Sayeret Matkal, is considered to be one of the best special operations units in the world. They are one of Israel's most secretive units and almost all of their operations are highly classified and not revealed to anyone without the highest security clearance within Israel’s entire security establishment.
What is known about the unit is that they are a field intelligence-gathering unit that conducts deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence. The unit is completely independent of the IDF’s usual structures and receives its missions directly from the General Staff. Sayeret Matkal is the meeting point at the pinnacle of Israel’s intelligence and special operations communities. Matkal works closely with other tier 1 SF units particularly Shayetet 13 and Shaldag. It’s rumored that their missions have also crossed over with the absolute highest level of US Special forces such as the US Army's CAG.
In 1957 the IDF decided that it needed a unit that can be completely autonomous, without the command or budget restrictions of regular sf units. In the selection process, they decided that they needed the very best of Israel’s youth and actively selected people with extreme levels of intelligence, but also athlete level fitness. The vision was to create a unit composed of the very best soldiers that would be able to carry out near-to-impossible missions anywhere in the world, in any conditions.
Sayeret Matkal began to operate independently a year later as the General Staff's elite special operations force, modeled after the British SAS. In the late 60s, Sayeret Matkal began developing the first hostage-rescue and counter-terrorism techniques in the world. The unit was kept top-secret during its initial years and its mere existence was never officially acknowledged until the late 1970s.
In 1976 Sayeret Matkal shocked the world when they spearheaded Operation Entebbe and rescued 245 airline passenger hostages in Uganda.
Instead of a normal military raid, they disguised themselves as the country's dictator by replicating his exact vehicle and entourage. The world had never seen a unit that operated with this level of intelligence and creativity.
Although Sayeret Matkal has its own insignia, it is also one of the only units in the IDF whose operators are not allowed to wear it in public due to its classified nature. Rumor has it that the unit’s operators carry their well-earned unit pin in their shoe.
While most of Sayeret Matkal’s missions are top-secret and unknown to the public, the unit has allegedly carried out countless high risk operations in almost all of Israel’s wars and conflicts in the past 60 plus years.
In a rare public sighting, during the 2006 2nd Lebanon war, Sayeret Matkal carried out a mission in a hospital in the city of Baalbek, 100 kilometers deep into Lebanon. The hospital served as an operations base where Hezbollah planned attacks together with Iranian instructors, confident they were out of reach of the IDF.
Approximately 200 commandos from Sayeret Matkal fast-roped from helicopters and infiltrated the hospital. While the precise objectives of the raid still remain classified to this day, Matkal killed at least 10 Hezbollah Terrorists and sent a strong message that they can operate anywhere in Lebanon and that they will go anywhere to eliminate their targets.
Today, Sayeret Matkal is allegedly carrying out high risk clandestine missions deep within enemy territory in order to keep Israel and its citizens safe. When they are not carrying out special operations, they are preparing for their next mission. They live in the shadows and strike fear into the hearts of Israel's enemies. When Israel needs to get the job done, they know who to call upon.