President Reuven Rivlin. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

“You are the wonders and miracles of our time,” Rivlin told Unit 504. “What you do cannot be spoken of, but your contribution to the IDF and to the security of the State of Israel, is of unimaginable value.”

By Arye Green, TPS

President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday lit the third Chanukah candle with the soldiers of the IDF’s elite Unit 504 and commended them for their “unimaginable” contribution to Israel’s security.

Unit 504 specializes in collecting human intelligence and running agents beyond Israel’s borders.

The president was briefed on the unit’s activities and took part in the candle lighting ceremony with the unit’s soldiers and officers, along with the head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, General Tamir Heyman and commander of Unit 504, Colonel R.

“You are the wonders and miracles of our time,” Rivlin told Unit 504. “What you do cannot be spoken of, but your contribution to the IDF and to the security of the State of Israel, is of unimaginable value. Because of your daring, creative, ground-breaking and courageous actions, the IDF and Israel retain the upper hand.”

Rivlin praised the unit’s ability to be one step ahead of the enemy and to adopt new capabilities. He also touched on the loss of those who have fallen in battle.

“Tonight, candles are being lit all across the country, in homes and IDF bases. Unfortunately, in many homes, it will be mixed with pain: the ongoing pain from the loss of someone fallen in battle and the concern for those injured,” he said.

“I would like to wish those who have lost family members, have been injured, the families of our missing servicemen, you, the men and women of the IDF and all Israel – Happy Chanukah! May we continue to act with force and determination and continue to bring light to the world,” the president concluded.

Head of IDF Military Intelligence Directorate General Tamir Heyman thanked Rivlin for joining the unit’s candle lighting ceremony and commended the unit’s unique intelligence activity.

“Mr. President, we are delighted that you are joining us today. Unit 504 is the IDF’s human intelligence force. It has special capabilities to create important and significant intelligence through its extremely special human skills, detailed work and initiatives and engagement with the enemy. I want to take this opportunity, here in your presence, to express my appreciation to you, soldiers and officers of the unit. My great thanks for the days and nights you give with a deep sense of commitment to the security of the State of Israel,” he said.

Unit 504 operates and directs agents that are transplanted, or originate in, neighboring Arab countries, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza, as well as prisoners’ interrogation. The unit is one of the IDF’s most classified.

In November 2013, the unit was awarded a commendation from Major General Aviv Kochavi, then commander of the Intelligence Corps, for an operation that was defined as “a first of its kind, outstanding, symbolizing creativity, boldness and crossing the boundaries of imagination.”

In April, the unit received an award for its activities in Israel’s northern arena over the past five years, for preventing terror attacks and threats that endangered Israeli citizens.

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