Top 7 Israeli Special Forces Units - MilitaryView (2024)

Being under constant threat, Israel has established some of the world’s most elite and well-respected special forces units. Israel Each unit has a defining characteristic specialty and job to keep Israel and its citizens safe at any cost.

Here are Israel’s top seven special forces units.


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REFAIMTranslated to “ghosts,” it is Israel’s newest multi-dimensional Elite unit.

It consists of IDF personnel from the Air Force, Armored Core, Intelligence, telecommunications, cyber, and reconnaissance divisions. Recruiting the finest men from its special forces units, including Magellan, Yahalom, and Duke Devan.

The unit’s goal is simple: to be self-sufficient and independent while finding and exposing its targets.

By bringing together most of the IDF‘s branches and elite forces, the IDF made a unit that works well together and has a single leader and goal.

Although the unit’s missions have been kept a secret, it has been confirmed that they have been operationally active since 2020 and have already taken part in some of Israel’s recent conflicts and Wars.

Refaim is not only just preparing for the future. It is the future of the battlefield and the IDF.


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DUVDEVANis the IDF’s elite counter Terror unit. It conducts covert operations in urban areas, frequently dressed as Arab civilians in order to infiltrate terrorist cells and disrupt terrorist activity.

The squad executes numerous high-risk and complex operations, including targeted assassinations, kidnappings, and other classified covert missions.

When they are not conducting high-profile arrests or gathering Intelligence on Israel’s enemies, they are always on call and ready to spring into action.

5. 669

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Unit 669 is the IDF search and rescue Special Forces Unit. They are tasked with hell-born extraction recovery and medical treatment of injured soldiers as well as civilians.

Since they might have to fight their way to casualties Behind Enemy Lines, this unit is good at repelling fast roping, scuba diving, and counter-terrorism.

Unit operators get a lot of training in Special Forces tactics and become excellent ground soldiers. They also get a lot of training in medicine.

The defining factor of a 669 operator is the ability to make difficult decisions under extremely high pressure and to rescue operators from Deep Behind Enemy Lines.


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SHALDAG is the Israeli Air Force’s Tier 1 SF unit. Most of Shaldag’soperations are highly classified and unknown to the public.

What is known about the unit is that they can be deployed undetected in The combat zones to conduct special reconnaissance, establish airfields, and air traffic control, helping the Israeli Air Force strike its targets from the air.

Unit operators speak in the IAF’s language and transmit precise Target coordinates to fighter jets and attack helicopters.

When the unit is not engaged in top-secret classified operations, it analyzes Israel’s enemies and prepares for whatever challenges it may face in the near future.


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SHAYETET 13 is Israel’s Elite Naval Commando unit operating in the sea, on land, and in the air in various Daring and special missions.

They are frequently likened to the U.S. Navy Seals and the Special Boat Service of Great Britain.

Most mission specifics and active operator identities are highly confidential. The unit engages in various operational Activities, including strategic damage to enemy Maritime infrastructures and Gathering high-quality Intelligence on enemy operations.

SHAYETET 13 excels in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, Maritime intelligence gathering, Maritime hostage rescue, and vessel boarding.


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SAYERET MATKAL is considered one of the world’s best Special Operations units. Their operations are among the most top-secret in Israel, and only those with the highest clearance levels in the Israeli security system can access information about them.

What we know about the unit so far is a deep reconnaissance force that operates beyond enemy lines to gather strategic Intelligence.

The unit is completely independent of the IDF’s usual structures and receives Its missions directly from the general staff.

It is the meeting point at the Pinnacle of Israel’s intelligence and Special Operations communities. Today, sayeret is allegedly carrying out high-risk clandestine missions deep within the enemy territory in order to keep Israel and its citizens safe.


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YAMAM is Israel’s tier-one Counter-terrorism unit.

They specialize in hostage rescue and offensive raids against hostile Targets in civilian areas. When it comes to close-quarter combat, very few units in the world are better or more experienced.

They are at the very tip of the Spear of Israel’s defense establishment, and there are very few nights in a year where Yamam operators are not out operating in hostile areas hunting some of the most dangerous Terrorists in the world.

They’re not only Israel’s number one counter-terror unit but also considered the best counter-terror unit in the world.

Top 7 Israeli Special Forces Units - MilitaryView (2024)


What is the most elite military unit in Israel? ›

Sayeret Matkal
General Staff Reconnaissance Unit
Part ofIDF General Staff Headquarters Aman (Special Operations Division (He))
Garrison/HQSouthern Israel
Nickname(s)The Unit
Motto(s)המעז מנצח (Who Dares Wins)
14 more rows

What is the elite ghost unit in Israel? ›

The Multidimensional unit goes by several names in Israel, it is also called the “Ghost” unit and Unit 888. Structurally it is part of the new 99th Division which is a “multi-arena infantry division” that is supposed to bring together ground forces with the air force and other assets.

What are Tier 1 units in Israel? ›

The IDF tier one units are Sayeret Matkal, Sayeret Shaldag, Shayetet 13 (the naval commandos) and the Airborne Combat Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669. [iv] Matkal, akin the British SAS and inspired by it, reporting directly to the IDF General Staff is probably the most famous IDF unit.

What is the Navy SEAL equivalent in Israel? ›

Shayetet is the Hebrew word for "cruise". This is Israel's equivalent of US Naval Seals.

What is the Israeli CIA called? ›

Mossad, (Hebrew: “Central Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations”), one of the three major intelligence organizations of Israel, along with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security). The Mossad is concerned with foreign intelligence gathering, intelligence analysis, and covert operations.

What are IDF special forces called? ›

The General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, commonly known as Sayeret Matkal (Hebrew: סיירת מטכ"ל‎) is a special forces unit of the IDF. 27.12.21. IDF Editorial Team.

What is the Israeli equivalent of the SAS? ›

Sayeret Matkal is the Israeli equivalent of 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force) of the United States and it is also compared to the British Special Air Service (SAS). The most famous mission of the unit, is when it spearheaded Operation Entebbe to rescue 248 hostages held in Uganda by 8 terrorists.

What are the green berets in Israel? ›

Many Mahal foreign volunteers are also known to serve in the Nahal Brigade, providing a highly motivated and disciplined core of soldiers for the brigade. Nahal Brigade soldiers are distinguished by their light green berets, which earned them the nickname "sticklights" (Hebrew for glowsticks).

Is Delta Force better than SEALs? ›

Generally speaking, both units are equally capable of executing all specialized missions that JSOC is tasked with. Again, because of DEVGRU's extensive training for specialized maritime operations, they are more likely to receive missions like the rescue of Captain Phillips at sea.

What are Israeli SEALs called? ›

Each year, 20,000 young men try out and 40 or fewer are ultimately selected to serve in Shayetet-13, the Israel Navy SEALs. Known as “men of silence,” these elite naval commandos fight the war between the wars, undertaking covert missions beyond Israel's borders.

Does Israel have the best special forces in the world? ›

Shayetet 13 is respected as among the best of the world's special forces,and is compared to the US Navy SEALs and Britain's Special Boat Service. The details of many missions and identities of active operatives are kept highly classified.

What is the most powerful position in Israel? ›

The Prime Minister is the most powerful political figure in the country.

What is the name of the best commando of Israel? ›

Sayeret Matkal, whose official name translates to the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, was established in 1957 as a special commando formation modeled after the British Special Air Service (SAS) with the ability to conduct operations behind enemy lines.

What is the commando unit of Israel? ›

The Maglan unit (212) is a commando unit whose mission is to operate deep in enemy territory while focusing on attacking and destroying specific targets and gathering accurate intelligence. Maglan was established in June 1986 as an elite unit specializing in anti-tank warfare using advanced weapons.


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