Avigdor ‘Yanush’ Ben-Gal

Avigdor ‘Yanush’ Ben-Gal (Source: @IDFSpokesperson on Twitter)

An Israeli war hero credited with reversing the Syrian advance during the 1973 Yom Kippur War has died aged 79.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to Avigdor ‘Yanush’ Ben-Gal, a Holocaust survivor from Poland who became a Major-General in the IDF, and who later played a leading role in the development of Israel’s defence industry.

Yanush was “a dedicated soldier with extraordinary courage,” said Netanyahu, whose brother served with him in battle.

“As commander of the 7th Brigade in the Yom Kippur War, he blocked the Syrian attack on the Golan Heights and saved the State of Israel. Three weeks later Yanush and his soldiers were at the gates of Damascus. I knew him as an extraordinarily inspirational and level-headed commander; he was courageous, wise and unpretentious… An exemplary human being.”

Ben-Gal also served as a commander during the first Lebanon war, leaving the army in 1985 to lead Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), where he helped develop the nation’s cutting-edge defensive capabilities.