Unit 81

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Unit 81
יחידה 81
FoundedUnknown; likely even before the establishment of the country
Country Israel
Allegiance Israel Defense Forces
Branch Military Intelligence Directorate
TypeMilitary unit
RoleProviding technological solutions to operational needs
Part ofSpecial Operations Division
Motto(s)Make the impossible possible

Unit 81 (Hebrew: יחידה 81, "Unit eight - one") is a secret technology unit part of the Special Operations Division of the Military Intelligence Directorate, an independent service of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The unit focuses on building and supplying cutting-edge technologies to Israeli combat soldiers and spies.[1] It often related to the Unit 8200 responsible for signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption.[2]


Haim Yaari (1915–1986) first known commander of the Unit 81, former commander of Shai the secret service of Haganah and one of the founders of Mossad.

The origin of the unit is unknown. The unit existed since at least the early days of the State of Israel in 1948 and was referred to as the "Intelligence Branch 8" but must have existed in some form long before the establishment of the country in Shai the secret service of the underground Jewish defense forces Haganah under the British Mandate of Palestine. The unit was then responsible for the development of special technologies and the training of the operators and agents responsible for operating them. It was later called Unit 432.[3]


All operations of the unit are highly classified. The unit consists mainly of military personnel, but civilians also serve in the unit including highly qualified experts in unique fields such as quantum physics, aerospace engineering, and nanotechnology.

Among other things, the unit develops advanced cyberwarfare weapons, tools for SIGINT, and combat systems used by the Sayeret Matkal the most elite special forces unit of the IDF that is also part of the Special Operations Division.


The unit was awarded 37 Israel Defense Prizes and a Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation. It is the most decorated unit in the IDF.[4]

According to a 2021 report by the Israeli business newspaper Calcalist in the last decade alone 100 veterans of the unit have founded 50 technology companies having raised US$4 billion with their accumulated valuations surpassing US$10 billion.[5]

Unit Commanders[edit]

Name Duration
Haim Ya'ari[6] 1948-1950
Haim Timor 1950-1957
Dan Barli 1957-1959
Uri Sela 1959-1960
Haim Timor 1960-1962
Ori Goren (Greenblatt) 1961-1966
Avraham Arnan 1966-1968
Ori Goren (Greenblatt) 1968-1970
Yossi Langotzki 1971-1975
Yair Reski 1975-1979
Shlomo Tirosh[7] 1980-1985
Moshe Morocco
Pinkas Bucharis[8]
Ran Shachor
Oz Liv 1994-1998
Tal Dilian 1998-2002
Shahar Argaman
Avner Paz Tzuk 2007-2010
Yuval Reina 2010-2013
Ronen Corman[9] 2013-2016
A' 2016-2019
L' 2020-

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Behar, Richard. "Inside Israel's Secret Startup Machine". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  2. ^ "Why spies make the best entrepreneurs". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  3. ^ Simantov, David; Hershkovitz, Shai (2011). Publishing in the IDF - The First Decade of the IDF Intelligence Division. Israeli Ministry of Defense Press. p. 109.
  4. ^ ""יש לנו אפס תקלות": היחידה הסודית נחשפת לראשונה - וואלה! חדשות". וואלה!News (in Hebrew). 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  5. ^ Shulman, Sophie (2021-01-08). "Unit 81: The elite military unit that caused a big bang in the Israeli tech scene". CTECH - www.calcalistech.com. Retrieved 2021-03-12.
  6. ^ "October 1944, Paratroopers from Eretz Israel in Mandatory Palestine".
  7. ^ "סג"מ שלמה תירוש".
  8. ^ https://www.mod.gov.il/About/ceo/Pages/buchris.aspx
  9. ^ ""יש לנו אפס תקלות": היחידה הסודית נחשפת לראשונה - וואלה! חדשות". 14 April 2014.