In the mid-1970s a tragic hostage situation involving school children from the Town of Maalot brought to light the need for a new, highly trained group that could respond quickly to any type of domestic crisis and provide a positive outcome. In response to the tragedy the Israeli government formed the independent Horev Commission to make recommendations on how best to upgrade the capabilities of the state’s special operations units. As a result of their findings a new unit of the Israeli National Police, the YAMAM, was established to be the spearhead of Israel’s efforts to meet the challenges of serious crime, hostage rescue, and terrorism.

​ Today the YAMAM is considered to be one of the best special operations units in the world. Since its inception, the unit has performed thousands of successful operations. As Israel has grown, so the has the YAMAM, incorporating new methods and technologies to combat ever-greater threats.
​ YAMAM members are some of the most skilled and capable of all of Israel’s special operations units. Only 2% of all candidates manage to pass all the stages of screening and training. The rigorous selection process, intense training, and requirement that all operatives first serve in an IDF combat unit make it difficult for those members who had planned on pursuing degrees of higher education. Joining the operational teams also requires operatives to be away from home many days, nights, weekends and holidays. 

Because it is such a small group, YAMAM is like a close-knit family, helping and supporting each other, and most importantly, remembering the fallen. Thirteen YAMAM operatives have lost their lives since the establishment of the group. Many of them were killed while performing their duty as operatives. To honor their memory and legacy a special memorial was built where the fallen operatives are commemorated. The unit also maintains continuous contact with the families of those fallen operatives.

Friends of YAMAM wishes to thank Ziv Koren for the use of the YAMAM training photos in our materials. Training photos are © Ziv Koren.

©  2014. Friends of Yamam, Inc., 30 Campus Drive, Edison, NJ 08837