Photo Credit: IDF
The Arabs who terrorized Elad in 2022 were tracked down by the Desert Frontier fighters.

The IDF in late 2023 suspended the Desert Frontier unit which recruited hilltop youth from outposts in Judea and Samaria. The decision to suspend the unit was made after a series of complaints from B’Tselem and Arab NGOs about its members manhandling PA Arab suspects. B’Tselem posted the video below, depicting the unit’s stop-and-search action that required the intervention of a regular IDF unit.


Desert Frontier was partially disbanded and finally moved to the Golan Heights area. Half a year later, according to Hakol HaYehudi’s report on Thursday, Since the unit left the Jordanian border sector, the number of weapons seized along the border has decreased by more than 50%.

IDF data reveal that since the beginning of 2024, 78 illegal weapons have been seized at the border along the Jordan Valley. If the rate remains the same throughout 2024, the final figure will be only about 234 terrorists’ weapons, compared to 2023 and 2022, when the unit operated in the Jordan Valley and seized about 500 weapons each year.

Incidentally, to seize those 500 illegal weapons, an Israeli fighter must endure around 500 confrontations with angry Arabs who aren’t afraid to challenge the searchers physically, just as can be seen in the video above. Turns out those hilltop youths crave the opportunity to confront suspected terrorists, while your regular IDF soldiers may be less eager.

On Independence Day 2022, two PA Arab terrorists infiltrated the Haredi city of Elad near Rosh Ha’ayin and went on a rampage, murdering and wounding passersby with axes and a firearm, and then fled the scene. Elite units were called in to hunt them down—the Shin Bet, and the IDF’s special forces Egoz, Maglan, and 888, but they failed to find the terrorists. There was concern that they were on their way to commit another massacre.
Then the Desert Frontier unit, which specializes in tracking, was called in. “They were amazing,” recalled one of the officers involved in the operation. “They didn’t stop searching for the terrorists for even a moment.” While most of the units involved in the search stopped to rest, the Desert Frontier fighters, who were trained to stay in the field for long periods, were indefatigable.

“They found blood-stained bills, a zipper homemade gun, and the remains of a dead pigeon that the terrorists had eaten,” the officer said. After 62 hours, the terrorists were apprehended near that find, just shy of a mile from the site of the attack in Elad (Desert Frontier: The IDF Unit Recruiting Hilltop Youth).

Far-left organizations advocated against the unit and complained that the fighters beat up Arabs. The pressure reached the boiling point after Haaretz reported on an incident in which three Arabs were caught entering an agricultural farm in Binyamin with knives in their vehicle. According to the invaders, the Desert Front soldiers beat them severely. A defense ministry investigation was launched which is still underway. The fighters denied the accusations and pointed out there were several units present at the scene who handled the detainees and it was not clear against whom the complaints were directed.

The Desert Frontier unit also offered a solution to a growing problem in the IDF combat units that no one dares mention: Bedouin trackers. According to Hakol HaYehudi, it appears that today’s IDF Bedouin trackers are not as well trained and effective as used to be their reputation. Also, at least one Bedouin tracker was suspected of collaborating with and even assisting Jordanian smugglers. The Desert Frontier soldiers were better and far more reliable at tracking and apprehending suspects. They were also more dedicated to the mission.

Nevertheless, General Yehuda Fox, who is about to leave his post as Central Command Commander, decided to dismantle the best trackers’ unit at his disposal, to please the leftist media and B’Tselem. Perhaps his successor, Brigadier General Avi Bluth, who grew up on the Samarian hills and who currently commands the Judea and Samaria Division, will see fit to bring those great trackers back.

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