I want to tell you about my commander.
Shaul Shalev – an only child to his parents.
He was my commander when the 1973 Yom Kippur War broke out in the Sinai Desert.
Three days after the war began, as the Egyptian army was conquering back the Sinai, cries for help were heard on our commutation radios. ‘We are surrounded by the Egyptian enemy’, they said, ‘and are about to be captured by them’.
Shalev who was their commander, heard their cries on the radio and decided then and there to go out in his tank and rescue them from enemy territory.
Sounds of explosions and shooting from every direction didn’t keep him from looking for his men who were marching alone in the dessert waiting to be rescued. When he finally found them hiding behind the hills, he said quietly: ‘I have come to take you back to Israeli territory’ and all 33 of them climbed on his tank as he made his way through enemy forces looking on in disbelief. He had saved their lives.
This is true Israeli camaraderie. This is the “Sabra” Israeli who is committed to the last of his soldiers even at the risk of his own life.
The following day, in the evening, Shaul Shalev lost his life in battle and left behind a wife, two children and a mother who lost her only child.
Shaul Shalev, z”l
Did not get to see his children growing up and raising a family and a home.
Did not stand by his wife, Law Professor Gabriella Shalev when she was appointed Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations
But I will bear with me forever the story of the valor of this brave-commander-Jewish-Israeli combatant – the story which I have shared with you today.
Shaul Shalev in his life and in his death stands as a beacon of excellence to the glory of the State of Israel.