Almost four years after the attack on the Israeli warship during the Lebanon war, the navy's torpedo boat fleet has been awarded a mark of distinction, winning the IDF's only prize for operational excellence.
"We operate in every location in which Israel has naval interests," said Colonel Eli Sharvit, commander of the navy's missile boat fleet. "During the previous year, we sailed to the same extent that we would during a war year. We are fighting the axis of evil – a recognized axis – and our operations are ongoing, lasting days and weeks."
The missile boats' operations are shrouded in secrecy, and little of what they do is published. The timing and location of their operations is also kept under wraps. "The prize is the result of extremely extensive operations," Sharvit said, hinting at least at a small part of their activities.
"We all saw the seizing of arms on the Francop, which affected terror organizations and their ability to arm," he added, referring to a freighter seized by the navy about 100 miles off the Israeli coast in November 2009.
Looking over the list of excellent units which were granted prizes by the Chief of Staff on Monday, it is clear that the navy has won some particularly impressive awards. The second place in the operational units category was won by the southern base in Eilat, from where a number of vessels have left for the Red Sea, according to reports. The training base also won a prize for excellence in training.
Sharvit said the navy enjoys fascinating operations that are also productive, even though they are mainly performed out of the limelight.
"Sometimes the results of the operations can be seen, but in most cases they are hidden – and it's better that way," he said. "Apart from modesty, it's good that we operate under the sound threshold, so that we can continue to work with a low profile."
Third place in the same category was won by the IAF's Hornet squadron – the only prize taken by the air force.