Egoz Reconnaissance Unit
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The Egoz Special Force Unit (Hebrew: יחידת אגוז, Yehidat Egoz) is an Israeli Special Force commando unit, in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Egoz is a unit that specializes in guerrilla, anti-guerrilla warfare, behind enemy lines intelligence gathering, and more complicated ground activity. Egoz is part of the Commando Brigade but still completes basic training with the Golani Brigade.
Before the year 2000, Egoz operated mainly in Israel's Northern Command, combating threats from Hezbollah. Following Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, its operations were moved to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2003 and 2004, Egoz prevented more terrorist acts than any other IDF unit.
Service in Egoz
At the completion of training, Egoz soldiers began their service as Special Force operators. They begin training for special operations that occur mostly in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Syria. These operations are done in teams of around 15-20 soldiers and are highly classified. The Egoz unit also spends a small fraction of their time protecting in the most dangerous parts of the West Bank where a strong force is needed. The IDF keeps the unit's missions a secret and gives no information about the unit or the operations in which the unit takes part.
The Egoz Unit was founded in 1956 as a special forces unit (sayeret), but was disbanded and re-organized in 1964 due to a friendly fire incident. After the Six-Day War, it became a battalion. It was disbanded again following the Yom Kippur War due to manpower shortages in other units, and re-formed in 1995 as an anti-guerrilla unit (company). Most of the initial fighters came from the Shimshon Unit. Its commander was from the Navy Commandos and as a result, much of the discipline, tactics and professionalism come from the Navy Commandos, and are the foundations upon which the unit was built on.
In the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict, five members of the Egoz Unit were killed and six wounded in Maroun al-Ras, after they were hit by an anti-tank missile. Around 20 members of Hezbollah were killed.
In Operation Protective Edge, three members of the Egoz Unit were killed during activities within the Gaza Strip. On July 21, in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, forces from the Egoz unit engaged and killed ten Hamas operatives, including one who detonated a suicide vest.
Training starts with basic training and advanced training within the Golani Brigade. At the completion of this 8 month period the Egoz unit goes on a 65 kilometer Burette March with the Golani Brigade. Golani Soldiers will receive the brown burette but Egoz soldiers will receive the red burette of the Commando Brigade. At this point regular Golani soldiers are official fighters and begin defending Israel as fully trained fighters. The training of an Egoz operator has only just started however. Each Egoz soldier goes through extensive interrogations and interviews by Israeli intelligence to determine if he should be screened out from the second phase of training. Those that continue with the unit after this phase then start the highly intensive 10 month training program with Egoz. The training program in Egoz is known to be one of the hardest programs in the IDF and many recruits drop out due to the harsh nature of the program.
The second phase is a three month period where soldiers are brought to the physical and mental fitness that will be needed for the rest of training. The soldiers then complete courses in camouflage warfare, reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, various kinds of assaults, and extensive land navigation. The soldiers complete the parachuting course and learn parachuting skills that are specific to the needs of Egoz. Every soldier in Egoz then completes the commanders course as well as other highly classified courses. At the end of the year and a half of training the soldiers embark on the 100 kilometer end of training march where the soldiers will receive the Egoz pin.
- "IDF to unite elite units in new commando brigade". ynet. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
- ynet (Hebrew)