Kfir Brigade Logo
The Kfir Infantry Brigade, subordinate to the 162nd Division (Plada) in the Central Command, is the youngest and largest infantry brigade in the IDF. The unit was officially formed in February 2005 out of a collection of independent battalions - Nachshon, Shimshon, Duchifat, Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haredi), Lavi and Haruv. In addition to its six regular battalions, Sayeret Oketz (Special K-9 unit) and Sayeret LOTAR (Special Counter-Terrorism Unit) are also officially part of the Kfir Brigade.
Infantry brigades provide flexibility and maneuverability to the modern battlefield. They are capable of operating under any field and weather conditions, day or night, combining rapid movement and firepower. Kfir battalions are trained to fight alone, though they can be joined with other forces and services in integrated combat. They can be transported by helicopter, fight mounted on armored vehicles, tanks or APC's and can operate against armor, attack helicopters and enemy infantry.
The Kfir Brigade is a major component in maintaining Israel's security, as it specializes in anti-terror fighting and combat within dense, urban areas. Kfir soldiers stand at the forefront of a determined fight against terrorism and share the burden of intense fighting. Kfir battalions are deployed in every major Palestinian city, from Hebron in the south to Tulkarem and Jenin in the north (before the 2005 disengagement, Kfir was also located in the Gaza Strip). The brigade carries out challenging, complex operations demanding that soldiers demonstrate a high level of expertise, steadfastness, initiative, and determination on a daily basis.
The soldiers of Kfir have played important roles in both regular and special operations in Israel's war against terrorism. Its successes have included catching suicide bombers, uncovering terrorist headquarters and seizing illegal weapons and explosives. Units from Kfir have also been instrumental in many high profile IDF operations, including: Operation Defensive Shield (2002), Operation Hot Winter (2008) and Operation Cast Lead (2009).
Kfir is one of the five regular brigades of the Infantry Corps. This corps is responsible for training and coordinating infantry operations with other forces and it is overseen by the Ground Corps Command, which is responsible for unifying and streamlining infantry, armor, artillery and engineering forces, training doctrine matters, planning and R&D.
Soldiers in the Kfir Brigade undergo intense combat training that prepares them for action in urban areas and fighting amongst the local Palestinian population.
Kfir Brigade officers train in urban combat
During four and a half months of basic training, the soldiers learn the basics of army discipline and physical fitness while becoming proficient in the use of various weapons such as the M-16, M-4 and Tavor assault rifles. During basic training the soldiers will also complete no fewer than ten forced marches of increasing length that test a unit's motivation and teamwork.
After basic training, the soldiers will undergo three months of advanced training focused on urban combat and fighting as an integrated group. Courses on navigation, rapid response, explosives, and fighting while mounted on armored personnel carriers are completed. Kfir soldiers are also put through Arabic courses which enable them to better converse with Palestinians as a major part of their operational activities will involve direct contact with the local population. In order to pass advanced training, each individual soldier must successfully overcome a rigorous one mile obstacle course as well as proving a high level of physical fitness through the army's standard PT test.
Upon completion of advanced training, the majority of soldiers join an active duty unit in one of Kfir's six battalions. Those selected for further training are sent to complete sniper, paramedic or combat driving courses.
The battalion was named after Nachshon Ben Aminadav, who symbolized bravery and pioneering spirit during the biblical Exodus from Egypt. In 1998, the IDF resolved to create a "unique" battalion whose job is to fight in the West Bank. In November of that year, Nachshon's first company, "Erez," was formed. The army officially announced its formation and completed filling its ranks in February 2000. Nachshon is responsible for the Palestinian town of Tulkarem, acting in the "Ephraim" territorial brigade.
The battalion was named after the biblical Samson, a man of intense strength who helped protect the interests of the Jewish people. In 1989, the Shimshon unit was formed following the Intifada in the areas of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. In 1995, with the transfer of Gaza City to Palestinian autonomy, Shimshon's undercover ambush unit was dismantled. In November 1997, a decision was accepted in the IDF to form a regular infantry battalion that will operate in Gaza, the Shimshon Battalion. The unit was stationed in Gaza until Israel's unilateral disengagement in August 2005. Shimshon now assumes responsibility for the Palestinian town of Bethlehem and operates in the Etzion territorial brigade.
Netzah Yehuda Battalion:
In 1999, the army launched the Netzah Yehuda initiative which was designed to provide a suitable environment for the enlistment of soldiers from the Haredi population into the Israel Defense Forces. The project was founded with the cooperation of the Netzah Yehuda Rabbinical Association, the Defense Ministry's Nahal and Youth Branch, and the IDF. In its infancy, Netzah Yehuda served as a company in the Nahal's Brigade 903. In 2002, it became an independent battalion. The battalion provides its soldiers with a setting suited to the religious community and its beliefs. In this setting the rules of conduct concerning modesty and Jewish religious law are respected and kept. In 2002 Netzah Yehuda began operating as a combat operational battalion, in the area of the Jordan valley where they were responsible for operations in the Palestinian city of Jericho and Tubas. Thanks to the unit's many operational successes from 2002 to 2008, Netzah Yehuda was transferred and now assumes responsibility for the Palestinian city of Jenin.
The battalion was formed towards the end of the 90's, when the IDF sought to assign each battalion with a sector in order to create complete familiarity and specialization with the terrain. The battalion is responsible for the southern Mt. Hebron area and the city of Hebron, situated in the Judea territorial brigade.
The battalion was named after Sayeret Duchifat, the Duchifat Reconnaissance Unit. During the War of Attrition, it was common belief in the IDF that there was no future for armored vehicles in the military. And so, Sayeret Duchifat was turned into a reservists unit. This reconnaissance unit fought in the Yom Kippur War and was then disassembled for the last time. In the Peace for Galilee Campaign, the unit's veterans were drafted to form a young reservist anti-tank brigade, along with past reconnaissance combatants and various volunteers. In a single hour the brigade destroyed about eighty enemy tanks and two helicopters. As part of the military lessons learned after the war, it was decided to establish a regular army anti-tank battalion which was named "Duchifat". Every since its formal formation in 1992, Duchifat Battalion has been operating as a mechanized infantry battalion under the Armor Brigade, which carries out high-quality security operations in the area of Judea and Samaria. Duchifat is tasked with security responsibilities in the Palestinian town of Ramallah, in the Binyamin territorial brigade.
In 1966, former Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin first proposed the formation of "Sayeret Haruv," the Haruv Reconnaissance Unit. This unit specialized in routine security operations along the Jordanian border. It was during this period that the "pursuit" mode of combat was developed in the Jordan Valley - a section which goes by the nickname of "Land of Pursuits" nowadays. The Haruv Battalion was re-established as an infantry battalion in 1995. The Battalion assumes responsibility for the Palestinian town of Nablus, and operates in the Samaria territorial brigade.
Sources: Israel Defense Forces