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Israelis You Should Know: Moshe Ya'alon

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Name: Moshe Ya'alon

Age: 65

About him: Moshe Ya'alon was born in 1950 in Kiryat Haim, Israel. His father made aliyah (immigrated) from Ukraine and served in the Haganah (the precursor to the IDF) and his mother was a Holocaust survivor who fought the Nazis during WWII before coming to the Holy Land in 1946.

Ya'alon first served in the IDF from 1968 until 1971 as part of the Nahal Brigade. During the Yom Kippur War of 1973, he was called up and his unit was the first to cross the Suez Canal into Egypt. Following the conflict, he stayed in the IDF, becoming an officer and commander in the Paratroopers Brigade.

During the First Lebanon War in 1982, Ya'alon served as both a paratrooper commander and commander of the Sayeret Matkal commando unit. During the war, he was wounded in the leg while pursuing Hezbollah terrorists. In 1992, he again showed his bravery when he neutralized an Islamic Jihad terrorist with a hand grenade who had killed an Israeli officer trying to arrest him.

After moving up in the IDF and completing his education, Ya'alon was promoted to Major General. There he was first head of Military Intelligence and then commanding officer of Israel's Central Command, the position in which he served during the Second Intifada.

From 2002 until 2005, Ya'alon served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, helping stop the Second Intifada and leading the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield.

Since 2013, Ya'alon has been Israel's Minister of Defense, continuing to serve the country to which he has devoted his life.

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