From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jewish history is the history of the Jewish people, faith, and culture. Since Jewish history encompasses nearly four thousand years and hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes. Additional information can be found in the main articles listed below, and in the specific country histories listed in this article.
Main article: History of ancient Israel and Judah
For the first two periods the history of the Jews is mainly that of the Fertile Crescent. It begins among those peoples which occupied the area lying between the Nile river on the one side and the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers on the other. Surrounded by ancient seats of culture in Egypt and Babylonia, by the deserts of Arabia, and by the highlands of Asia Minor, the land of Canaan (later known as Israel, then at various times Judah, Coele-Syria, Judea, Palestine, the Levant, and finally Israel again) was a meeting place of civilizations. The land was traversed by old-established trade routes and possessed important harbors on the Gulf of Akaba and on the Mediterranean coast, the latter exposing it to the influence of other cultures of the Fertile Crescent.
Traditionally Jews around the world claim descent mostly from the ancient Israelites (also known as Hebrews), who settled in the land of Israel. The Israelites traced their common lineage to the biblical patriarch Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Jewish tradition holds that the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob's twelve sons (one of whom was named Judah), who settled in Egypt. Their direct descendants respectively divided into twelve tribes, who were enslaved under the rule of an Egyptian pharaoh, often identified as Ramses II. In the Jewish faith, the emigration of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan (the Exodus), led by the prophet Moses, marks the formation of the Israelites as a people.
Jewish tradition and the Bible (Genesis through Malachi) has it that after forty one years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites arrived to Canaan and conquered it under the command of Joshua, dividing the land among the twelve tribes. For a period of time, the united twelve tribes were led by a series of rulers known as Judges. After this period, an Israelite monarchy was established under Saul, and continued under King David and Solomon. King David conquered Jerusalem (first a Canaanite, then a Jebusite town) and made it his capital. After Solomon's reign the nation split into two kingdoms, Israel, consisting of ten of the tribes (in the north), and Judah, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (in the south). Israel was conquered by the Assyrian ruler Shalmaneser V in the 8th century BCE. There is no commonly accepted historical record of those ten tribes, which are sometimes referred to as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
Many of the Judaean Jews were sold into slavery while others became citizens of other parts of the Roman Empire. The book of Acts in the New Testament, as well as other Pauline texts, make frequent reference to the large populations of Hellenised Jews in the cities of the Roman world. These Hellenised Jews were only affected by the diaspora in its spiritual sense, absorbing the feeling of loss and homelessness which became a cornerstone of the Jewish creed, much supported by persecutions in various parts of the world. The policy towards proselytism and conversion to Judaism, which spread the Jewish religion throughout the Hellenistic civilization, seems to have ended with the wars against the Romans and the following reconstruction of Jewish values for the post-Temple era.
Of critical importance to the reshaping of Jewish tradition from the Temple-based religion to the traditions of the Diaspora, was the development of the interpretations of the Torah found in the Mishnah and Talmud.
Land of Israel
History of the State of Israel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The State of Israel (Hebrew: מדינת ישראל, Medinat Yisrael) was established in 1948 after thousands of years of Jewish dispersal. The Zionist enterprise, with its goal of creating a Jewish national home in Eretz Yisrael, was set in motion by Theodor Herzl in 1897, at the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland.
Main articles: Jewish history, Land of Israel, History of the Jews in the Land of Israel
Jewish ties to Israel before the formation of the Zionist movement
Evidence of a Jewish presence in Israel dates back 3,400 years, to the formation of the religion. The name "Jews" derives from their origin in Judah. Over the course of this long history, the Jews have several times been dispersed and then returned from exile, buttressed by the remarkable power and influence of their holy book, The Tanakh (the Old Testament).
The yearning to return to Eretz Yisrael became a universal Jewish theme after the Jewish-Roman wars, which saw the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 CE and the subsequent exile of the Jews. A second Jewish revolt in 135 led to the renaming of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and Judah became known as Palestine until the Crusades. With the destruction of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century, the British restored the use of the name "Palestine", however the creation of the Jewish state of Israel means that the name used for the territory may vary.
Jews continued to see the Land of Israel as their spiritual home and the Promised Land. While their numbers were smaller, there has never been a time over the last three millennia when there were no Jews in Eretz Yisrael. For generations, however, the theme of the ingathering of the exiles and the re-establishment of the kingdom of Israel was religious in tone due to the belief that the Jewish people would return to Zion with the coming of the Messiah, i.e., through divine intervention. Some Jewish leaders proposed or attempted to return, but they were a minority.
The Crusades were devastating for the Jewish presence in Palestine. Jews were massacred, burnt alive or sold into slavery. The murder of Jews began during the Crusaders' travels across Europe and continued in the [Holy Land]. After the Arab reconquest in the thirteenth century, Sultan Baybars ravished the land to ensure it could not sustain a large population and would not be attractive to invaders. It remained poor under the Ottomans, who took over in the 16th century and ruled it until the 20th.
Between the 13th and 19th centuries, the number of those who made the aliyah (literally "ascent", Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel) rose mainly due to the resurgence of messianic fervor among the Jews of Spain, France, Italy, the Germanic states, Russia and North Africa. During this period, Jewish immigration was also spurred by a general decline in the status of Jews across Europe and an increase in religious persecution. The expulsion of Jews from England (1290) France (1391), Austria (1421) and Spain (the Alhambra decree 1492) were seen by many as a sign of approaching redemption and contributed to the messianic spirit of the time.
By the mid-19th century, the Land of Israelwas a part of the Ottoman Empire and a province of Syria, populated mostly by Muslim and Christian Arabs, as well as Jews, Greeks, Druze, Bedouins and other minorities. By 1844, Jews constituted the largest population group (and by 1890 an absolute majority) in a few cities, most notably Jerusalem (although as a whole, the Jewish population made up far less than 10% of the total).
1897-1917: The Zionist Revolution
Main articles: Zionism, Aliyah, and May Laws
During the 19th century the spread of Enlightenment ideals across Europe led to the emancipation of Jews across the continent. It also led to a counter-reaction of Europeans who sought to prevent Jews from being granted citizenship and who saw them as alien, non-European community. Opponents of Jewish civil rights called themselves antisemites and became increasingly well organized as the century wore on. In Tzarist Russia, the government actively encouraged pogroms in an effort to divert popular resentment at the government and to drive out the Jewish population.
Among the millions of Jews who fled Russia, a small section headed for Palestine. Mikveh Israel was founded in 1870 by Alliance Israelite Universelle, followed by Petah Tikva (1878), Rishon LeZion (1882), and other agricultural communities founded by the members of Bilu and Hovevei Zion.
Growing antisemitism, pogroms and the birth of new nations across Europe led to an increase in the number of Jews who considered the possibility of re-establishing themselves as an independent nation. Support for pogroms from left-wing groups (as "legitimate expressions of working class anger") and the desire to preserve their identity, led some socialist Jews to seek solutions within their own community.
In 1897, the First Zionist Congress proclaimed the decision "to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz-Israel secured under public law." The movement made little political progress before the First World War and was regarded with suspicion by the Ottoman rulers of the Holy Land.
Not only religious Jews were drawn to Zionism but also secular nationalists and secular left-wing socialists who aimed to reclaim the land by working on it and who formed socialist collectives. This was accompanied by Revival of the Hebrew language.
During the First World War, in December 1916, Lloyd George, a committed Christian Zionist, was made British Prime Minister. Lloyd George ordered an invasion of the Levant, including Israel.
Lloyd George's initiative and British desire to gain Jewish support in the fight against Germany led to his foreign minister, Lord Balfour making the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This stated that the British Government "view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people"..."it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine".
The British invasion force, led by General Allenby, included a force of Jewish volunteers (mostly Zionists), known as the Jewish Legion
1948: War of independence and statehood
See also: Declaration of Independence (Israel), 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, and 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
Part of the Arab-Israeli conflict
David Ben Gurion(First Prime Minister of Israel) publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948. Tel Aviv, Israel, beneath a large portrait of Theodore Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism.
Date November 1947–March 1949
Location Middle East
Result Israeli victory, Tactical and strategic Arab failure, 1949 Armistice Agreements
changes State of Israel established from captured territories, Jordanian occupation of West Bank, Egyptian occupation of the Gaza Strip.
The requirement for Britain to implement the UN's Resolution on Palestine proved the catalyst for British withdrawal. Concerned that implementation of the division would severly damage Anglo-Arab/Muslim relations, Britain resolved to resign its mandate over Palestine and withdraw, a conclusion endorsed by the British Cabinet on September 29, 1947. The date of depature was fixed for May 1948.
Fighting began before the formal British departure. Estimates for the number of fighters on each side vary between historians and in the early stages of the conflict most fighters were part-time volunteers. The number of men under arms was not static but grew as the conflict progressed. The number of Palestinian fighters is hard to estimate, but is estimated at around 10,000. By May 1948 the number of Yishuv fighters was around 30,000. According to Morris 'By April-May the Haganah was conducting brigade-size offensives, [...] by mid-May it had thoroughly beaten the Palestinian militias and their foreign auxiliaries.
On May 14, 1948, the last British forces left Haifa, and the Jewish Agency, led by David Ben-Gurion, declared the creation of the State of Israel, in accordance with the 1947 UN Partition Plan. U.S. President Harry S. Truman immediately recognized the new state, followed hours later by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin. Arab League members Egypt, TransJordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq declared war and announced their rejection of the UN partition decision. They claimed the right of self-determination for the Arabs of Palestine over the whole of Palestine and charged that a quarter of a million Arabs had fled Palestine due to 'Zionist aggression. They were joined by Saudi-Arabia and Yemen.
On the northern front, the Syrian army was blocked in Deganya. The Jordanian 'Arab Legion', commanded by British officers, refrained from invading Israeli territory and focussed on occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Iraqis held an area adjacent to the modern West-Bank but did little else. On the Southern front, Haganah forces managed to block the invading Egyptian armies in the Ashdod area, and Irgun forces halted the Egyptians advancing on Jerusalem, at Ramat Rachel.
On May 29, 1948 the British initiated United Nations Security Council Resolution 50 and declared an arms embargo on the region. However Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia violated it. This was critical in allowing the Jewish state to acquire military hardware to match that available to the invading Arab states.
In early June, the UN declared a month-long truce. Large numbers of Jewish immigrants, many of them World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors began arriving, and many joined the newly-created Israel Defense Forces (IDF). When the fighting resumed, Israel gained the upper hand.
In March 1949, after many months of battle, a permanent ceasefire went into effect and Israel's interim borders, later known as the Green Line, were established. Following the ceasefire declaration, Britain released over 2,000 Jewish prisoners it was holding on Cyprus and recognized the state of Israel. On May 11, 1949, when the war ended, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.
The war for Israel's Independence was the costliest in its history. Out of a Jewish population of 650,000, some 6,000 men and women were killed in the fighting, including 4,000 soldiers in the IDF. The exact number of Arab losses is unknown but the estimates ranged from 10,000 to 15,000 people.
According to United Nations figures, 711,000 Palestinians left Israeli-controlled territory in 1948 and 1949. From his study of the Israeli archives, Benny Morris discovered that the main direct cause of this exodus was military attacks by the Haganah and the IDF. He also confirmed former revelations that after the first truce, the IDF proceeded to massive expulsions of Arabs during operations Dani and Hiram. These conclusions of Morris are now widely accepted among scholars. Morris also concluded the exodus was «made by war, not by design», but there still remains a controversy whether or not there was an official or unofficial policy behind these expulsions and whether this policy was applied as early as April 1948 or even December 1947.
As a result of the war of 1948 and the birth of Israel, several hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Arab lands, and most of them settled in Israel.
The new state established a 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, which first met in Tel Aviv but moved to Jerusalem after the 1949 ceasefire. In January 1949, Israel held its first elections. The first President of Israel was Chaim Weizmann. David Ben-Gurion was elected prime minister.
From 1948 until 1977 all governments were led by Mapai and the Alignment, predecessors of the Labour Party. Early on, a religious status quo agreement was reached between Ben-Gurion and the Rabbinate. One component of the agreement was the exemption of yeshiva students from military service.
IDF - Israel Defense Forces
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Israel Defense Forces are part of the Israeli Security Forces.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tzva HaHagana LeYisrael, "Defense Military of Israel", commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym צה"ל, pronounced Tzahal), is Israel's military forces, comprising the Israeli Army, Air Force and Sea Corps.
The IDF was founded May 26, 1948 after the establishment of the state of Israel "to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily life". The IDF succeeded the Haganah (in particular, its operational branch, the Palmach) as the permanent army of the Jewish state. It was also joined by former elements of the Jewish Brigade that fought under the British flag during World War II.
After the establishment of the IDF the two Jewish underground organizations the Etzel and Lehi joined with the IDF in a loose confederation but were allowed to operate independently in some sectors until the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, after which these two organizations were disbanded, and their members integrated into the IDF. The modern IDF came into existence during the period from 1949 to 1956 by experience gained through regional conflicts with their Arab neighbours. From 1956 to 1966, the IDF faced less conflict and used this time to purchase new equipment and change from an upstart army to a professional fighting force. As well, this period allegedly saw Israel develop its nuclear capability. Following these developments, the IDF increasingly emerged as one of the most powerful and modern military forces in the world recognized by many as "The Modern Sparta".
Israeli military technology
The IDF possesses top-of-the-line weapons and computer systems used and recognized worldwide; some of it American-made are indigenously modified and upgraded to match IDF battle standards (such as the M4A1 assault rifle, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon jets and Apache helicopter). Israel also has developed its own independent weapons industry, which has developed weapons and vehicles such as the Merkava battle tank series, Kfir fighter aircraft, and various small arms such as the Galil and Tavor assault rifles and the Uzi submachine gun.
The IDF also has several large internal research and development departments, and it purchases many technologies produced by the Israeli security industries including IAI, IMI, Elbit, El-Op, Rafael, Soltam and dozens of smaller firms. Many of these developments have been battle-tested in Israel's numerous military engagements, making the relationship mutually beneficial, the IDF getting tailor-made solutions and the industries a very high repute.
Main Israeli developments
An Israeli Merkava main battle tank.
Israel's military technology is most famous for its guns, armored fighting vehicles (tanks, tank-converted APCs, armoured bulldozers, etc.) and rocketry (missiles and rockets). Israel also designs and in some cases it has manufactured aircraft (Kfir, Lavi; both discontinued) and naval systems (patrol and missile ships). Much of the IDF's electronic systems (intelligence, communication, command and control, navigation etc.) are Israeli-developed, including many systems installed on foreign platforms (esp. aircraft, tanks and submarines). So are many of its precision-guided munitions.
Israel is the only country in the world with an operational anti-ballistic missile defense system ("Hetz", Arrow, developed with funding and technology from the United States), though an operational system is in place protecting the Moscow area. Israel has also worked with the U.S. on development of a tactical high energy laser system against medium range rockets (called Nautilus or THEL).
Israel has the independent capability of launching reconnaissance satellites into orbit (a capability which only Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the People's Republic of China, India and Japan hold). Both the satellites (Ofeq) and the launchers (Shavit) were developed by the Israeli security industries.
Israel has also recently purchased the brand new APC, The Wolf Armoured Vehicle, to be used in urban warfare and to protect an official.
IDF - Code of Conduct
In 1992, the IDF drafted a Code of Conduct that is a combination of international law, Israeli law, Jewish heritage and the IDF's own traditional ethical code - Ruach Tzahal רוח צה"ל ("The Spirit of the IDF ").
The Stated Values of the IDF
Tenacity of Purpose in Performing Missions and Drive to Victory - "The IDF servicemen and women will fight and conduct themselves with courage in the face of all dangers and obstacles; They will persevere in their missions resolutely and thoughtfully even to the point of endangering their lives."
Responsibility - "The IDF servicemen or women will see themselves as active participants in the defense of the state, its citizens and residents. They will carry out their duties at all times with initiative, involvement and diligence with common sense and within the framework of their authority, while prepared to bear responsibility for their conduct."
Credibility - "The IDF servicemen and women shall present things objectively, completely and precisely, in planning, performing and reporting. They will act in such a manner that their peers and commanders can rely upon them in performing their tasks."
Personal Example - "The IDF servicemen and women will comport themselves as required of them, and will demand of themselves as they demand of others, out of recognition of their ability and responsibility within the military and without to serve as a deserving role model."
Human Life - "The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life. During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the extent required to carry out their mission."
Purity of Arms - "The IDF servicemen and women will use their weapons and force only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property."
Professionalism - "The IDF servicemen and women will acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks, and will implement them while striving continuously to perfect their personal and collective achievements."
Discipline - "The IDF servicemen and women will strive to the best of their ability to fully and successfully complete all that is required of them according to orders and their spirit. IDF soldiers will be meticulous in giving only lawful orders, and shall refrain from obeying blatantly illegal orders."
Comradeship - "The IDF servicemen and women will act out of fraternity and devotion to their comrades, and will always go to their assistance when they need their help or depend on them, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking their lives."
Sense of Mission - "The IDF soldiers view their service in the IDF as a mission; They will be ready to give their all in order to defend the state, its citizens and residents. This is due to the fact that they are representatives of the IDF who act on the basis and in the framework of the authority given to them in accordance with IDF orders."
Code of Conduct against terrorists
Recently, a team of professors, commanders and former judges, led by Tel Aviv Universitythe holder of the Ethics chair, Professor Asa Kasher, developed a code of conduct which emphasizes the right behavior in low intensity warfare against terrorists, where soldiers must operate within a civilian population. Reserve units and regular units alike are taught the following eleven rules of conduct, which are an addition to the more general IDF Spirit:
Military action can only be taken against military targets.
The use of force must be proportional.
Soldiers may only use weaponry they were issued by the IDF.
Anyone who surrenders cannot be attacked.
Only those who are properly trained can interrogate prisoners.
Soldiers must accord dignity and respect to the Palestinian population and those arrested.
Soldiers must give appropriate medical care, when conditions allow, to oneself and one's enemy.
Pillaging is absolutely and totally illegal.
Soldiers must show proper respect for religious and cultural sites and artifacts.
Soldiers must protect international aid workers, including their property and vehicles.
Soldiers must report all violations of this code.
“Victory at war comes not from the number of soldiers.”
Maccabees I, 19
The Golani brigade was formed on February 28, 1948, when the Levanoni brigade deployed on Israel's Lebanese border was divided into two smaller brigades. Golani was stationed in the valleys and hills of the Lower Galilee in northern Israel. Their combatants included members of the Haganah, residents of settlements in the areas of combat, and enlisted soldiers from all over the country. Prior to the Declaration of Independence, the soldiers of the brigade fought in the areas of Mishmar Ha'emek, Tiberias, Migdal, Zemach and Rosh Pinna. Their mission was to defend the Upper Galilee and the Galilee valleys. They also participated in the victory at Safed in Operation Yiftach. They captured Arab Sejera, and Bet Shean and its environs.
Upon the foundation of the State, Arab armies invaded the country. In the north, this included the Syrian army, the Iraqi army, the Lebanese army, and Kaukji's irregulars. The Golani brigade was deployed to face this threat, although it had severely depleted ranks and was short of arms. New arrivals to the State of Israel were thrown into the fray; many joined the Golani brigade. The new refugee recruits, though fiercely loyal to the country and proud of their Judaism, were reluctant soldiers. There were economic and social problems 'at home' in the transit immigrant camps. The standard of army equipment was poor. The available weapons were Czech rifles, with a builtin magazine that held only five rounds, and Sten machine guns, which were originally designed as cheap throwaways for British paratroopers to use until their 'real' weapons were dropped. As for transport, each battalion had one station wagon, a tender van, and a single truck. One company had their leave stopped by their commander because they dared respond to the battalion CO's interest in their problems by showing him boots that were tied with string to stop the soles from dropping off. However, the Golani Brigade succeeded in bringing the Syrian columns of armor and infantry to a halt, sometimes through the use of Molotov cocktails and facetoface combat. Iraqi forces were halted in the Jordan Valley. The guerilla, improvisational tactics that prevailed in the preState era were grafted with the Brigade commander's experience in the British Army to set the tone of Golani combat doctrine.
The Golani brigade took part along with the Seventh armored infantry brigade, and the Carmeli brigade in Operation Dekel (in the Galilee). In this operation, the forces involved captured the Nazareth area from Kaukji's irregulars. Golani troops, now incorporated into the newlyformed Israel Defense Forces participated in activities to gain control over the entire Galilee in what was called Operation Hiram. This involved counterthrusts that penetrated as deep as the Litani River in Lebanon.
The Golani brigade also took part in Operation Assaf to take control of the western Negev, and also participated in Operation Horev in which the Egyptians were repelled from Israeli territory. Golani's final mission in the War of Independence was the successful seizure of the Negev in Operation Ovdah. Golani participated in the capture of the Southern Negev, all the way down to the Red Sea at Eilat.
Battalions of the Golani Brigade
Named after the biblical judge and military commander. Upon its establishment in the War of Independence, its area of activity was defined as the Sea of Galilee district, the lower Galilee and the Jordan Valley.
Also named after a mythical judge and military commander. Upon its establishment in the War of Independence, its area of activity was defined as the Sea of Galilee district, the Ein Harod valley region and the Bet Shean valley.
The First Breachers' Battalion
Originally a battalion in the Givati Brigade, it joined the Golani brigade after the disbanding of the Givati in 1956.
A battalion that absorbs new recruits into the brigade.
The Givati brigade was one of six brigades which were formed in December 1948. It was placed under the command of Shimon Avidan. The brigade operated in the Tel Aviv district, fighting against seasoned Arab forces, defeating them in the capture of Tel ARish (between Jaffa and Bat Yam), at Bet Dagan junction, and in securing the Jerusalem corridor. Later, Givati was successful in the raid on the Arab forces' command center of the RamleLod sector.
But the brigade's main theater of operations was not in the Tel Aviv area. It was the country's south which was to be the brigade's major theater of operations. The south comprised a number of solitary settlements serviced by the MajdalBetGuvrin road. Enemy capture of the road would have meant isolation of the settlements, so the Givati brigade was deployed among the settlements. During this period, Givati soldiers were also "borrowed" for various missions in other sectors. Operation Nachshon was one such mission. "Nachshon" was undertaken to transport supplies to the capital, Jerusalem, which was then under siege. The Commander of Operation Nachshon was Givati Brigade O.C. Shimon Avidan and Givati Brigade troops participated.
Upon the Egyptian Army's invasion, Givati troops, and the settlements which they were defending, found themselves facing a new, intensified threat. The defense operation took place in several stages. Initially, defenses were laid out in anticipation of the approach of the Egyptian Army from one direction, and the Jordanian Legion from the other. The Givati Brigade was then ordered to halt the advance of the Egyptian Army. Givati troops succeeded in scoring hits on the Egyptian army and weakened its strength. Finally, the IDF launched a counterattack. Following a number of successful operations, in some of which Givati participated, the entire Negev was in the hands of the State of Israel. One of these missions was Operation Yoav.
Sayeret Matkal was formed in 1958 by an officer by the name of Avraham Arnan. He petitioned the IDF General Staff to create a unit that could be dispatched to enemy-held territory to carry out top secret intelligence gathering missions. The unit was initially based on the examples set forth by the SAS. Members of the unit were trained by Bedouin trackers on the finer points of looking and thinking like an Arab. Sayeret Matkal was also formed one year after the IDF's first helicopter squadron became operational and close co-operation between the two allowed Sayeret Matkal to deploy for longer and deeper inside Arab territory than any unit before.
In 1959, a draftee named Ehud Barak was accepted into Sayeret Matkal. He later succeeded Unit 101 commando, Lt. Meir Har-Zion in becoming Israel's most decorated soldier. Whilst with Sayeret Matkal, Ehud Barak participated in many operations, including leading the Operation Isotope (airplane hostage rescue) in 1972 and leading the 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon. He later progressed in his military career to become the IDF Chief of Staff in 1991 and retired after the end of his tenure in 1995. In 1999 Ehud Barak became the 10th Prime Minister of Israel.
Although a top-secret unit, Sayeret Matkal had a tremendous influence on the IDF. They were the original developers of helicopter infiltration techniques in Israel. In addition, their heavy use of the Uzi led them to convince Israel Military Industries to produce an Uzi with a folding stock for increased accuracy while maintaining its small frame.
Sayeret Matkal has participated in many anti- and counter-terrorist operations, including the storming of a Boeing 707 held by Black September terrorists in 1972 (Operation Isotope), and the killing of a force of bus hijackers in the Gaza Strip. They are probably best known for their actions in the 1976 rescue of 106 passengers at Entebbe Airport in Uganda (Operation Thunderbolt). There have been rumors linking them with several recent operations but these have never been confirmed by the IDF.
Shayetet 13 (Shayetet, Hebrew: שייטת 13, Flotilla 13) is the Israel Defense Forces naval commando elite special forces (SF) unit. The unit (S-13) is considered one of the top-three SF units in Israel (along with Sayeret Matkal - the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit - and Shaldag Unit - the Air Force commando unit). S-13 is the unit that specializes in maritime hostage rescue and counter-terrorist missions. Only a handful of Shayetet 13 missions have been publicized or otherwise missions publicly attributed to the unit.
S-13 is one of the most veteran Israeli SF units. It was formed in 1949 by Yohai Ben-Nun and was based upon the Naval Brigade of the Haganah - the Jewish resistance movement during the British Mandate in Palestine. In the unit's early years, there was a debate in the IDF regarding the need for such a unit so S-13 was small and with low budget. In 1960, S-13 existence was first made public and its operators received their renowned bat-winged insignia rather than a general Israeli Navy insignia worn until then.
Within the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) Navy exists an elite unite of commandos known as the Bat Men. Their official name is Shayetet 13, or Flotilla 13, and they are responsible for the IDF Navy's Special Warfare capabilities. Flotilla 13 can trace it's roots back to the birth of the Israeli nation, and in their service they have managed to carve an international reputation as one of the best, if not most experienced, naval special warfare units in the world.
Israel's Naval Commandos under go a rigorous selection phase like most other elite units. In the case of the Naval Commandos, however, the initial selection phase stresses psychological toughness and tests hopefulls in their ability to take and operate under stress and fear. There is not a big push to weed out those unfit for the unit quickly, the training process is long and hard, with plenty of time for those who don't quite match up to move on to other units. In all, a potential Shayetet 13 operator will have to undergo almost a year and 8 months or training before he can pin on the coveted crest of the unit.
Sayeret Golani was created in 1951. It was originally named Machleket Siyur Meyuchedet, or Special Reconnaissance Platoon; a part of the 1st Golani Infantry Brigade. Since its creation, the members of the Golani's brigade reconnaisance element have proven themselves to be a effective force with many capabilities beyond the simple reconnaissance role. They have operated all over Israel and even beyond; in beruit, lebannon, Syria, and even Uganda.
Sayeret Golani has had a bloody but illustrious history. The unit assaulted and took Mt. Hernon's strategically located peak in a fierce battle during the Six Days War. In the beginning of the Yom Kippur War the elite Syrian 82nd Paratroop Regiment seized the mountain top from the small contingent of Israeli defenders. Sayeret Golani was tasked to retake the strategic location.
2000 hours on October 21, 1973. Sayeret Golani members begin scaling the steep cliffs at the base of Mt. Hernon. Six hours later, at 0200 the next day, they reached the top and the fighting began. By 0730 a firebase had been secured near the cable car to the top of the mountain. By this time the Golani fighters were using RPGs and rifle fired grenades liberated from dead Syrian defenders to augment their attack, causing many of the defending Syrians to flee or surrender. At 1100 hours, the Israeli and Golani brigade flags were raised to the top of the base's listening post antennae. The nine hour battle had killed 55 Golani members and wounded 79 others. Captain Vinnik (posthumously advanced to the rank of Major), leader of the Sayeret, was also killed. Even though mortally wounded in the beginning stages of the battle, he had continued to direct his commandos until he had finally been caried down the mountain in a stretcher.
Sayeret Golani uses grueling selection process that can end at any time--washouts are sent to the regular units to serve out their committments. Upon completion of the Gibush (selection phase), potential commandos are trained in a vast array of necessary skills. Training is said to last about a year and 8 months.
The curriculum includes a broad array of new techniques to learn and master. Skills such as parachuting, demolitions, escape and evasion, survival, and intelligence work are covered. The soldiers of Sayeret Golani are expected to be proficient with all of the weapons used in their area of operation. Due to the nature of their operations, they also have their own urban warfare training center, known as hell town.
Members who pass all the tests and training are rewarded with the badge of the Sayeret, a small metal pin with a flying tiger as the emblem. Dating back to the beginning of the Sayeret, this is their symbol and where they get their unofficial name, Ha'Namer Ha'Me'ufaf, the Flying Tiger.
Unit 5101 or Shaldag (Hebrew: יחידת שלדג, Kingfisher Unit) is the Israeli Air Force commando unit, considered one of the IDF elite units. They provide assistance and operate in Counter Terrorism and hostage rescue operations, as well as reconnaissance missions.
They are staged out of Palmachim Airbase; the unit comprises 40-50 soldiers, with five to six teams of eight to nine operators. They are regularly outfitted with M16 or M4A1 assault rifles with the M203 grenade launcher attached. When performing Counter-Terrorist/hostage rescue duties they carry the Sig-Sauer or Glock 9mm series pistols and the Mauser SR 82/66 sniper rifle.
The Unit was founded in 1974 following the Yom Kippur War. Initially operating as a Sayeret Matkal reserve company, it was eventually transferred to the Air Force.
Lebanon conflict: Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath, for which it was awarded the Chief of Staff Award
Second Lebanon War: Operation Sharp and Smooth.