IDU fights terror like never before

The recent surge of civil unrest in 'mixed cities' around Israel has prompted the Israel Dog Unit's first-ever emergency recruitment call.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

"המשטרה לא שולטת, אין לילה בלי אבנים". התפרעויות בשכונת שמעון הצדיק
"המשטרה לא שולטת, אין לילה בלי אבנים". התפרעויות בשכונת שמעון הצדיק
צילום: יונתן זינדל, פלאש 90

With official security forces stretched thinner and thinner over the past few days, residents have begun forming local groups to defend themselves against what Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared as ‘the second front of our current war - the unacceptable violence in cities throughout Israel.”

The Israel Dog Unit (IDU), a nonprofit heavily involved in providing canine security to vulnerable communities, has made an unprecedented emergency call to nearly 1000 volunteers to bring their four-footed friends to secure the more volatile cities against the armed gangs that have been roaming them; once-peaceful spots like Acre, Lod, Ramla, Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem are rapidly beginning to resemble war zones, and civilians are grateful for the added protection of the IDUs armed volunteers and highly trained service dogs. Volunteers are being asked to commit at least one day a week until the situation has resolved itself.

In the Samaria region, the volunteers formed a human wall between the newly founded town of Evyatar and the nearby Palestinian Authority city of Beita, where bonfire-lit protests and chants of Itbach al-Yahud are a nightly occurrence. The IDU’s cutting-edge thermal imaging drones have flown endless sorties over the area, providing invaluable situational awareness to the canine teams and IDF troops in the area, discovering infiltration attempts, and helping to push rioters back when they were deemed to pose a threat. One woman from Evyatar commented that ‘Usually, loud noises keep me up at night. Now, I can only go to sleep when I hear the drone overhead.’

The city of Lod has become the eye of the hurricane for much of the civil unrest in Israel, with cars, homes, businesses, and synagogues going up in flames night after night and a steady stream of violent incidents reported even in broad daylight. The IDU’s security teams have been hard at work escorting the citizens through the streets, braving live gunfire, rocket salvos, and increasing hostility from police and rioters alike. One resident of Lod, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, wept openly as he was escorted through the city, saying that ‘This reminds me of the Kristallnacht. I can’t believe this is happening in Israel.”

The Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv saw only a single police patrol last night, despite credible threats of an organized, armed march into the area; the IDU readily filled the void, moving to protect the synagogues and homes of Florentin and Jaffa residents.

IDU volunteers standing guard in Tel Aviv. (IDU Public Relations)

A similar patrol was dispatched to the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem, which has been the center of tensions since several apartments in the neighborhood were ruled to be under Jewish ownership, and the residents thereof faced with eviction. Nearly nightly protests have invariably ended violently, although the area was quiet after the IDU teams arrived.

IDU canine team standing guard in Shimon Hatzadik.

At the IDU’s base in Kfar Tapuach, a crowd of approximately fifty rioters from the nearby Palestinian Authority city of Yassuf began to burn tires, block roads, and attempt to make their way through the fields around Tapuach to reach the city. An IDU drone operator joined the IDF soldiers and local response teams. The IDU commented that “Our drones once again proved incredibly effective in supplying real-time info and photos showing the exact movement of the rioters, enabling the local response team and IDF troops to fully contain the threat in short order.”

IDU drone footage showing burning tires, a roadblock, and a growing crowd of rioters at the entrance to Yassuf.

The increased tensions have also made themselves known in the search and rescue work that is the IDU's principal peacetime occupation. The search for Ohr Basquila in Zichron Yaakov has gone on for days on end; Ohr failed to return from his habitual walk through a nearby orchard, leaving his family concerned that he might have been injured or abducted into nearby Palestinian Authority towns.

IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov, commented "I don't know how our volunteers are able to operate on so little sleep, and it is truly a miracle that we have not had to turn down any call for help, whether for rescue or security. We are doubling our efforts to recruit and train new dogs and handlers as well as to generate the necessary funds to maintain the unit’s operational effectiveness through this difficult time.”