Israeli forces accepted help from a mystical rabbi as they hunted for underground Hizbollah tunnels stretching into Israeli territory from Lebanon.
The 50-year-old rabbi, known only as Yehuda, is a follower of a mystic form of Judaism and joined Israeli troops and police on intermittent patrols between 2013 and 2016.
Israeli officers were astonished that the rabbi, unaided by equipment or classified intelligence, seemed to be able to divine the location of underground structures, according to the Times of Israel.
One colonel filed a report to his superiors advising that the military should continue to seek help from rabbi.
“If we look at this in terms of possible gain, there is no reason not to accept the rabbi’s help facing other operational challenges in the army’s various theaters of operation,” he wrote.
Perhaps anticipating an incredulous response from military leaders, the colonel added: “I would like to state that I am not a religious man. I am a rational person, most of whose actions in professional and private life stem from rational thought and rationalistic examination of every particle.”
Senior Israel Defence Force (IDF) officers were not impressed at the rabbi’s mystical assistance and ordered a halt to the patrols, the last of which took place in late 2016.
A fellow rabbi expressed frustration that army was refusing Rabbi Yehuda’s help. “If the army were more open-minded, people’s lives would be saved,” he said.
The IDF has uncovered dozens of Hizbollah tunnels from Lebanon and Hamas tunnels from Gaza in recent years. But a spokesman insisted those successes were nothing to do with Rabbi Yehuda’s powers.
“The IDF never relied at any stage upon citizens with any sort of abilities in order to locate attack tunnels. Rather, it used advanced technological and intelligence means only,” the IDF said.