Secret Shorts: Avner Shor’s New Book on Sayeret Matkal

Haim Watzman

When my son informed me Saturday night that he was taking all three of my pairs of walking shorts back to the army with him, I was left scratching my head. Why would a commando-in-training need three pairs of walking shorts? He wasn’t telling me, and I resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never know.

In shadowy, prestigious elite military units, not only operations, but mundane everyday activities remain secret pretty much forever. As if I needed to be reminded of that, Sefarim, Ha’aretz’s Wednesday book supplement, has a two page spread (in Hebrew) on a new book about “The Unit”—Avner Shor’s Crossing Borders: Sayeret Matkal and Its Founder, Avraham Arnan. Reviewer Yiftah Reicher-Atir, himself a veteran of The Unit, notes that Shor’s book contains little about the actual operations that Sayeret Matkal has carried out since it was founded in 1957. The large majority of them remain classified.

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