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The Unknown and the Unsung

by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

They are the unknown and the unsung heroes that retrieve the bodies of those who died trying to save life.  They are the Yasar units.  If not for them – the bodies of the dead soldiers would be commandeered by Hamas and used as hostages again.

The Yasar units are military search units responsible for locating and retrieving the remains of fallen Israeli soldiers in enemy territory. They operate under the Southern Command and are reinforced by units from Yasar Golan and the 98th Division.

Their Mission:

  • To locate and retrieve the remains of fallen Israeli soldiers.
  • To prevent the enemy from using these bodies as leverage.
  • To document operations and findings for future identification and to assist in locating missing persons.

Their Composition:

  • Veterans of combat units
  • High demand to serve in these units
  • Many soldiers served in ultra-orthodox Nahal or Hesder yeshiva programs
  • Some veterans of patrol units and secular soldiers

Their Methods:

  • Conduct a field analysis to understand what is required.
  • Coordinate with local security and operational forces.
  • Build a dedicated force for each mission.
  • Follow an organized series of commands.
  • Use starlight, night vision devices, and other techniques in darkness.
  • Document every meter of activity using maps and military cameras.
  • Work closely with the IDF Unit for Locating Missing Persons.

Their Challenges:

  • Operate under fire and in dangerous conditions.
  • Face difficult and traumatic scenes.
  • Deal with the emotional toll of the work.

Their Motivations:

  • Sense of duty and responsibility.
  • Belief in Hashem, Yahadus, and the importance of their mission.
  • Support from their commanders and fellow soldiers.
  • Knowledge that they are providing a vital service to the country and the families of the fallen.

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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