In a special month-long exercise, the IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit recently trained to confront Hezbollah forces positioned throughout Southern Lebanon near Israel’s northern border. As one of the military’s special counter-terrorism units, Duvdevan typically works to thwart terror in Judea and Samaria — part of Israel’s central region — but is now preparing to battle similar threats facing Israel’s north.
The exercise included a week of training in urban warfare, leading soldiers through a large model of an Arab village containing simulated terror threats. Although the soldiers frequently train in similar villages located throughout Judea and Samaria, this exercise was notably different — featuring targets designed to resemble Hezbollah terrorists.
The training marked the unit’s second exercise in recent months aimed at addressing threats beyond Judea and Samaria. The exercise consisted of several drills in Israel’s northern region, preparing soldiers for a confrontation with nearby Hezbollah militants.
“Judea and Samaria is still our main area of activity,” explained Maj. Y, Duvdevan’s deputy commander, “but in cases of an escalation, and in a time of war, we know that we have to be prepared for a confrontation in the north or south.”
Duvdevan, one of the most elite units in the IDF, has been nicknamed the “disguised unit”— known for sending undercover soldiers into Palestinian villages where they gather valuable intelligence on terrorist suspects. The soldiers participate daily in missions that prevent acts of terror, arresting terrorists and clearing explosive devices intended for use in terror attacks.
“At the end of the day, our advantage stays the same: we come in strong — with the element of surprise and intelligence units on our side,” Maj. Y commented on Duvdevan’s arrests of terror suspects. “We are a unit that masters its area of expertise and that knows how to do its work.”
Duvdevan confronts a range of challenges in Judea and Samaria, making it the ideal unit to address the evolving threat of Hezbollah in the north. “We are familiar with all sorts of incidents and responses,” Maj. Y explained. “We have learned that every mission can be different.”
The elite unit consists almost entirely of specialists — soldiers who learn areas of expertise that are essential to the unit’s overall success. To enhance the soldiers’ respective skill sets, the IDF provides them with special weapons and advanced training customized to their particular tasks.
With these sophisticated tools, the IDF thoroughly prepares its soldiers to battle terror threats facing Israel — whether from Judea and Samaria or Hezbollah strongholds in Southern Lebanon.
“We must cut the grass before it grows,” Maj. Y said. “Today, the main objective of our work is to deal with threats before they become dangerous.”