“Saving lives matters, even if it’s just one,” Mireia Pons, Yatar’s director of public relations and fundraising, told the AJT about the organization’s elite volunteer counterterrorism unit, which strives to protect Israel’s borders against terror attacks.
After six months of training, special forces volunteers and Israel Defense Forces soldiers are recruited by Yatar’s combat unit, which possesses the same rights as Israeli police but lacks the paychecks, to patrol Israel’s border and prevent conflicts related to war.
“Terrorism is constantly changing, and we have to adjust our tactics,” Pons said.
After knifings and other lone-wolf Palestinian terrorist attacks swept through Israel beginning two years ago, Yatar sought to increase security by purchasing anti-terror ATVs.
“Each ATV can help save lives and prevent families from losing a loved one,” said Pons, who is raising money to purchase additional vehicles.
Although Yatar has thrived under the border police, it continues to face monetary challenges that could stand in the way of thwarting terrorism.
Pons said each anti-terror ATV can transport four people and can go off-road to reach dangerous areas. “The ATVs provide a fast response and can help fend off terrorists due to Yatar’s innate presence.”
Although Israel has 8,000 border police and volunteers alternating shifts in the field, Palestinians continue to infiltrate Israel’s borders, Pons said. The anti-terror ATVs provide a quick response to the threat created by such infiltrations.
“Every second counts, and each minute which passes offers the terrorist a chance to escape,” Pons said.
The ATVs also help Yatar’s volunteers extract more precise intelligence and other information and help carry units through Arab towns.
“We are a target, and any type of equipment we can offer our volunteers means life,” Pons said.
Each anti-terror ATV costs $65,000 and is purchased in the United States, then shipped to Israel with such equipment as a first-aid kit, special lamps, a radio transmitter and metal armor.
Yatar relies on donations and does not receive any government assistance.
“The individuals who donate become a part of us because there wouldn’t be a Yatar without them,” Pons said.
Yatar has used its first ATV, donated by United with Israel in partnership with Americans United With Israel, to locate an autistic boy thought to have been captured, patrol Israel’s borders and navigate the recent crisis over security measures at the Temple Mount.
Yatar hopes to acquire a fleet of 20 ATVs to patrol Israel’s borders.
“There is no greater reward than saving a life or protecting a mother from missing her daughter,” Pons said, “which is why rely on our donors and volunteers to protect democracy and keep Israel safe.”