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[Page 255]

Sons who fell in the Israeli Wars

 

[Page 264]

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[Page 265]

Meir Zaltzhendler z”l
His parents: Efraim and Malka

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

Was born in Kfar Hess on 19 Iyar 5711 (25.1.51) to his parents, Malka and Efraim Zaltzhendler. His mother arrived in Kfar Hess from Tarutino when she was a little girl together with her parents, and his father arrived in Israel as an illegal immigrant after his military service in the Second World War. Meirke demanded and received maximum attention from his parents, and when he was still young all the paths of the farm were clear to him and everyone predicted that he would be an exemplary farmer. He was cheerful, playful and welcoming to everyone, and at the same time sensitive to the suffering of others. He was ways busy and active. He traveled extensively in the country and got to know every corner and every town. He liked to hang out with his friends but, if his help was needed in the farm, he was willing to give up any pastime and help faithfully.

After graduating from public school in Tel–Mond, he began studying at the high–school of Emek Hefer region. Later, he moved to study at the Israeli Air Force Technological College. He devoted the little time he had left until his enlistment in the army to work on the family farm in Kfar Hess, and at the same time also worked as a youth counselor in Kfar Hess. He enlisted in the army in the last months of the War of Attrition and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. When he finished his basic training, and arrived to a parachuting course, it turned out that he was suffering from high blood pressure. Even though he was not allowed to parachute in this condition, it was decided to keep him in the unit in auxiliary positions, but Meir did not agree to this and was transferred to the Air Force. Meir reconciled with the transfer to the Air Force but not to its uniform. He continued to wear the paratrooper uniform he wore in his unit in Sinai, as well as the army boots of a combat paratrooper. Therefore, in his new unit in the Air Force he was called “Meir in the paratrooper's clothes.” No one at home knew any details about his role in the military. We used to joke at the expense of his leave, and he himself joked while preparing the salad that he is in the special role of a cook in the camp…

His fervor for agricultural work cannot be described. As he passed the threshold of the house, in every leave he had, he immediately set out to work on the farm, ran to the orchard, to the greenhouses, planted ornamental plants that he like so much and found something to do in every branch of agriculture. Together with all the members of the household he planned to expand the farm in the course of time, when he would be discharged from the army and be able to devote all his time to activities on the family farm. He did not achieve that and neither did we.

He fell on duty on 15 Tamuz, 5731 (08.7.1971).


[Page 266]

Avraham Neiman z”l

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

He was born in 1913, in the village of Rozvinitz on the border of Bessarabia and Bukovina to his parents, Yehezkel and Bluma. At the beginning of the First World War the Russian authorities ordered to expel the Jews from the settlements near the border. Therefore, his family moved to Khotyn and later settled in Akkerman. In his youth, Avraham studied at “Tarbut” gymnasium, but he was unable to complete his studies because he had to help his parents to support the family. He studied to be a watchmaker and his instructor in this art stated that he came from the biblical Bezalel family because, he too, was gifted with a creative talent and was proficient in fine mechanics and complex mechanism.

At the age of 16 he joined the “Gordonia” movement, left for Hakhshara and in 1934 immigrated to Israel. At first he worked in Hadera, later moved to Bitanya in the Jordan Valley and lived there for fifteen years. From Bitanya he moved to Moshavat Kinneret and during the riots of 1936 enlisted in the Notrim[1] and served until the day of his death.

As a corporal he was responsible for the Notrim station in Kinneret. For many years was a member of the “Haganah” and served in the duty of a gunsmith in the Jordan Valley. During the War of Independence, when the heavy fighting began in the Jordan Valley, he was added to the elite division of the agricultural settlements in the area and after vigorous training his unit was sent to defend the power plant in Naharayim. From there, the unit moved to Zemach and withstood heavy fighting against the Syrians. He was given a twenty–four–hour leave, but was called back to his duty when the Syrians surrounded Zemach. Avraham was placed at the police station building where the weapons and ammunition were stored. In the midst of the heavy shelling, Avraham risked his life and climbed on the roof to take down the weapons that endangered the building and its defenders. Shortly after the weapons were taken down the retreat from the building began. During this retreat a shell hit his stomach, but he did not let go of the machine gun despite his fatal wounds.

He fell on 18.5.1948 and was brought to burial in the mass grave in Degania Alef. He left a wife, elderly parents and sisters.

Translator's footnote

  1. Notrim (lit. guards) – Jewish Police Force set up by the British in the Mandatory Palestine in 1936 to help defend Jewish lives and property during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. Return


[Page 267]

Avraham Feldman z”l

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

Was born to his parents, Edit and Bezalel (Zuli) from Akkerman, on 13 Nisan 5711 (19.4.474) in Kibbutz Shamir. Fell on Mount Hermon on 23 Nisan 5734 (15.4.74).

Avraham was a graduate of the educational institution of “Hashomer Hatzair” in Amir. When he graduated he volunteered to work as a counselor at “Hashomer Hatzair” branch in Karkur. After a year of guidance – the thirteenth year – he volunteered for a combat duty. In the two and a half years of his service in the Israel Defense Forces, he participated in many daring operations against terrorists across the border. In the Yom Kippur war he fought in Mount Hermon. He was wounded in one of the battles, but after recovering from his wounds returned to his unit. He was Samal Rishon [Staff sergeant] in the Israel Defense Forces. His commanders appreciated his fearless spirit and readiness for any action.

His counselor at the educational institution wrote about him: “His loyalty and kindness were known to all. No one hesitated to ask for his help with the lessons, in groups' activity and on hikes. Avraham always gave an answer to someone's request, always helped, always took on every task – all in humility and modestly. He never put himself at the center and was also blessed with academic talents. Worked slowly and thoroughly and delved into problems. Did not like to stand out in group conversations, listened intently, but spoke little. He did not know how to insult a person and everyone loved him. Even though he was introspective you felt he was still looking for his way. Towards the end of the studies at the educational institution, the group was required to appoint representatives for the thirteenth year of the educational movement. I talked to Avraham about this and I was under the impression that he was ready to leave. He wanted to prove himself in the new reality and felt that there were forces within him that could not be expressed in the institution.”

One of his commanders in the army wrote to Avraham's parents: “From the first moment I received the team into my hands Avraham stood out among his friends. He had great physical strength, endowed with kindness and was willing to fulfill any task assigned to him. He never resented anyone, and if something seemed wrong to him – he knew to come and tell me in good spirit and did not complain and scream as soldiers usually do. When I needed to select soldiers from the team for a special operation – I had no doubt about Avraham's participation in the mission. – – – the team members always knew that Avraham was the address for all sorts of problems.”


[Page 268]

Yisrael (Srulik) Frank z”l

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

Was born to his parents, Haim and Ester, on 21 Elul 5681 (1921) in Artsyz. He acquired his first education at the elementary school “Tarbut” in Artsyz. Upon graduation, he continued his studies at “Tarbut” gymnasium in Akkerman and in a high technical school in Kishinev where he studied building engineering.

With the entrance of the Soviets to Bessarabia he was exiled together with the members of his family to Central Russia, lived for some time in Tashkent, served in the Russian army and even participated in various battles. In 1946, he immigrated to Israel in the illegal ship “Haganah.” The ship was discovered by the British and the illegal immigrants, Yisrael included, were locked up for three months in the Atlit detainee camp.

When he was released from the detainee camp he joined the ranks of the “Haganah.” He immediately enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and participated in military operations of behalf of the “Haganah” even before the outbreak of the War of Independence.

On 13 May 1948, on the eve of the declaration of state, when the soldiers of the Iraqi army approached the borders of Eretz Yisrael, Srulik set out to lay mines on the roads used by these soldiers, and since then his traces have been lost.


[Page 269]

Avinoam Schechter z”l
His father

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

Was born to his parents, Rivka and Tzvi former residents of Sarata, on 22 Nisan 5713 (7.4.53) in Ramat–Gan. Fell in enemy containment the Yom Kippur War, 14 Tishrei 5734 (10.10.73), in the central sector of the Suez Canal.

He graduated from “Nitzanim” elementary school near his home, and completed his high school education at “Ohel Shem” and “Dvir” schools in Ramat–Gan. He had tendency for natural science subjects and his teachers praised him for his intelligence and quick perception. He demonstrated resourcefulness, showed initiative in everyday life and excelled in manual labor. He had many hobbies: fishing, chess, stamp collecting and more. He carved, in good taste, birds in flight to the heights and his carvings remained silent witnesses to what our beloved son loved. He was connected in heart and soul to the country's spectacular landscapes and loved to wander in its expanses. The basalt stones he collected during his travels were placed on the shelves of his bookcase, and the seashells from Eilat adorned his desk. Whenever he was at home – many friends gathered around him, as everyone felt the tenderness and love, simplicity and sincerity that his soul radiated, and for this reason he was respected and loved. He felt the distress of every needy person. In his last leave he talked about soldiers from poor families and the need to improve their situation.

He completed his two year military service in the Sinai Desert impeccably, or as his commander said – “with courage and love.” He also wrote me “Avinoam was an excellent team member who worked to the satisfaction of his commanders.” On the evening of Yom Kippur, his tank crew was instructed to move to the “Hizaion” stronghold to rescue all the casualties and to extend help in repelling the waves of enemy that stormed in masses. For many hours Avinoam and his friends fought in fierce and cruel armored battles, and in the battle that took place on 14 Tishrei, he was hit and fell.

In an article published in the Israel Defense Forces weekly magazine, “BaMahane,” about the crew of the black tank that Avinoam was one of them, it was said among others: the gunner, Avinoam Schechter, who later fell in the war, hit hard targets while driving very fast, and anyone, who is a tank–crew man, knows that this is not a simple thing. It should be written about the team members, that Avinoam z”l was among them, that they had done wonderful job. They were great. It's important that it wouldn't be forgotten.”

 

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