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A Veteran Israeli War Poet

Haim Gouri (L) in 1949 (Photo: Palmach Archive/Public Domain)

Last week, Israel lost both a hero - of both action and words. The Times of Israel's Raoul Wootliff tells us about Haim Gouri, a veteran, poet, journalist, and filmmaker who gave voice to Israel's pain and pride, and who passed away at the age of 94:

Haim Gouri, the veteran Israeli poet, novelist, journalist, and filmmaker who over a 70-year career gave voice to some of the country’s most emblematic and tumultuous moments, died Wednesday at 94.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1923, Gouri joined the pre-state Palmach paramilitary group in 1941, participating in a number of operations against British Mandate forces stations in then-Palestine and becoming one of the first recruits to complete the elite forces’ commanders course.

As part of his service he was sent to Hungary in 1947 to assist Holocaust survivors emigrate to Mandate Palestine before serving as a deputy company commander in the Palmach’s Negev Brigade during the 1948 Independence War.

Considered the dean of Palmach-era Hebrew verse, his first published book of verse, “Fire Flowers,” detailed his personal experiences during the war and gave voice to the duality of pain and pride felt by many of Israel’s first soldiers.

One of the most iconic and anguished poems of that collection, “Here Lie Our Bodies,” was dedicated to the “Lamed Hey,” the convoy of 35 Hagana soldiers who were ambushed and killed during an attempt to resupply the kibbutzim of the Etzion Bloc in 1948, and helped immortalize the story in the annals of early Israeli history...

Tags: Israelis You Should Know

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