IDF Updates Elite Soldiers' Captivity Training Following Gilad Shalit's Debriefing

While it was not yet clear what the changes in the so-called 'captivity week' would be, it is likely that they have to do with an enhanced ability to endure isolation.

The Israel Defense Forces has updated the captivity training it provides to soldiers in its elite units over information garnered following Gilad Shalit's lengthy captivity in Gaza.

While it was not yet clear what the specific updates the IDF has introduced into the training of Israel Air Force pilots, as well as members of such outfits as Sayeret Matkal and Shayetet 13, it is likely that they were related to enduring lengthy isolation.

Five months ago, after concluding Shalit's debriefing upon his return to Israel, security officials were surprised at the former captive's detailed account, saying that Shalit had apparently paid attention to even the smallest facets of his captivity.

The IDF then used the information Shalit provided to complete the work of a special team formed to deal with kidnapping incidents, headed by then Brig. Gen. Noam Tivon.

Recent years have seen the nature of these captivity trainings change significantly, with special units' veterans describing actual abuse, which would include electric shock, starvation, and violence, leading to complex emotional states. Two years ago, a Sayeret Matkal trainee even fled such captivity training.

While currently the session (known as "captivity week") no longer includes abuse, and is even conducted with the close supervisions of mental health professionals, it is still considered a mentally and physically trying experience.