The captivity simulation is one of the IDF’s biggest secrets. Combat soldiers of the most elite units in the military undergo a two-week course that is designed to train them for a possible scenario of falling captive.

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Several days ago, Israel’s Channel 2 News provided a glimpse on one of the IDF’s biggest secrets- the captivity simulation. It takes place toward the end of the training in only a few of the military’s elite units such as Sayeret Matkal, Shaldag, and the pilot’s course.

The combatants provided some details on the difficult two-week simulation during which they undergo torture, beatings and humiliations that made them feel as if the ‘captors’ have lost control. The simulation was designed to train combatants for the possible scenario of falling captive and having to deal with interrogations, threats and torture. “The simulation prepares the combatant for a situation of failure,” explained a former Shayetet 13 psychologist. “It’s a completely different coping method than what the soldier was trained and accustomed to.”

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

A former ‘captor’ explained that the simulation starts when the soldiers are kidnapped during the night in order to put them in a state of shock. “I started to cry but it didn’t help,” a former elite soldier said. “When I annoyed them, they made me stand with my hands on the wall and began whipping my back. If you scream that you are in pain, they beat harder. Over time, you understand that you have to keep quiet.”

Another soldier told about his experience: “An investigator stands in front me and says: ‘I know who you are. I know what you are going to do, your friends already told me everything.’ They laid me down on the table and tied my hands. One investigator held me down while the other whipped my feet.”

At the end of the simulation, the soldiers have a big dinner where they meet their ‘captors’.