Elite reconnaissance unit conducts tryouts

Recruits trying out for the Nahal Brigade’s elite reconnaissance battalion were tested for mental toughness, aptitude for team work, and physical fitness

Date: 06/12/2012, 2:46 PM     Author: Yael Livnat

Last week, the Nahal Brigade’s elite reconnaissance battalion held tryouts for new recruits hoping to join the unit. The tryouts came near the conclusion of November’s round of military recruitment, which showed a high level of motivation among new recruits hoping to serve in combat units – with nearly half of all new recruits aiming to serve in one of the infantry brigades.

Lt. Moshiko Gottlieb, a training company commander in the Nahal Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion, recently described the tryouts in an exclusive interview to the IDF (Zahal) Website. He discussed the challenges that the new recruits faced and what is demanded of fresh fighters wishing to serve in the Nahal’s Special Forces.

“Our goal is to check whether the recruit has physical and mental toughness and if he knows how to work in a team,” Lt. Gottlieb said.

In order to be considered, the recruits undergo three and a half days of intensive tests designed to examine how they work as individuals and in teams, both physically and mentally. They are required to demonstrate their mental abilities by analyzing missions and finding creative solutions for an operational assignment. Physically, recruits must complete long marches – crawling, carrying stretchers, doing push-ups, digging trenches and building shelters. The new soldiers are also tested on their ability to perform tasks as a team while the individuals’ initiative and the group’s social dynamics are examined.

“In the most recent selection trials, the order from above was to mainly test the limits of the recruits in terms of intensity and physical fitness,” Lt. Gottlieb said. “We ran tests that hadn’t appeared before, in terms of both the scale of the efforts and expanding the physical boundaries of the marches.”

Lt. Gottlieb explained that soldiers who pass the arduous selection process are required to display more than just physical and mental prowess. Specifically, he said, he expects the unit’s soldiers “to be fighting human beings who know how to overcome every challenge they meet, and at the same time to be ethical, devoted people who believe in humility and being of good character.”