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Want To Be an IDF Commando? Think Twice

Being an IDF commando sounds like a great thrill, but first you have to march with 50 pounds on your back in the hills of Jerusalem.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/8/2012, 1:58 PM

IDF hand-to-hand combat training
IDF hand-to-hand combat training
official IDF website

Being an IDF commando sounds like a great thrill, but first you have to march with 50 pounds on your back in the hills of Jerusalem.

The military has detailed a look at what goes into making a soldier into a commando. It described the three-week commando course in the Givati ground forces unit.

“Camouflage, combat in urban terrain, and Krav Maga –  lots of Krav Maga,’ the Hebrew term for hand-to-hand combat –  are featured in the course.

Here’s a sample of what you have to undergo just to finish the course:

Begin with a night navigation exercise, followed by a short combat practice. However, instead of going to sleep, march with 50 pounds on their back up into the Jerusalem mountains.

The destination is an old police station, and the next exercise, usually reserved for elite units, is to learn how to  “clean out” buildings and neutralize terrorist threats in close combat. The goal is to move from room to room, neutralizing attackers as they go.  

“The idea here is that they work under pressure. They’ll come to me and work until they’re completely breathless, then be tackled by more attackers with knives and clubs,” a soldier named “Abady” said .

If you still are raring to go, here’s the last gasp: a stretcher run. Pack up and head out to the Jerusalem mountains. After several hours of hard marching and ambushes, you reach another stopping point before the last task -- the stretcher march..

Ready to continue?

“Reach a bridge and booby-trap it with mines in order to prevent enemy forces from crossing,” a training officer barks. “From there return to the first rendezvous point, then continue another 20 kilometers to reach a valley. You have 12 hours. GO!”

You are carrying approximately 50 percent of your weight while walking in muddy ground. You can take a short nap around 6 a.m.

When the commander wakes you up, you have another mountaintop to conquer and then – surprise, surprise – carrying a soldier on a stretcher.

If you make it, you may feel like Lt. Noam Cramer, who throughout the entire exercise refused to show any signs of strain and then declared, ”I really enjoyed it.”

Your reward, besides knowing you succeeded and now are ready for real combat, is receiving commando knife as a graduation pin.

 If you still are interested in becoming a commando, contact your nearest IDF recruitment center.