The IDF is learning from its experience with the flotilla to the Gaza Strip,
and when the next flotilla – if there is one – is boarded by the navy, the soldiers will be assisted by attack dogs from the Oketz unit. The dogs will be the first to board the decks, to prevent harm to soldiers from hostile elements on board.
"As soon as you put an attack dog in an area where soldiers are supposed to get to, it keeps the place sterile and prevents anyone from approaching," a military source said. "Dogs can be placed by crane or other means. They'll be the first, and after them, the soldiers."
Dogs from the Oketz unit are trained to immobilize an enemy by biting – the more the enemy struggles, the harder the bite. "Attack dogs have proved their capabilities on many occasions," the source said. "They are strong and merciless, but in fact this is a non-lethal weapon that can certainly do the work (on the deck)."
The same source said dogs were involved in preparations for boarding the Turkish flotilla, but it was believed there would be no violent opposition from the people aboard the Marmara,
so they were not sent onto the decks.
"After that flotilla, we understood that this is indeed a good method and we're improving our abilities," he said. "A dog has no problem operating on a boat and can do great work."
It must be noted that in military investigations, officers have pointed out that after the Shayetet soldiers had succeeded in getting onto the deck, their operation was easy. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
testified to the Turkel committee
that the area which the soldiers reach must be sterile, and even hinted at the need for snipers.
Recently, in light of the Oketz unit's operational success, it has been decided to expand its activities in war and emergency situations. The unit will take part in training with other units which the dogs will then meet on the battlefield.
"This will create cooperation and familiarity between the dog handlers and dogs, and the officers," the military source said. "Then, when they have to operate during war, the initial familiarity of each handler and each dog with a different unit will increase efficacy."