A recently released media report detailed how two mystic rabbis patrolled Israel’s border and successfully identified the locations of tunnels terrorists had dug into Israel. Several officers were sufficiently impressed to recommend using them in future IDF operations but more senior officers have refused.
Zman Yisrael, the Hebrew language edition of Times of Israel, reported on Monday that in 2015, a senior officer in the northern Home Front Command referred to as “Colonel E.” submitted a report titled, “Report on Joint Activities on the Issue of Locating Underground Mediums.” The report described the conclusions of Colonel E. after consulting with two unnamed mystic rabbis.
The official report was posted in its original Hebrew with the names redacted.
“I will begin by emphasizing that I am not a religious person,” Colonel E. wrote 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. Nonetheless, I wish to report an operation I carried out in cooperation with Mr. XXX and Mr. XXX. I am familiar with Mr. XXX from my period as commander of the Etzion. I patrolled the regions surrounding Jerusalem with Mr. XXX and know him to be a man of action who loves Israel and works for the good of the public and not from vested interests or preexisting personal agendas.”
About one and a half months ago, the two met with me at the district headquarters and we conducted a patrol of the camp. The district headquarters was made from an old British station that was built as a fort in the 1920-30’s. In the fort there is a huge underground water reservoir, which cannot be detected unless it is pointed out specifically,” Colonel E. wrote in the report. “The rabbi located it 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 do not know to what level this is an ability to identify underground spaces or if this was a matter of chance. 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.”
Times of Israel interviewed several IDF battalion commanders, police officers, and civilian security officers in areas in the north and south who patrolled with the rabbi along Israel’s border fences between from 2013 until 2016 when the kabbalistic patrols ended.
“They confirmed watching Rabbi Yehuda identify and locate what indeed subsequently proved to be subterranean structures and tunnels, and said that they were convinced that he could spot underground activities and assist the combat, engineering, and excavation troops working in the field,” Times of Israel reported. In the Times of Israel report, the rabbi felt the patrols should continue.
“If the army were more open-minded, people’s lives would be saved,” the rabbi said in a recent interview. “We know about dozens more tunnels that are scattered along the border, in the north and in the south. If the army were not so suspicious of everything that smacks of religion, then the major generals and brigadier generals with whom we spoke would give us a chance to help. It’s a shame, since a person who saves one life in Israel is considered as if he had saved a world and everything in it.”
His associate also wants the IDF to continue utilizing their divinely-guided abilities.
“In recent decades, I have been trying to help the Jewish people and the State of Israel using the knowledge and abilities that the Creator blessed me with,” the rabbi said. “I do so as a private citizen, on a volunteer basis, for no pay. My only goal is to prevent more fiascos, wake up the system, and, if possible, save people’s lives.”
Another officer, a Lt. Colonel battalion commander in the 91st Division in northern Israel and one of the founders of the IDF’s School of Guerrilla Warfare, was friendly with the rabbi. The rabbis initiated a conversation with the officer in 2013 and offered to patrol the border with him with the goal of identifying the locations of Hezbollah tunnels crossing over into Israel. The officer knew that such tunnels existed and was willing to “think outside of the box.”
“I’m not a religious person, but I was taught that you should never rule anything out completely before you look into it. I was skeptical at first, also because I was afraid that the move might not be accepted well,” the officer told Times of Israel. “I told him, ‘The system won’t look favorably on that, because it’s not an accepted thing to allow civilians to patrol along the border fence.’ But I decided to give the idea a chance just the same.”
He arranged the patrols, bringing along an army engineer who was familiar with existing tunnels that had already been discovered. They were shocked when the rabbi identified on such tunnel as well as another that would be discovered by the IDF one month later.
“When the brigade commander received an update from me that tunnels had been located in the field by alternative methods, he responded with indifference,” the officer said. “I told other colleagues in the sector about it, and they didn’t get excited. I decided not to write an official document.”
A new officer took over the sector and the rabbinically guided patrols were discontinued. At around the same time, the rabbis offer to perform a similar tour of the southern border with Gaza was accepted and the then head of the Israel Police’s Security Division, Deputy Inspector General Levi Amiti accepted their offer. The rabbi found what he said were 31 tunnels, and marked the exit openings of some of them. Six months later, during Operation Protective Edge, the army reported the discovery and sealing of 32 tunnels. At least one of the locations the rabbis identified was used by terrorists to attack IDF troops in that war.
Though officers and officials who have worked with the rabbis are convinced their mystic abilities can help Israel, the IDF has rebuffed further offers of help.