From Paratroopers to Politics

The Fellowship  |  December 6, 2019

IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz alongside tank in 2002
IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz alongside tank in 2002

Earlier this year, we told you about an Iranian-born Christian who left his home country for America where he has found success and has also become a good friend of The Fellowship. And today we’re going to tell you about another Iranian who left his homeland, but this man, an Iranian Jew, made aliyah (immigrated to Israel).

Shaul Mofaz was born in 1948 in Tehran to a Persian Jewish family. Shaul’s family made aliyah when he was nine, and once the boy graduated high school he joined the IDF’s elite Paratroopers Brigade. With this unit, Shaul served in every one of his biblical homeland’s conflicts, including the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and the 1982 Lebanon War. Shaul was also part of Sayeret Matkal, the IDF’s most elite special forces unit, and took part in the heroic Operation Entebbe in 1976.

Mofaz’s decades of experience under fire made him a perfect military leader for Israel. During the 1982 war, he was infantry brigade commander, then commanded the 35th Paratroopers Brigade during 1986’s Operation Law and Order. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1988, Mofaz served in a number of posts, including commander of the IDF in the West Bank, commander of the Southern Corps, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff. This led to his rise to the IDF’s highest position in 1998 — Chief of the General Staff.

Mofaz’s mettle would be tested as he led the IDF during the Second Intifada, which began in 2000. While the rest of the world scoffed at his tactics, Mofaz’s defense of Israel was lauded by those he was protecting — the Israeli people. Having decades of military experience and a keen understanding of Israel’s enemies, Mofaz saw the violence coming more than a year in advance, and prepared his military for what was to come — fortifying IDF posts along the Gaza border, preparing his troops for the intense guerilla warfare they would face when fighting terrorists, and creating a security buffer to protect Israelis.

After tackling this terrorist violence, Mofaz left the military when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed him as Israel’s Defense Minister in 2002. In this position, he continued to give no ground to Israel’s terrorist enemies like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. For over decade, Mofaz would continue serving his Jewish homeland in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) until his retirement in 2015. And whether it was on the front lines or in the legislature, Shaul Mofaz proved himself to be an Israeli we all should know and respect.