All Israel

New Israeli military unit formed to defend Gaza border communities

Unit establishment ceremony (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The Israeli army has formed a new unit specifically dedicated to defending the Israeli communities located close to the border with Gaza.

Officially known as the "Gaza Envelope LOTAR Unit" in Division 143, the new unit will consist of reserve forces and military veterans serving in elite IDF units who reside in local communities close to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military announced that the new unit would be trained to provide "a rapid and available response to terrorist incidents in the sector."

Due to the complex security challenges in the Gaza border area, soldiers in the new IDF unit will receive special training to certify them as "skilled operatives for the sector's challenges," the IDF spokesperson said.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi-Halevi ordered the formation of the new unit as part of the military’s wider lessons learned from the initial probe of the Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7, which resulted in widespread destruction in several Israeli border communities. Approximately 3,000 Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking hostage over 250 people.

Hundreds of eligible Israeli soldiers have reportedly applied to join the new unit and are currently being processed through IDF selection.

Lt.-Col. (res.) A, who commands the Gaza Envelope LOTAR Unit, says its forces will embody the resilience and revival of the Jewish state.

"The formation of the unit in this period contains within it the essence of the story of the State of Israel - from destruction to revival," he said, noting, "the blow we received on October 7th, the regaining of our composure, the social cohesion, the transition to operating and working together, the beginning of rehabilitation and building the future so that it will be a better and safer place."

"For this reason," he continued, "we have gathered here, in the heart of an area that has been damaged and suffered so much, where we lost our best people, and now we are bringing about the construction of a unit that will serve as a sectoral anchor and a magnet for all those who have the defense of the homeland and the desire to continue contributing to the country in front of their eyes."

Prior to the Oct. 7 attack, Israel's security establishment only deployed a limited number of troops along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip and, instead, reportedly invested heavily in various high-tech security border installations. The overall strategy was to rely on smart technologies for border defense rather than a large number of troops.

In 2017, Israel began constructing a massive $1.1 billion high-tech border security fence along the 40-mile border separating Hamas-ruled Gaza from Israel. In December 2021, Israel completed the construction of its extensive “iron wall” border fence on the Gaza border. The fence consisted of remotely controlled weapons and sophisticated surveillance capabilities.

At the time, then-IDF Chief Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi hailed the new high-tech security fence as a security innovation.

“It represents thinking outside the box, and expresses the kind of thinking we are committed to in the IDF,” Kochavi said.

“A change in reality that what was before it will no longer be. It is quiet now, but a look at the last few months shows that even the lightest violations have been dealt with vigorously and will be in the future, and persistently, and in the last year, especially toward Iran,” Kochavi added.

Former Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, who currently serves in the War Cabinet, claimed at the time that the new security barrier “deprives Hamas of one of their capabilities, and places an iron wall, sensors and concrete between it and the residents of the South. Routine life here is our victory, and it is the greatest enemy of terror organization.”

However, the devastating results of the Hamas invasion on Oct. 7 exposed Israel’s over-reliance on remote high-tech solutions, leading to a re-evaluation of previous security doctrines.

Read more: IDF | GAZA

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories