Heroes of Israel
Remembering Rafael "Raful" Eitan – 11th Chief of Staff of the IDF

Raful was born in a small village in the Jezreel Valley in 1929. During the War of Independence, he fought in Jerusalem where he received the first of his many injuries after being wounded in the head.

In 1954, Eitan was selected to be part of the elite Unit 101, and was appointed company commander. He was awarded the Medal of Courage, one of Israel's highest military decorations, after successfully leading his troops on a daring mission into Syria despite a chest wound he had sustained. 

In 1956, he was appointed commander of the 890 Paratrooper Battalion and participated in the only paratroop jump in IDF history during the Sinai Campaign. During the Six Day War, Eitan commanded the entire Paratrooper's Brigade, and received a severe head wound amidst the fighting at the Suez Canal. 

In 1978, he was appointed Chief of Staff and oversaw the famous bombing on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor and the First Lebanon War.

He retired from the military in 1983 and formed his own political party, Tzomet, a hawkish party that opposed the idea of land swaps for peace. He held various ministerial positions, until he retired from politics in 1999.

On November 23, 2004, Raful was overseeing a port expansion project by the port of Ashdod when a large wave swept over him, pulling him into the sea and subsequently drowning him.

May his memory be a blessing.

# Israeli Heroes # People of the IDF # Israeli History
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