On Thursday, November 20, the students at Shalhevet were privileged to hear from Steve Gar, a commander in the Israeli counterterrorist unit. Commander Gar spoke about the tremendous responsibility the counterterrorist unit has, including being the first responders to terrorist attacks and other suspicious activities. He described the intense training that mefakdim (officers) in the counterterrorist units must endure. He stated that if anyone shoots a civilian target during practice, they are immediately expelled. The purpose of their training is solely to take out the terrorists and not kill innocent people.
Commander Gar also explained that they are always improving and advancing their defense by learning from tragedies and using their knowledge to prevent future attacks. When the Fogel family, a’h, was murdered, an undercover member found the terrorists in a cave and brought them back to the Fogel home. They had the murderers reenact the killing to show the IDF how they can improve their intelligence. The killers mentioned that they left the house but went back in when they heard the baby crying. The counterterrorist unit was able to teach the IDF how to be better prepared for situations like these and how to prevent them altogether. Commander Gar also shared ways to protect yourself while waiting at bus stops and walking through the streets of Israel.
Commander Gar shared his passion for protecting his country and his family. As a father, he understands what it means to have your child taken from you, and as a mefaked, he knows it is a heavy price to pay to get them back. He also described the fear Israelis have to live with constantly, explaining that he does not go anywhere without a gun and how something as mundane as tying your shoes can put your life at risk during a terrorist attack. Commander Gar relayed two important messages: understand Israeli culture and recognize the existence of terrorism. “Terrorism is not just a problem in Israel, It’s everywhere. It’s important for us to look out for each other.”