"Hezbollah took root in Gaza"

The Nesher battalion of the Gaza Division recently held its first evening in which past and present soldiers shared the challenges of serving along the Gaza Strip

Date: 31/01/2011, 5:06 PM     Author: Florit Shoihet

The Nesher battalion(a Field Intelligence Corps battalion designated to the Gaza Strip) held its first evening at the Urim base (in the Gaza Division), past and present soldiers both participating. The company’s activities since its establishment in 2003 were reviewed throughout the evening.

Commander of the Nesher battalion, Lt. Col. Gabay, revealed a sequence of some of the successful operations carried out by the company in the Gaza Strip in recent months. Among others, he spoke about a house where the company found a smuggling tunnel, later targeted by the IAF.

The battalion commander made it clear, however, that the Gaza Strip still constitutes a significant challenge for the soldiers. “The situation in the Gaza Strip presents a serious challenge for the company. The enemy is cruel and thinks deeply about its next move. We can say there is a Lebanonization process in the Strip,” he said. “Hezbollah took root in the Gaza Strip, organizationally as well. We are not dealing with a weak entity. They have advanced weapons, no less than ours.”

In terms of intelligence, where the Field Intelligence Corps excels, terror organizations in Gaza are still a challenge. “Their intelligence gathering system is not bad, yet they still make mistakes and they are still not an army,” clarified Lt. Col. Gabay before adding that, “this is a disturbing process.”

“What is standing behind the successes of the company is brotherhood between the soldiers, solidarity, friendship and seriousness in trainings,” continued the Nesher battalion commander, with what seemed to be real proof behind his words. The tens of now citizens, part of the more distant past and less part of this unique unit, were happy to meet with each other, years after fighting shoulder to shoulder. “Truly, it’s an experience, it’s very exciting to see everybody after so many years,” explained Tal Shildan with a smile, a former soldier of the March 2004 enlistment cycle who ended his service as an officer of
Tactical Aerostat Observation Systems. “It’s like belonging to family.”

Digging with a Hoe

Assaf Levy and Nissay Metatyahu, from the March 2002 and August 2001 enlistment cycles, respectively, were among the first soldiers of the company in the Gaza Strip, and today they remember the old days with nostalgia. “It was fun to be the first to do something. In the beginning, we were digging with a hoe, just like in the 50s, in order to build this mobile company,” they recall.
The current company’s soldiers were happy to meet the former soldiers, too, who’d walked down the same path they are taking today. “It’s cool to see people from previous cycles, and I’m glad they organized this evening,” said Dvir Hadar, a crew Sergeant in the company. “The veterans were happy to advise the soldiers to take it easy in their service, and they were interested in the capabilities displayed there, enthusiastic about the practicality of our modern means.”

The “Gaza Company” of the “Nesher” Battalion

The company was established in 2003 and its first base was located at Kerem Shalom (on the Gaza Strip border). In December 2009, the company moved to the Urim base. The company is comprised of several types of crews, which specialize in qualitative missions such as gathering information on terrorist facilities sites and gathering information by border patrols and using special vehicles.