili) See this extreme but well informed blog - Georgian Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a Zionist Jew
Also - "His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel," the source said. "Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister's personal involvement."
Deals were made for items including anti-aircraft and communications systems, as well as turrets for armored vehicles and communications systems. One of the people who profited from such arrangements is Roni Milo, a former Public Security Minister who represented Elbit.
Gal Hirsch, a former IDF brigadier-general, one of the senior officers compelled to step down following the Second Lebanon War, also provided tactical training, working with Georgian military officials to establish commando units mimicking Israel’s Sayeret Matkal.
He is a partner in a firm called Defensive Shield.
There is also 61-year-old former IDF Major-General Yisrael Ziv, who heads a security consulting firm.
2 Israeli firms say they left Georgia before fighting Haaretz Tuesday 12th August 2008
Two Israeli security companies, Defensive Shield and Global CST, announced yesterday that they had completed their projects in Georgia before fighting between that country and Russia broke out on Friday. The two are among several Israeli companies advising Georgia on security
matters, training its army and occasionally supplying it with weapons.
Defensive Shield, owned by Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, said all its employees, including its subcontractors, are no longer in Georgia. It said it completed the work it had been contracted to do, and that all its contracts with Georgia had been approved by Israel's Defense Ministry. Security systems services company Global CST, managed by Maj. Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, said it finished its work in Georgia at the end of July.
A retired senior Israeli officer who recently trained troops in Georgia said yesterday he was surprised that the Georgians faced off against Russia, since they have a much smaller army. "They got into an adventure that I wouldn't have chosen to get into, based on the level of professionalism I saw in my visits to the Georgian army," the officer said. "Who knows where this will end." "This is an army that was in the process of disintegrating over 15 or 16 years," the officer added. "This process required reconstruction, and that's where the Israelis entered the picture, along with companies from other countries.
verything was very, very basic. We dealt mainly with basic training for the units. It will take a long time until the military forces there will advance to a high professional level.
The Georgian army cannot under any circumstances be a serious rival to the Russians at present." The officer also stressed the difference in military might: "Georgia is a small country, with barely 4.5 million people," he said. "They have a small army - to be honest, not much different from that of a Third World country.
" The Georgians began reorganizing their army in 2002, with American assistance. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Georgian army has primarily been comprised of remnants of Red Army units.