Tag Archives: Commander

Jew of the Week: Yitzhak Sadeh

Israel’s First Commando

Yitzhak Sadeh

Izaak Landoberg (1890-1952) was born to a religious Jewish-Polish family in Lublin, then part of the Russian Empire. He was a student of Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin in his youth, but drifted towards secularism as a young adult. An avid athlete, Landoberg particularly enjoyed wrestling, and was once crowned St. Petersburg’s wrestling champion. When World War I broke out he joined the Russian Army and fought valiantly, receiving a medal. During this time, he met Joseph Trumpeldor and became a Zionist. He helped Trumpeldor establish the HeHalutz movement, which trained young Jews in agricultural work to settle the Holy Land. In 1920, he made aliyah and changed his last name to Sadeh, “field”. He joined the Haganah, and co-founded Gdud HaAvoda, the Labor and Defense Battalion, along with 80 others who worked tirelessly to drain swamps, pave roads, plant farms, defend Jewish settlements, and build kibbutzim. Sadeh defended the Jewish residents of Haifa and surrounding towns during an Arab uprising in 1929, and again during the Arab riots between 1936-1939 as the commander of the Jewish Settlement Police. It was during this time that he created two new fighting units. The first was Nodedet, a troop unit that started going on the offensive instead of always being on the defence from Arab violence. The second was Plugot Sadeh, “Field Companies”, the Haganah’s commandos, the first Jewish elite strike force. This evolved into the Palmach in 1941, which Sadeh commanded until 1945. At that point, he was made Chief of Staff of the Haganah, and set the foundations for the future IDF, crafting its first protocols, structures, and training procedures. Sadeh played an instrumental role during the War of Independence, commanding several brigades and creating Israel’s first armoured (tank) brigade, too. Sadeh retired at the war’s end with the rank of major general, and went on to have a successful literary career, publishing a variety of books, essays, and plays. Today there is a Yitzhak Sadeh Prize for Military Literature given in his honour, as well as several kibbutzim and many streets named after him in Israel. There is also a “Yitzhak Sadeh Wandering Song Club” with hundreds of members (mostly soldiers) that gather over bonfires, food, Israeli folk songs, and Sadeh’s wise words, seeing in Sadeh their spiritual mentor. Sadeh is recognized as one of the “fathers of the IDF”. This friday is his yahrzeit.

14 Tefillin Facts Every Jew Should Know  

The Significance of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities

Words of the Week

If I am to understand that you are inquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Jew of the Week: Zohar Dvir

The Real Zohan

Zohar Dvir (Credit; Gil Eliyahu/Flash90/TimesOfIsrael)

Zohar Dvir (Credit: Gil Eliyahu/Flash90/TimesOfIsrael)

Zohar Davidovich (b. 1965) was born in Israel to a Romanian-Jewish family. He grew up in Rishon Lezion and studied at an IDF boarding school that trains future army officers. He was accepted to Israel’s prestigious flight academy, but ultimately failed to make the cut. Now going by the last name “Dvir”, he moved to the famous Golani Brigade. During 12 years of service with the unit, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming deputy commander, and then head of reconnaissance. Dvir left the IDF in 1995 to work in private security, then joined Yamam, the “SWAT” division of Israel Police (in Israel, there are no local or municipal police forces, but rather a national police headquartered in Jerusalem). Yamam has been ranked among the top 5 special forces units in the whole world, and is famous for its daring raids, undercover police work, and counter-terrorism activity. (Click here to see Yamam in action.) Dvir was soon Yamam’s commander, and was in charge throughout the difficult Second Intifada. Once, he was on his way to inform a family of an officer’s death when he spotted a flipped-over car. While helping the injured driver, a truck crashed into them, killing the driver and leaving Dvir with critical injuries, including multiple broken bones and brain hemorrhaging. He woke up after five days in a coma. Yet, less than three months later, Dvir was back on the force. Under his command, the unit thwarted over 50 terror attacks, and neutralized several hundred terrorists, all without losing a single officer. In the past several years, Dvir has served as major general in the Israel Police, and chief of the Northern District, and Coastal District. Last week, he was promoted to deputy commissioner of Israel Police. It is said that Adam Sandler’s secret agent character “Zohan Dvir”, in the film You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, was based on Zohar Dvir.

Tonight is the 4th Night of Chanukah. Chag Sameach!

Words of the Week

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
– J.M Barrie