IDF commando: It is the time of Jacob’s trouble

Commander of top IDF counter-terrorism unit gets biblical about the war he and his men are waging in Gaza.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza, Bible, Prophecy
Israeli forces battle Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Photo: IDF Spokesperson
Israeli forces battle Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Photo: IDF Spokesperson

On the morning of October 7, the commander of IDF Unit 217, commonly referred to as ‘Duvdevan’ (Hebrew for ‘cherry’), was woken by his friend, the commanding officer for personnel in the Southern Command.

“Bring everything you’ve got,” he was told.

Duvdevan is a counter-terrorism unit famous for its undercover work among Arab populations. It is also one of the IDF’s top fighting forces.

But even the commandoes of Duvdevan were taken aback by what awaited them upon entering the hellscape of the Gaza periphery on that Black Shabbat.

In an interview this week with Channel 14 from his new command post in a captured house deep in the heart of Khan Yunis, Col. D. recalls arriving in Kfar Aza that morning and immediately being greeted by 40 heavily-armed Hamas terrorists. He and his men fought for three days to clear the area of Hamas forces, and then prepared for the inevitable invasion of Gaza.

During this time, his wife gave birth to a daughter. “On the third day of fighting, they called me for a status report, and then concluded the call with ‘congratulations, you have a daughter.’ I sat on the sidewalk, raised my eyes to heaven and spoke with myself and with the Creator. Then it was back to war.”

Less than a year ago, Col. D. (his face covered for security reasons) was given the honor of lighting one of the Independence Day torches in recognition of Duvdevan’s outstanding counter-terrorism work. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Since entering Gaza, he speaks of non-stop intense fighting: “At point-blank range terrorists are emerging from tunnel shafts and firing RPGs and detonating explosive devices. We are engaged in face-to-face combat.”

At one point in the conversation, Col. D. is asked how he interprets what happened and is happening to Israel. He responds: “It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,” quoting Jeremiah 30:7. But the passage concludes by affirming that “he will be saved out of it.”

For Col. D., what’s important now is how he conducts himself in the midst of these biblical events. “I ask myself how I can help in this situation. And it’s not just me, but the entire unit,” he stresses. “We are here for as long as is necessary. Our mission is to defeat the enemy. Onward to victory.”