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The Netzah Yehuda Battalion (also known as Nahal Haredi ) is a battalion in the Kfir Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The purpose of the unit is to allow religious Israelis to serve in the IDF in an atmosphere conducive to their religious convictions. The battalion's main action area is the Jeninmarker.

History & Structure

The battalion was founded in 1999, and originally contained only 30 soldiers. As of 2009, the battalion had grown to over 1,000 soldiers, and has reached the status of a fully functioning battalion. The battalion recently marked its 20th draft.

Netzah Yehuda's official battalion number is 97.

The battalion runs like every combat unit in the IDF. Training in the battalion is that of IDF infantry: four months of basic training followed by an additional two months of advanced training.

Today, at any given time, the battalion holds close to 1,000 soldiers, including two full companies in training, one company in beginning of active service, and two Combat Units—Palchod (Recon Unit) and Mesai'at. A third Combat Unit-Mivtzayit, was opened in October 2009, due to a big increase of soldiers in the most recent drafts. In the past there was a small special forces platoon (Machsar) composed of soldiers from the battalion but was shut down after Colonel Dror Shpigel became commander of the battalion.

The battalion is also fully mobile, the only one of its kind in the Kfir Brigade.

Religious Accommodation

The battalions motto is "V'haya Machanecha Kadosh", which in English means "And Your [military] camp shall be holy", a phrase taken from the Hebrew Bible describing the importance of keeping a Jewish military camp free of sin (in exchange for Divine assistance in battle).

As the battalion places great emphasis on accommodating the religious needs of the soldiers the Netzah Yehuda bases follow the highest standards of Jewish dietary laws and the only women permitted on these bases are wives of soldiers and officers.

As the battalion runs on a voluntary basis and does not draft soldiers, it is one of the few units in the IDF which depends on a recruitment mechanism in order to source new troops. It actively recruits soldiers from Hareidi & Da'ati families; there are also many volunteers from overseas who enlist.

Combat

The unit is responsible for certain areas of operation around the Jenin area. The soldiers regularly go out on arrests & missions in the West Bank area with a high rate of success.The battalion lost its first casualty on August 19, 2006 when a Palestinian gunman from the city of Tammun shot from close range, and killed, Staff Sergeant Roe Farjune at the Beka'otmarker Checkpoint east of Nablusmarker. Nearby Netzah Yehuda soldiers killed the gunman shortly after.

Image gallery

Image:Nahal Haredi 2.jpg|Soldiers of the battalions Advanced Recon Company's (Palchod) Sniper Platoon (Machleket Tzalafim) prepare for a night-time operation into the West Bank Arab city of Tubas.Image:Nahal Haredi 3.jpg|Photo of a suicide bomber who was apprehended at the Bekaot Roadblock on March 28, 2006, by Netzah Yehuda soldiers.Image:Urban_combat.jpg|Netzah Yehuda Battalion's Recon Unit prepares for a nighttime operation into the West Bank.

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