Sayeret (Hebrew סיירת, pl. "sayarot"), literally means "reconnaissance unit" in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In practice, these units specialize in commando and other special forces roles, in addition to reconnaissance (the degree of specialization varies by units and current needs). Such units are usually a company or a battalion in strength.

Sayeret units in the IDF

All combat brigades in the IDF have a unit with improved weaponry and training used for reconnaissance and special forces missions. Historically the brigades used to only have one company-sized unit outfitted to do this job, known as Palsar (Hebrew Contraction of: פלוגת-סיור, "Plugat Siyur" (singular) / "Plugot Siyur" (plural), "Reconnaissance Company"). Although the Palsar are mostly oriented at battlefield support (which is their "raison d'être"), many have participated in special operations during recent years. All infantry units as well as some armored units have Palsar.

While in the past there were differences between the "siyur" units, due to the experiences of the past decades the IDF is now consolidating them into larger units with many different capabilities: battalion-sized units called Gadsar (contraction of "Gdud siyur", "Reconnaissance battalion"). Each "Gadsar" is made up of three specialized "Plugot" (companies): Demolitions ("Plugat Heil Handasa", or Palhan), Reconnaissance ("Plugat Siyur", Palsar) and Anti-Tank / Heavy Weapons ("Plugat Neged Tankim", or Palnat).

This is part of the "Yatah" ("Low-Intensity Combat Unit") Project. This project aims at changing the Reconnaissance battalions into specialized urban counter terror units, that are specifically trained and equipped to operate in current combat situations. It must be recognised that the Palsar of these battalions are still considered to be of superior quality in comparison to the other two companies.

Other "sayarot" are larger units, operating under corps and commands. There are several battalion-size special forces units which report directly to regional, functional (navy/air-force) and the general commands. The best known of these are Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13 and Sayeret Shaldag.

List of known sayeret units

* Sayeret Matkal is a special operations unit under the IDF Intelligence Command. It is a designated deep reconnaissance unit but it also has counter-terrorist responsibilities. The unit is modelled on the British Special Air Service. It is best known for Operation Entebbe, in which they rescued more than 100 Air France airline passengers hijacked to Uganda by PLO terrorists.

* Sayeret Golani is considered the most highly trained out of the four infantry sayerots. The training is the toughest in the IDF, after Shayetet 13. The unit participated in the Entebbe operation in conjunction with Sayeret Matkal and Sayeret Tzanhanim.

* Sayeret Shaldag is the Israeli Air Force Commando unit. The unit perform special missions by using advanced combat technologies.

* Sayeret Yahalom is a special elite combat engineering unit of the Engineering Corps. It is specialized in accurate demolitions and planting pinpoint explosives along with other high-scale combat engineering operations in and outside the Israeli borders)

* Shayetet 13 ("Flotilla 13") is the Israeli naval commando.

Other sayarot and elite special operations units that became public over the years:

* Sayeret Egoz - IDF Northern Command Counter-Guerilla Unit
* Unit Oketz - IDF K-9 unit
* Unit Moran & Unit Meitar - IDF Artillery Corps Special Forces Anti-Armour Units
* Unit Yachmam - IDF Target Observation and Deep Reconnaissance
* Unit Yanmam - Airborne-capable Anti-Aircraft unit
* Sayeret Maglan - Airborne Forces Anti-Tank Unit
* Sayeret Haruv - Former IDF Central Command Special Forces unit
* Sayeret Shaked - Former IDF Southern Command Special Forces unit
* Sayeret Rimon - Former Occupied Territories Counter-Terrorism unit that was forerunner to others like Shimshon and Duvdevan. Meir Dagan was a member of Rimon.
* Sayeret Shimshon or Samson Unit - Gaza Strip: Former Occupied Territories Counter-Terrorism unit
* Sayeret Duvdevan - West Bank: Occupied Territories Counter-Terrorism unit
* Unit Yaban - IDF/Navy Force Protection unit (Along with Unit Oketz has female operators within its ranks)
* Unit Yaltam - IDF/Navy Salvage and Recovery unit
* LOTAR Eilat - IDF Reserve Force Counter-Terrorism/Hostage Rescue Unit, based at the Southern Israeli port city of Eilat.
* Unit 669 - IDF/AF Aeromedical Rescue Unit.
* Palsar 7 & Palsar 188 & Palsar 401 - The 7th, 188th and 401st Armored Brigades Reconnaissance units
* Unit 707 - Former IDF/Navy Defensive Divers unit.
* Unit 5707 - IDF/AF Target Observation and Surveillance unit.
* Unit 869 - Specialist Visual Intelligence, Observation and Surveillance unit
* Unit Alpinistim - IDF Alpine unit that patrols the Golan Heights and provides protection for IDF Electronic Listening Posts located at Mount Hermon and Har Avital. This unit also provides alpine rescue services.

Each of the four Infantry Brigades (Golani, Givati, Nahal and Paratroopers) has its own Gadsar ("Gidud siyur", as mentioned above).
* Gadsar Nahal - West Bank
* Gadsar Tzanchanim - West Bank
* Gadsar Golani - Gaza Strip
* Gadsar Givati - Gaza Strip

ee also

* isayeret

External links

* [ IDF official Website]
* [ - Israeli Special Forces Database] (pay site for non-Israeli visitors)

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