Leftist protestors and Palestinian residents are already quite familiar with tear gas, stun grenades and even rubber bullets, but on Friday they were in for a surprise: Dogs.
Security forces arrived near the village of Dir Nizam in the Binyamin area accompanied by the Border Guard's canine unit. "They chased us with vicious dogs," one of the protestors told Ynet.
"Although the dogs had restraints, it was still a step up in crowd dispersal means," the demonstrator said.
However, security officials say the new tactic helped spot and detain stone throwers.
"The dogs help us apprehend people without hurting them. They are not attack dogs – they are patrol dogs trained to use their sense of smell and vision to conduct short chases, pinning the suspects to the ground until the soldiers arrive."
The Border Guard's Canine Unit includes a small number of fighters and Belgian Malinois Shepherd dogs, which are purchased in Europe and go through a prolonged training period alongside an assigned officer.
The training course includes discipline, taming, chasing after suspects, and searching structures, open areas and forested areas in all weather conditions. The "pooches" are also trained to pass through difficult obstacles, noises and live fire.
The training period can last between three to five months, after which the dog and its accompanying officer go through an obstacle course that prepares them for operational activity.
The canine unit was deployed in the Binyamin area for the first time Friday, and the soldiers said they were pleased with the new addition.
"They make the job more efficient and minimize the risk of hurting people," one soldier said.
However, protestors were enraged by the new enforcement method and said it constituted a dangerous escalation.
"The IDF wants to set dogs on us, which reminds us of a dark time in the history of the Jewish people," onen protestor said.