51 years after it was founded and 43 years after it was dismantled, the Haruv ("carob") reconnaissance unit is now returning to the IDF as a special operations unit contained within the Kfir Brigade. The unit will focus on fighting in Gaza and specialize in fighting in tunnels
The reconnaissance unit—called a "sayeret" in Hebrew—will operate in the form of three divisions (a smaller force than an infantry company), a process that will be completed in about a year and a half. "It's just exciting," said Yosef Koller, one of the original unit's commanders in the 1960s.
The original sayeret disbanded after the Yom Kippur War and was absorbed into the Armored Corps, which had suffered many losses. Thirty of the original unit's soldiers participated in the re-establishment process together with the new recruits.
In contrast to the divisions in the patrol battalions of the other infantry battalions, the Haruv reconnaissance units will be divided into specialized teams that will specialize in fighting in the West Bank (mainly in built-up areas) and in the Gaza Strip, with an emphasis on tunnel warfare.
The unit's squads, who will be trained for a year, will acquire the capabilities that exist today in units such as Duvdevan and Yahalom, with state-of-the-art combat equipment, radios and guns made for tunnels, robotics and sniper rifles.
To be accepted into the new unit, candidates will have to already be in the Kfir Brigade to undergo a combined screening process that also selects candidates for the Oketz canine unit.
Training of the reconnaissance soldiers will take place at the base of Kfir's brigade training in the Jordan Valley. Kfir will continue to be the IDF's largest infantry brigade, which includes five battalions.
The structure of the new reconnaissance unit provides insight into how the General Staff and the Ground Forces currently see the shape of the elite infantry unit in the southern arena: more rapid raid capabilities, fighting in the tunnels and gathering intelligence as a maneuverable force. The units have fewer anti-tank elements and less capacity to sabotage enemy forces.
Lt. Col. Yaniv Barut, commander of the Haruv reconnaissance unit, explained to Ynet: "It's hard for me to believe that they would give up a quality and regular infantry unit like Kfir in the third Lebanon war, but this focus is excellent for us. Our main expertise will be fighting in a civilian environment, damaging who needs to be damaged. I will soon begin a position in the Gaza Division, but this is one of the most exciting projects in which I have taken part."