This kind of work is reserved for elite Israeli Army units trained to deal with the armed and dangerous elements of the enemy. The units are known as mistaravim, is the name given to counter-terrorism units of the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Border Police and Israel Police who operate undercover. Such units are specifically trained to assimilate among the local Arab population. They are commonly tasked with performing intelligence gathering, law enforcement, hostage rescue missions and counter-terrorist operations, that uses disguise and surprise as their main weapons.
The name is derived from the Arabic “Musta’arabi”, meaning “those who live among the Arabs”, which refers to the Musta’arabi Jews – Arabic-speaking Jews who lived in the Middle East since the beginning of the Arab rule in the 7th century, prior to the arrival of Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Training for these units is about fifteen months:
- Four months basic infantry training in the Mitkan Adam army base – the IDF Special Training Center.
- Two and a half months of advanced infantry training in the same base.
- Two months of the unit’s basic training, which focus on advanced urban navigation exercises and the beginning of counter-terrorism training.
- Four months Mista’arvim course, which covers everything from learning Arab traditions, language and way of thought to civilian camouflage (hair dying, contact lenses, Arab clothing).
- One-month courses – sniper, driving and different instructors courses.
Israel Video Network & Wikipedia contributed to this article. H/T Aaron Tobin