Lived: October 10, 1918 – February 29, 1980
Why you should know him: A lifelong servant of Israel, Allon served as a Palmach commander, IDF general, Knesset member, and acting Prime Minister
The son of olim (immigrants), Yigal Allon was born in Kfar Tavor in the Holy Land. After high school, he helped found Kibbutz Ginosar, where he and his wife Ruth raised a family, including a daughter with autism.
Allon joined the Haganah (the precursor to today’s IDF) in 1931, participating in mobile patrols during a time of Arab riots and revolts. Ten years later, he helped found the Palmach, the Haganah’s elite fighting force, and became the group’s Commander in Chief in 1945.
During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Allon led many major operations on all three of the war’s fronts. He retired from the military after Israel won her independence.
Allon was elected to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in 1955, serving in it for a quarter century until his death. From 1961 to 1968, he served as Israeli Minister of Labor, working to improve the Jewish state’s employment and roads. In 1969, following the death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Allon served as acting Prime Minister until Golda Meir took over.
In the decades after Allon’s death in 1980, the admiration of the Israeli people and friends of Israel has grown for him, with the Society of the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites summing it up: “People wish to live in the kind of state Yigal Allon dreamed of…It’s an approach of safety and security that says, ‘Our place is here,’ but still emphasizes the importance of dialogue, and never through condescension or arrogance. Allon extended a hand in peace, and that’s the approach we want leaders to adopt today.”Tags: Israelis You Should Know