|Branch||Israel Defense Forces|
|Part of||366th Armor Division,
Israeli Southern Command
|Motto(s)||"With me to Givati", "Any Place, Any Time, Any Mission", "The most combatant, Givati"|
|Colors||Purple berets, purple and white flag|
|March||"Mi She-Halam Givati" ("Those who dreamt Givati")|
|Colonel Yaron Finkelman|
|Effi Eitam, Imad Fares, Amos Yarkoni|
The Givati Brigade (Hebrew: חֲטִיבַת גִּבְעָתִי, literally "Hill Brigade" or "Highland Brigade") is an Israel Defense Forces infantry brigade, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets. The Brigade's symbol is the fox, alluding to Shualei Shimshon (שועלי שמשון, lit. "Samson's Foxes"), a unit in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
Order of Battle
- 424th "Shaked" (Almond) infantry battalion
- 432nd "Tzabar" (Cactus) infantry battalion
- 435th "Rotem" (Broom) infantry iattalion
- 846th "Shualei Shimshon" (Samson's Foxes) special forces battalion
- 845th "Rimon" (Pomegranate) special operations unit (desert commando)
- "Maor" (Light Source) signal company
- 906th "Tomer" (Date) infantry battalion (religious unit)
Givati was formed in December 1947 and placed under the command of Shimon Avidan. At the start of the 1948 Palestine war, the brigade was charged with operations in the central region of Israel, participating in operations Hametz, Barak and Pleshet. As the war entered its second stage, Givati became the 5th Brigade, was moved to the south, and concentrated mainly around Gedera, Gan Yavne and Be'er Tuvia. One battalion fought on the Jerusalem front, participating in Operation Nachshon and the Battles of Latrun.
When Israel declared independence, Givati consisted of 5 battalions, with notable commanders such as Jehuda Wallach (51st Battalion), Ya'akov Pri (52nd Battalion), Yitzhak Pundak (53rd Battalion), Tzvi Tzur (54th Battalion) and Eitan Livni (55th Battalion). A sixth battalion (the 57th) was founded on May 30, 1948 from Irgun veterans, in preparation for Operation Pleshet. The brigade or parts thereof subsequently participated in the Battle of Nitzanim, Operation An-Far, Operation Yoav, etc. It was converted into a reserve brigade in 1956 and its 51st "HaBokim HaRishonim" infantry battalion transferred to the Golani Brigade.
Givati was reestablished as a mechanized infantry brigade and then proceeded on to amphibious warfare in 1983. In 1986 the brigade's purple beret was officially approved. Since 1999 it serves under Israel's Southern Command.
The Givati Brigade served under the Southern Command and was deployed in the Gaza Strip. The brigade was awarded a medal of honor for its service in the Gaza Strip during the last two years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when under the command of Imad Fares. Under Fares' command, Givati carried out thousands of operations in the Gaza Strip.
The brigade continued its operations in the Gaza Strip under the command of Eyal Eisenberg and the new head of Southern Command, Dan Harel. Givati's Recon Battalion, the Dolev combat engineering platoon and the Bedouin scouts battalion, won a recommendation of honor, mainly for their activities against Rafah's smuggling tunnels. Givati forces, combined with a special combat engineering tunnels unit, and IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers, managed to suppress most of Rafah's tunnels.
On May 11 and May 12, 2004, two armored personnel carriers of Givati's Dolev engineering battalion were destroyed by Palestinian militants. The two separate attacks, in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighbourhood and the Philadelphi Route near Rafah and the Egyptian border, claimed the lives of 11 soldiers. Islamic Jihad militants captured some of the remains, causing outrage in Israel. Following international pressure and further Israeli operations in Zeitoun, the bodies of soldiers were returned to Israel.
In the Zeitoun incident, UNRWA ambulances were used as transport by healthy Palestinian fighters. In an interview with Haaretz, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz also said that UNRWA's ambulances were used by Palestinian militants in order to smuggle some of the remains of IDF soldiers killed in Zaitoun neighbourhood in Gaza on May 11, 2004. UNRWA has described the May 11 incident as a hijacking.
After two more soldiers were killed in Rafah, Israel launched Operation Rainbow. This involved Givati forces reinforced by Golani Brigade soldiers with IDF Achzarit HAPCs, a battalion of officers from the class-commanders school and several IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers. The stated aim of Operation Rainbow was to destroy the terror infrastructure of Rafah, destroy smuggling tunnels and stop illegal missile shipment.
The brigade's Shaked battalion, under the command of a Lt. Col. "Ofer" (surname not publicized) was rocked by scandals in the second half of 2004 while stationed in the southern Gaza Strip. Two of the battalion's four company commanders were removed, although one was later exonerated. Captain "R", a Druze officer was tried for killing Iman al-Hams, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, in Rafah in October 2004. Captain "R" was acquitted of all charges by a military court. Another officer, Captain "N", was removed after Palestinian gunmen infiltrated the Morag settlement and killed three soldiers. in September 2004.
On September 12, the Givati Brigade left the Gaza Strip as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, one month after the evacuation of approximately 8,000 Jewish settlers living in 22 communities in the Strip. It marked an end to the 38 year IDF presence in the Gaza Strip. Today, two battalions are stationed outside the Strip, while the third battalion is positioned on the northern border.
On June 27, in response to Hamas' kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit, the IDF started an offensive in the Gaza Strip to repel the continuous rockets being fired into the Israeli town outside of Gaza and to pressure Hamas to release Shalit. Givati, together with the Golani Brigade, Engineering Corps and the Armored Corps, participated in Operation "Summer Rains." However, Israel failed to achieve the release of Shalit, and a November 26 ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian groups forced Israel to withdraw its forces.
Captain "R", the former Misayat Shaked company commander who was accused in "confirming kill" of 13-year-old Iman al-Hams in Rafah in October 2004, and was acquitted in court, received NIS 80,000 in compensation from the state, according to a December 14 Ha'aretz report.
Givati was the first brigade to receive the new IMI Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle, in August 2006.
The Givati Brigade participated in Operation Hot Winter. It also participated in the ground phase of Operation Cast Lead, when of all IDF brigades, it penetrated deepest into Gaza City. The brigade's reconnaissance battalion entered the Tel el-Hawa neighborhood in search of Hamas operatives two days before the cease fire went into effect. An estimated 40 Palestinian gunmen were killed as dozens of apartments were swept. Hamas reportedly decided to fire the commander of the Gaza City Brigade after its forces fought against Givati.
In November 2012, the Givati Brigade participated in Operation Pillar of Defense.
In the summer of 2014, the Givati Brigade participated in Operation Protective Edge. During a US-brokered humanitarian ceasefire, elements of the brigade's reconnaissance company were attacked by Hamas fighters in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. Three soldiers, including the company commander of the Givati Reconnaissance Company (Sayeret Givati), were killed in the ensuing firefight. The squad of Hamas fighters dragged an injured lieutenant's body into a tunnel, and the assistant company commander took a small group of soldiers with him into the tunnel in an attempt to rescue the injured lieutenant. The IDF Rabbinate later declared the lieutenant deceased for the purposes of Jewish burial and grieving rituals, and Hamas has up to the present claimed to be in custody of the lieutenant's body. The assistant company commander was later awarded Israel's highest military honor, and the soldiers that accompanied him into the tunnel were also awarded military commendations. The Givati Brigade was the most highly decorated brigade in the IDF in 2014, partially as a result of action seen during the summer 2014 conflict.
- History of the Israel Defense Forces
- List of battles and operations in the 1948 Palestine war
- Mechinat Rabin
- Genesis 1, 16
- Aviram, Itu (1999). With Me to Givaati (in Hebrew). Israel Ministry of Defense. p. 134. ISBN 965-05-1007-9.
חלפו עוד שנתיים, עד פברואר 1986, עד שהכומתה אושרה סופית ומפקדי החטיבה וחייליה יכלו לחבוש אותה בגאווה.
- "Israeli body hunt sparks clashes". BBC News. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- http://canadiancoalition.com/unrwa/Reuters-UNAmblulance-110504.wmv Archived February 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/427679.html Archived March 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Associated Press (2010). "Israeli Soldier Indicted in Girl's Death". msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Harel, Amos (22 March 2006). "IDF officer Cleared in Death of Gaza Girl to Receive Compensation From State". Haaretz. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- http://www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=7&docid=33912&Pos=68&last=0&bScope=False Archived December 4, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
- "IDF Launches Gaza Offensive". ynetnews. 28 June 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Weiss, Efrat (3 August 2006). "Extensive Operation in Strip: 8 Palestinians Killed". ynetnews. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- 'A necessary operation', The Jerusalem Post, August 4, 2009
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