Each year, 20,000 young men try out and 40 or fewer are ultimately selected to serve in Shayetet-13, the Israel Navy SEALs. Known as “men of silence,” these elite naval commandos fight the war between the wars, undertaking covert missions beyond Israel’s borders. They train for six months longer than other Israel Defense Forces units and commit at least 20 more months of total service.

They complete active-duty at least two years behind their peers in pursuing college and careers, with extraordinary maturity but often unclear direction. All have the qualities necessary to succeed in civilian life and serve Israel and the Jewish community in new ways, but many struggle with the identity shift from military elite to civilian anybody. Some have experienced trauma and loss.

They do not admit injuries or ask for help outside of the brotherhood of the Israel Navy SEALs, so American Friends of Israel Navy SEALs (AFINS), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and the Israel-based Atalef Foundation help from within.

The unit is symbolized by the bat (atalef) because its members burst forth from the shadows into the light. We work to ensure that as they complete active service, these elite veterans emerge into the warm light of community and bright futures.

 
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