A Hero of Israel
The Fellowship | May 31, 2019
Lived: July 2, 1929 – September 4, 2012
Why you should know him: Injured during an act of bravery during Israel’s War of Independence, Avigdorov was awarded Israel’s highest military decoration and went on to provide inspiration to the Holy Land’s wounded warriors.
Born in Mitzpa, near Tiberias, Avraham Avigdorov learned of the cost of bravery at a young age when his father Gad, a member of the HaShomer Jewish defense organization at the time, was killed during the 1936 Arab Revolt. After studying agriculture, Avraham followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the precursor to the IDF.
It was while serving during Israel’s War of Independence that Avraham would nearly pay the ultimate price, himself. On March 18, 1948, he took part in an ambush of an enemy weapons convoy. Avraham killed the two machinegunners who were defending the convoy and damaged their vehicle. But when the vehicle exploded, he was seriously wounded. Despite his wounds, Avraham’s actions turned the tide of the battle in Israel’s favor.
A local doctor proclaimed Avraham dead, and his “body” was moved to the morgue of a Haifa hospital. But after the “corpse” showed signs of life, he was taken out of the morgue and treated for his serious burns and broken jaw for over a year. In 1949, he was operated on by specialist plastic surgeons from South America before finally being released.
In July of 1949, Avraham Avigdorov was awarded the Hero of Israel citation, the highest decoration in the Israeli military (now known as the Medal of Valor). But his award didn’t cause Avraham to settle — after Israel’s brutal fighting during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he not only visited grieving families who had lost loved ones, but also met with wounded IDF veterans, showing them that life did not end because of a serious battlefield injury.
Avraham and his wife Aliza had three children. He worked for Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture before passing away at the age of 83 in Haifa.