Egoz

wpe5.jpg (12474 bytes)

Overview & History


Named after an historic disbanded SF unit, Egoz is an IDF SF unit specializing in counter guerrilla warfare. Established in 1995, the unit was originally assigned to the Golani infantry brigade, and was reassigned under the IDF Commando Brigade in 2015. The unit also celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015.  

In 1982, following numerous terrorists insertions from the Israeli-Lebanese border, the IDF launched Operation Peace of the Galilee - a full-scale invasion to Lebanon aimed at killing as many terrorists as possible. In 1985 most IDF forces retreated and the South Lebanon "Security Zone" was formed - a long series of IDF military posts creating a few kilometers width killing zone.

In the first years the situation in South Lebanon was manageable. The guerrilla insurgents were under-trained and under-equipped and the IDF prevailed in almost all encounters. However, in the 1990's the situation rapidly escalated into a brutal conflicts, with the IDF taking casualties and injuries on a daily basis. Moreover, after years of combat, the guerrillas gained an advantage against the IDF regular infantry troops, who were primarily trained for high-intensity warfare and had spent only limited periods of time in Lebanon. Even the IDF SF units, which were trained in counter guerrilla tactics, faced difficulties engaging the guerrillas, who fought for sustained periods in the same territory and had an intimate familiarity with the region in which they fought and lived in.

Formation


In the mid 1990's, the IDF realized it needed for a dedicated and specialized counter guerrilla unit and formed Egoz in 1995. It was also decided that the newly formed unit will be part of the Golani infantry brigade, allowing it to largely gain from PALSAR Golani vast experience and expertise in the Lebanese front.

In order to quickly become operationally ready the unit was formed around a core of an entire team from an exiting SF unit - PALSAR Tzanhanim  plus dropouts from elite units such as Shayetet 13 and MATKAL. In addition, the unit's first senior officers were also graduates of elite SF units, primarily Shayetet 13.

In order to enhance Egoz counter insurgents fighting capabilities, a Oketz team was attached to the unit in its early years. This Oketz team was located at the same base as Egoz, accompanied Egoz teams in their missions and joint trained with them frequently. The Oketz team even joined Egoz operators in their final training stage so both units can become fully familiar with each other tactics.

Originally part of the Golani infantry brigade, Egoz wore the Golani brigade renown shoulder badge. However, when it was first formed, the unit designed its own unique badge seen above, which was eventually never used.

Evolvement


In May 2000 the IDF had withdrawn from South Lebanon, drastically minimizing the original need for the unit. At first it appeared that Egoz might be disbanded, much like Shimshon after the IDF withdrawal from Gaza Strip in 1994. However, later that year the LIC in the Territories broke out, and the IDF was in shortage for SF units, so while its original designation was a counter guerrilla unit for South Lebanon it shifted its attention to counter terror warfare for the Territories, and had successfully adjusted its training and organization to address its new mission.

As the Territories have rapidly undergone a "Lebanization" process, with Palestinian terrorists utilizing Lebanese insurgents' tactics against the IDF, Egoz was able to successfully leverage its counter guerrilla tactics in the Territories.

While extensively involved in the urban LIC taking place in the Territories, the unit still maintains its original Counter Guerrilla capabilities, as reflected by its training regime and operational deployment. While most of the unit was deployed in the Territories in recent years, the unit maintains a constant 24/7 alert for deployment in North of Israel. A grim reminder for the unit's continuous deployment in the South Lebanon front was received in May 2004, when one of its operators was killed in the area during clashes with guerrilla insurgents.

Egoz specialization in Israel's northern front is maintained in the unit's reserve force, which is deployed near Mount Hermon, backing up Alpinistim with an additional SF capable force.

Training


Egoz training regime consists of the following phases:

  • Six months basic and advanced infantry training.

  • Two weeks parachuting course at the IDF Parachuting School.

  • Three weeks SF NCO course at the IDF Infantry School.

  • Eight months of specialized training including, boulder warfare, woodland warfare, camouflage and fieldcraft, airborne insertions, navigation and extreme weather training in Mount Hermon with Unit Alpinistim. Due to the unit's deployment in the Territories, a focus is also placed on urban warfare and CQB.

Egoz Guide