A rabbi identified the terror tunnels destroyed in 2014's Operation Protective Edge - before the IDF located them, Zman Yisrael reported Monday.
In 2015, senior IDF officials received a report from Colonel A., the Home Front Command's Northern Commander, titled, "Report on Joint Activities on the Issue of Locating Underground Mediums" and discussing actions taken to locate enemy tunnels on Israel's northern border.
The report focused on two rabbis, Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda, and his aide Rabbi Moshe, whose full names were withheld.
"In this region there is a huge underground water reservoir, which cannot be detected unless it was pointed out specifically," A. wrote in the report. "The rabbi located, without us saying a word, the underground site and the empty space under the region. When we continued touring, he located another two underground spaces, and was able to describe criminal activity carried out by armed [people] which had occurred near the site over three years prior."
"I am not a religious person," A. emphasized at the beginning of the report. "I am a rational person, and most of my actions in my professional and personal life have stemmed from rational thinking and examining everything intellectually."
"I saw an honest person who has some interesting abilities and who wants to help. In my estimation, when looking at the larger picture, there is no reason not to use the rabbi to help us with regards to various operational challenges."
Zman Yisrael interviewed various individuals in the IDF, as well as Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Moshe. Those in the IDF who agreed to speak to Zman Yisrael refused to allow their names to be published, due to concerns that they would be seen as too spiritual or mystically-oriented.
"If the army were more open, people's lives would be saved," Rabbi Moshe said. "We know of dozens more tunnels along the border, both in the north and south. If the army weren't so suspicious of everything which smells of religion, then the major-generals and lieutenant colonels we spoke to would have given us a chance to help. It's a shame, because 'one who saves a single Jewish life is considered to have saved an entire world.'"
Lieutenant Colonel Oded, a former battalion commander in the 91st Division, said, "I'm not a religious person but I was taught not to rule anything out before looking into it. At the beginning, I was skeptical, also because I was afraid it would not be taken well. I told him, 'The system will not take kindly to this, because it's not considered acceptable to allow civilians to wander around the system fence.' But I decided to give it a chance."
"I asked our brigade commander, Colonel Alon, for approval. He didn't love the idea but I convinced him to allow Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Moshe to join a tour with our battalion's engineering officer and another few soldiers. I told him that in the worst case scenario, it would make the residents feel better. This way, at least, we can tell them that we are doing everything possible to investigate their complaints and they'll calm down."
"They rode in an army vehicle along the western area...and they came back with amazing results. I remember that the engineering officer was shocked."
"When the brigade commander received my update he responded indifferently. I told other colleagues in the area and they weren't impressed either. I decided not to write an official document on the matter."
In January 2014, Rabbi Yehuda located 31 terror tunnels, and marked the exits from several of them. Several months later, during Operation Protective Edge, the IDF located and destroyed 32 terror tunnels.
Israel Police told Zman Yisrael: Regarding everything concerning the tunnel threat, the way the tunnels are discovered, and how they are handled - turn to the IDF, which is responsible for the issue.
The IDF told Zman Yisrael in response "We did not find any communications with mystical sources."