Israel Defense Forces Creates New Unit to Combat, Prevent Abductions
The Israel Defense Forces have recently established a reserve unit that will be specifically dedicated to lead the searches on the ground in the case of an abduction of Israeli civilians or soldiers.
The IDF’s Central Command and the Judea and Samaria Division arrived at the decision to establish the unit after last June’s tragic kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, in Gush Etzion. The intent to establish such a unit was revealed to Israel’s NRG website last September. According to the reports at the time, the IDF preferred establishing a force trained for the specific task of dealing with abductions, and which is well-acquainted with the area.
For that reason, the new IDF unit is staffed with residents of Judea-Samaria. The process of establishing the unit was based on the understanding that these particular individuals would bring with them the added value of being able to traverse the region based on their personal experience and familiarity with the territory.
Soon after the kidnapping of the three boys last summer a large number of guides were requested to join a search force. They were later joined by instructors and veterans from field schools in Ofra and in Gush Etzion, as well as other individuals who had earlier familiarity in the field of kidnappings. They carried out a thorough search of the area for the boys, finding their bodies in the area of Hilhul with the aid of a civilian tour-guide who had accompanied the IDF soldiers.
Additionally, after the kidnappings, a command team of experts was assembled, led by an officer with the rank of colonel. The team coordinated its work with the Shin Bet and Israeli police, along with civilian security centers and war- rooms, in order to create a connection between all of the disparate elements. One of the results of this team’s work was the establishment of a MISHLAT (Command Control) which would be based in the Judea-Samaria district, and would act as the center for the dialogue between all of agencies working together in the case of an actual kidnapping event.
The IDF believes that the terrorist organizations operating in Judea-Samaria have maintained their desire to carry out kidnappings, despite the heavy price they paid during “Operation Brother’s Keeper” in the aftermath of the kidnapping and murder of the three boys last June.