Tag Archives: Paratrooper

Jew of the Week: Hilik Magnus

“The Godfather of Search & Rescue”

Hilik Magnus (Courtesy of Hilik Magnus and Times of Israel)

Hilik Magnus

Yechiel “Hilik” Magnus (b. 1949) was born in Sweden to a German-Polish-Jewish family that moved to Israel while he was still an infant. Magnus grew up in the Holy Land, and served in the IDF as an elite paratrooper, as well as with the special forces, and later with the Mossad. After his military career, he worked as the director of nature conservation in Israel’s southern regions. During an Israeli-Japanese cultural project, Magnus found a new passion in traveling to the Far East, and toured the region extensively. Due to his intense military and intelligence training, Magnus was soon involved in a number of rescue missions to save Israeli backpackers trapped in Asia. By 1994, he turned this into a full-time job, creating an international search and rescue team that works with insurance companies and worried parents. He has helped bring thousands of families back together, earning the nickname of Israel’s “national rescuer”. These missions have included saving people from natural disasters, accidents, druggings, hostage situations, and even freeing Israelis from prison. Several years ago, he tracked down the body of a young man missing for over a month in Brazil. Most recently, he journeyed to Nepal to help those trapped in the snowstorm that killed dozens. His expertise makes him sought out by various governments and organizations all over the world. He is the first man Israeli parents call when their children abroad are in trouble. Soon, it won’t be just Israeli parents, as Magnus has grown his search and rescue team, and intends on offering these services to any family in need of assistance. Despite being in his mid-60s, Magnus still leads even the most difficult of missions.

Words of the Week

Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
– David McCullough Jr.

Jew of the Week: Shlomo Goren

If Rambo Was Religious

Shlomo Goren

Shlomo Gorenchik (1917-1994) was born in Poland and moved to Israel with his family in 1925. He was noted early on as a wonder-child in his yeshiva, and published his first book on Judaism at age 17, going on to write fourteen other titles. In 1936, he joined the Haganah defense force, serving as both a sniper and paratrooper during the Independence War of 1948. Greater still, he led a unit responsible for perhaps the most dangerous military task: retrieving Jewish bodies from behind enemy lines. Rising through the ranks, he became General of the IDF, as well as its Chief Rabbi. In this position, he ensured kosher food and prayer services for soldiers, wrote a new military-appropriate siddur, and worked passionately towards integrating the various units and ethnic groups of the army. He was on hand at the capture of Jerusalem in 1967, and led the first prayers at the Western Wall. A staunch Zionist, Goren consistently pushed for more settlements, vehemently opposed any withdrawals, and even worked to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount. Post-military, he served as Chief Rabbi of Israel until 1983, and founded a yeshiva in Jerusalem which he presided over to the last days of his life.

Shofar at the Western Wall, 1967

 

Words of the Week

The free world makes a terrible mistake if we deceive ourselves into thinking this is not our fight… In the end, the Israeli people are fighting the same enemy we are: cold-blooded killers who reject peace… who reject freedom… and who rule by the suicide vest, the car bomb, and the human shield… Against such an enemy, I will not second-guess the decisions of a free Israel defending her citizens. And I would ask all those who support peace and freedom to do the same.”
Rupert Murdoch, Founder and CEO of News Corp., March 4, 2009