On October 7, Hamas terrorists breached Israel from many points of entry. Paragliders, weaponized bulldozers, and boats were just some of the vessels that Hamas used to enter Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. While the Gaza-based terror group slaughtered at least 1,400 people and injured thousands more, Israel’s Navy singlehandedly prevented many more fighters from entering the Jewish state by water. Earlier last month, the IDF released footage that shows the Navy’s efforts to eliminate terrorists attempting to gain access to Israel by water. In the video, Hamas speedboats are sunk by Israel’s Dvora-class patrol boats.
The IDF said “Snapir fighters opened fire on the terrorists, amid a naval pursuit. The fighters thwarted a number of terrorists at sea, and from there they continued to thwart terrorists when they reached the coastline.” According to the military, dozens of terrorists were also killed in Hamas’ attempted naval infiltration.
Israel’s Navy: Small But Mighty
Since October 7, Hamas militants have continued to try to access Israel via water to wage additional terror attacks against the country. Last week, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari revealed that Naval forces spotted terror cells entering the sea from a tunnel. According to the official, Israel’s Naval forces killed them all and continued to search for additional terrorists. As the Israel-Hamas war continues, the Gaza-based group with undoubtedly make continued attempts to infiltrate the Jewish state by water.
Since the IDF’s imminent full-scale Gaza incursion is monopolizing the media at the moment, Israel’s Navy is often overlooked.
Although this service is small, the Navy is mightily important to the Jewish state’s defense. Hamas, like Hezbollah and the Houthis, receives scores of weapons and materials from Iran via smuggling routes. Israel’s Navy is able to limit the flow of weapons and other support to Gaza by protecting the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone of the Mediterranean Sea.
A Forbes article explains just how effective Israel’s Naval blockade of Gaza has been in recent years: “It has been pretty effective. That’s why [Hamas] has aggressively pursued tunnels to get past the border-crossing into Egypt where most of their illicit supplies have come through. Anything substantial coming from the sea is generally intercepted by the Israeli Navy which has a robust surveillance network and patrol craft which operate there.”
Introducing Israel’s Corvettes
Israel first acquired the INS Eilat, INS Lahav, and INS Hanit Sa’ar 5 Corvette-class ships in the early 1990s. Constructed by Northrop Grumman, Israel’s Navy designed these vessels to meet its specific needs. Newer Sa’ar Corvettes feature a range of capabilities, including an advanced detection system that can identify and intercept cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. These Corvettes, in addition to Dvora patrol boats, can also fire using a combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, SPIKE NLOS missiles, RGM-84 Harpoon, and Gabriel V missiles. The Navy’s Dvora class variants are very fast and agile and are pivotal for high-speed pursuits.
As detailed by Israel Aerospace Industries, “The Mini Dvora places an emphasis on high maneuverability and operational proficiency from the shallowest inlets and beaches to shallow littorals and beyond, the propulsion and steering systems of this class of craft also accommodate extremely shallow draft and beaching operations.”
Since Hamas’ October 7 attack, Iran’s regional proxies have launched increased barrages targeting both Israeli and American military assets in the Middle East. While the IDF focuses on Gaza, Hezbollah, the Houthis or other regional actors could exploit the ongoing war and target Israel’s oil rigs. For this reason, Israel’s Navy is on high alert.
Maya Carlin is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
Image Credit: Creative Commons.