In the Navy

Stand for Israel  |  June 2, 2021

Avraham Botzer, Israeli Navy in 1968
Avraham Botzer, Israeli Navy in 1968

As Commander of the Israeli Navy, Avraham Botzer helped build the Jewish state’s ability to defend herself at sea.

Born to a Jewish family in Poland, young Avraham made aliyah (immigrated) to the Holy Land at the age of seven. He joined the Palmach (the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the precursor to today’s IDF) in 1946. The next year, he helped smuggle Jewish Holocaust survivors from Europe into British-mandate Palestine. The British caught Botzer during one of these operations, confining him to an internment camp in Cyprus before releasing him because of his young age.

The following year, 1948, Botzer joined the new Israeli Navy in order to fight in Israel’s War of Independence. After the war, he remained in the navy, being promoted to captain, and serving during the Suez Crisis of 1956.

During the Six-Day War of 1967, Botzer commanded the Red Sea Fleet, conquering Sharm el-Sheikh.

Despite Israel’s victory in 1967, the Jewish state fought its Arab neighbors for the next three years. During this time, Botzer led many important operations, which included:

Operation Bulmus 6 – a raid against an Egyptian early warning radar station on July 19, 1969

Operation Escort – the destruction of Egyptian torpedo boats on September 7, 1969, allowing the IDF to successfully carry out Operation Raviv

Operation Raviv – an Israeli raid on Egypt’s Red Sea coast on September 9, 1969

Cherbourg Project – military operation on December 24, 1969 that involved the escape of five missile boats from the French port of Cherbourg

Before Botzer’s command, Israel’s navy had always been second-class compared to its ground and air forces. But Botzer built the navy up – bringing in submarines, missile boats, corvettes, and hi-tech torpedoes and missiles.

After retiring from the navy in 1972, Botzer served as CEO of the Trans-Israel pipeline, also studying law and having a successful legal career.

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