Outgoing commander of the Yahalom commando unit: "Our source of strength lies not in our robots, but in our people"
Lt. Col. Ido Mizrachi was recently appointed commander of the elite Yahalom commando unit, replacing Lt. Col. Sahar Abergil.
Yahalom, the elite special force of the Combat Engineering Corps, operates in various terrains and specializes in robotics, diffusion of bombs, destruction of enemy infrastructure and targeted outposts, minefield neutralization, and active combat such as the planting of bombs in enemy territory.
Lt. Col. Abergil served as the commander of the unit for two years, during which he advanced its cutting-edge capabilities and led it in operations throughout the entire region.
"Our source of strength lies not in our robots, but in our people," the outgoing commander stated at the ceremony marking the change of command. "Our weapons will not win our battles, but the motivation of our soldiers will."
"I'm accepting a job today with a feeling of pride and purpose," his successor said. "It is a position that is the dream job of every commander who serves in the Combat Engineering Corps."
Brig. Gen. Yossi Morali, Chief of the Combat Engineering Corps, also spoke at the ceremony, discussing both the threats facing Israel and Yahalom's deterrent role. "A pronounced threat in the territories surrounding us underscores the significant challenges of the near future," he said. "[We face] a hidden enemy, a massive increase in anti-tank missiles, unguided rockets, combat in urban and complex terrains, an increase in explosive devices, underground combat, creation of an arsenal of weaponry. All of these, coupled with uncertainty in the surrounding regions, reemphasize the importance of the Ground Forces – particularly the Combat Engineering Corps and the Yahalom Unit – owing to their ability to create a deterrent force and enable us to operate in a determined fashion."
"Yahalom is not a just another unit in the IDF in general and in the Combat Engineering Corps in particular," added Brig. Gen. Morali. "Not in its size, not in its missions, not in its atmosphere, not in its determination or its uniqueness."
While bomb squads have been part of the Combat Engineering Corps since the War of Independence, it was only in the 1970s that an elite bomb squad unit was established – the Yachsap. Following the start of the First Lebanon War, the need arose to have greater and more precise expertise in destruction and bomb diffusion, even beyond enemy lines. A commando engineering unit, the Sayeret Yael, was thus created. Thirteen years later, the Yachsap and Sayeret Yael joined forces, forming the prestigious Yahalom unit.