Duvdevan Unit

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Unit 217
CountryState of Israel
AllegianceIsraeli Defense Force
Roleurban warfare
covert operations
counter terrorism
Part of89th "Oz" Brigade
Motto(s)(Hebrew: כִּי בְתַחְבֻּלוֹת, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לְּךָ מִלְחָמָה.) "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war" (Proverbs 24:6).
ColorsRed and white

Unit 217, frequently called Duvdevan (Hebrew: דובדבן; lit. cherry) is a mista'arvim (counter-terrorism) unit within the Israel Defense Forces, part of the Commando Brigade.

Duvdevan are noted for undercover operations in urban areas, during which they often wear Arab civilian clothes as a disguise.[1] They are also known to be trained in human and mechanical counter-surveillance. Unlike other special forces units, they can operate independently in more than one place at a time. The unit performs many high-risk and complicated operations, including targeted killing, kidnappings, and a range of other undercover operations in Arab areas, many of which are classified.[2]


The unit prides itself on being the spearhead of Israeli counter terror operations. In 2002 the unit was described 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.[citation needed]

Organization and mission[edit]

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 30-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 a fruit that sits at the top of a tree.[2] 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. The unit can perform high-risk arrests, raids, targeted killing, kidnappings, and a range of other urban warfare operations.[2]

The unit is part of the "Oz" 89th Commando Brigade (a brigade dedicated solely to special operations) but Duvdevan operators undergo basic training in the Paratroopers Brigade. The unit is most similar to the Yamas police unit.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steve Macko, The IDF Duvedevan Unit Archived 2007-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, Emergency Response & Research Institute (August 11, 1997)
  2. ^ a b c Craven, Nick (October 19, 2000). "Squad That Strikes from the Shadows". Daily Mail – via Questia Online Library.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Jack (28 February 2011). "Israel's Guns Against Terrorism". Assault Weapons. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 21. ISBN 1-4402-2629-6.

Further reading[edit]

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