|Branch||West Bank Division, Paratroopers Brigade|
|Role||Urban Warfare, Counterterrorism & Undercover Operations|
|Motto||(Hebrew: כִּי בְתַחְבֻּלוֹת, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לְּךָ מִלְחָמָה.) "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war" (Proverbs 24:6).|
|Colors||Red and Black|
Duvdevan (Hebrew: דובדבן; lit. cherry) is an elite special forces unit within the Israel Defense Forces, directly subordinate to the West Bank Division. Duvdevan are particularly noted for conducting undercover operations against militants in urban areas. During these operations, Duvdevan soldiers typically wear Arab civilian clothes as a disguise. They are also known to be trained in human and mechanical countersurveillance.
The Duvdevan unit motto: (Hebrew: כִּי בְתַחְבֻּלוֹת, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לְּךָ מִלְחָמָה) "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war" (Proverbs 24:6).
The unit prides itself on being the spearhead of Israeli counter terror operations. In 2002 the unit was awarded as such by the prime minister for having the most significant effect on the war on terror. The Duvdevan unit is regarded as one of the world's most successful counter-terror units. In January 2008, the unit assassinated a major Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank.
In April 2008, the unit tracked down and killed Hani Ka’abi after surrounding his house in the Balata neighborhood of Nablus. He headed a cell belonging to the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah. He was the mastermind of a plot to carry out an attack by slipping a slow-acting poison powder, virtually undetectable, into the food of diners at the “Grill Express” restaurant in Ramat Gan, where he had recruited two Arab kitchen workers as operatives. Hosni Tzalag, Ka’abi’s deputy, and another terrorist were arrested during the operation. The soldiers recovered two rifles, ammunition magazines, and bulletproof vests at the home.
In March 2012, a Duvdevan unit in civilian clothing entered Rammun, a Palestinian town in the eastern West Bank, reportedly on a night-time training exercise were mistaken for burglars by three brothers from the Shawakhah family. All three brothers were shot multiple times in the confrontation that followed that also involved uniformed IDF soldiers, and Rashad Shawakhah died of his wounds several days later in hospital. Israeli Army Radio initially reported that terrorists had attacked an IDF soldier during a military operation. An IDF soldier who kicked one of the wounded handcuffed men after the shooting was reportedly dismissed shortly after the incident. B'Tselem, who have stated that the undercover unit's operational method and rules of engagement violate international law, requested the army's Criminal Investigations Division to examine the incident. The military advocate general opened an investigation in May 2012.
Organization & Mission
||This section lends undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. (September 2012)|
The unit is actually recognized with only a unit identity number and Duvdevan is simply the nickname given to the unit. In the unit's short 20 year history it has stood above and beyond the traditional special units of the IDF and was thus nicknamed "Duvdevan," or "cherry" in English, in reference to its elite status even among the other special units of the IDF. The unit is unique in several ways: it is the only IDF unit (not including police units) that has no wartime mission, just day-to-day hit and run operations. The unit, unlike other SF units, can operate in more than one place at once, and can operate independently. This means providing its own intelligence, backup, rescue, medical teams, extraction, snipers, demolitions, etc... The unit can perform high-risk arrests, raids, targeted killing, kidnappings and a range of other urban warfare operations.
The unit falls under the command of the Judea and Samaria Division of the IDF. This means the unit is under an area command, not a manpower or brigade command like most other Israeli Army units. This allows the unit to operate anywhere in the country and nowhere specific, unlike other special units that are attached to brigades, like Egoz to the Golani Brigade, Maglan to the Paratroopers Brigade, or Oketz and Lotar to the Mitkan Adam base. Only Duvdevan and Sayeret Matkal are authorized to wear their uniforms without identifying shoulder tabs. The unit is most similar to the Yamam and Yamas police units.
The unit underwent some major changes around 2002. They are as follows:
- The unit's basic training was relocated to the Paratroopers Brigade's base. It used to be held independently at the Mitkan Adam base along with Unit 669 and the Oketz Unit. When two men died in training the basic training was delegated to the infantry; now the unit conducts its basic training with the Paratroopers Brigade. In part due its secretive nature, the unit's trainees have no idea what unit they are training for until one month after they complete this 7 month long basic training period.
- Special units within Duvdevan were opened but remained classified.
- The unit's base was relocated and newly built. It now stands alone and independently – most IDF units have their base within a larger base.
- Jericho 941 semi-automatic pistol
- M89SR sniper rifle
- M24 Sniper Weapon System – sniper system
- M4 carbine assault rifle
- Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle in all versions
- Remington 870 combat shotgun
- Para Micro-Uzi submachine gun
- IMI Negev machine gun
- Shipon multi-purpose rocket-launcher
- Mk 47 Striker automatic grenade launcher
- Glock 17/19C
- Aaron Cohen (counterterrorist)
- Israeli Special Forces Units
- Sayeret Matkal
- Shayetet 13
- Unit 669
- Steve Macko, The IDF Duvedevan Unit, Emergency Response & Research Institute (August 11, 1997)
- "IDF Elite Duvdevan Force Kills Poison Terror Plot Mastermind". Israel National News. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
- Gideon Levy; Alex Levac (4 May 2012). "In a Palestinian village plagued by crime, a thin line runs between burglars and IDF soldiers". Haaretz.
- "Soldiers in civilian clothing shot at Palestinians who, thinking they were being robbed, sought to defend their property; one Palestinian killed". B'Tselem. 24 April 2012.
- "Stories Differ After Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian". NPR. 13 June 2012.
- Yoav Zitun (18 April 2012). "Soldier dismissed after kicking bound Palestinian". Ynet.
- Gurvitz, Yossi (2023-04-18). "IDF Soldiers Enter Village, Kill Palestinian in Drill Gone Awry". +972 Magazine. Noam Sheizaf. Retrieved 2012-04-18.