IDF soldier surveys sinai desert 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An exclusive combat reconnaissance unit that operates in the shadows and guards
southern Israel against an array of terrorist threats from the Sinai Peninsula
has met with many operational successes, its founder, Maj. Benny Meir
told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
Sayeret Rimon, which operates under the
auspices of the Givati Brigade, was first established by Ariel Sharon as
southern commander in the 1970s. It spent years combatting terrorism in the Gaza
Strip, until it was disbanded in 2005.
In 2010, former southern commander
Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Galant ordered Meir, of the Givati Brigade, to revive the
unit, with the intent of securing the south from the growing jihadi salafi
terrorist presence in Sinai, and combating the criminal and terrorist smuggling
networks in the area.
“The decision by senior brass was to set up a
desert combat unit that specialized in operations in this landscape, a unit that
would know how to tackle terrorism and criminal smuggling,” Meir said.
2012, the unit was enlarged to the size of a battalion, as its scope of
operations and successes grew.
“Not every unit can deal with the
difficulties and professional challenges faced by Sayeret Rimon. The soldiers
utilize flexibility, speed and creative thinking. They are trained to be part of
the land. It’s a different approach,” Meir added.
“I set the unit
up from scratch. The effort proved to be well worth it. In recent years, the
unit’s operational successes have been inspirational,” Meir said, without going
The fact that three of its officers received the excellence
award from the IDF chief of staff in a single year is also a source of pride for
Asked if he was concerned by the growing unrest in Sinai, Meir
said, “Sayeret Rimon is a superb unit, whose soldiers can deal with any
challenge. It’s part of a very strong division [the 80th Territorial Division,
responsible for the Egyptian border]. In my opinion, whatever challenge arises,
from south to north, the military will know how to deal with it.”
week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon noted that radical Islamic elements are
attacking Egyptian security forces in Sinai. He confirmed that Egypt turned to
Israel with requests in recent weeks to insert additional armed forces for
“As long as they invest these forces into
combating terror, in accordance with requests from us, and don’t violate the
peace treaty, we certainly allow them to combat the challenges that the
Islamists are posing in Sinai,” he said.