Honoring Moshe Kamer z”l, who fell 65 years ago today

29 Nov
by Ilan Bloch

Moshe Kamer z”l, my great uncle, together with 86 of his fallen comrades, is memorialized in the Religious Company Memorial in Kiriyat Gat. He was killed on his 27th birthday (according to the Gregorian calendar), which also happened to be the 2nd night of Chanukah — hence the memorial (pictured above) with two candles.

A little more about his death: from the end of July 1948 a group of approximately 3000 Egyptian soldiers, together with local Arab/Palestinian civilians were besieged within the Faluja pocket (around the area of today’s Kiriyat Gat). They possessed heavy weaponry and much ammunition. On 11/11/48, there was a meeting between Israeli and Egyptian commanders in order to try and negotiate the safe retreat of the besieged Egyptian troops. The Egyptian commander “refused to accept any diktats, choosing death to the last man and Egyptian honor above all.” Our siege was an ‘active one’ in that it included firing on the Egyptians and so forth. On 16/12/48, the Givati soldiers who were besieging the Egyptians were relieved of their duty in order to free them up for other operational activity. They were replaced by Alexandroni soldiers, Moshe Kamer z”l amongst them. Their job was simply to continue the siege and nothing more. If there was to be a full-scale attack against the Egyptians it would only be once the original Givati soldiers returned. On 24/12/48, David Ben-Gurion visited the soldiers and ordered them to eliminate the besieged Egyptian troops, in order to free up the soldiers for other missions. His order was opposed by the military leadership. Nonetheless, the order stood, and the Israeli troops attacked the besieged Egyptians on 28/12/48 in Operation Liquidation/Mivza Chisul. The Egyptians had very quickly understood what was being planned and had organized an ambush of the Israeli troops. The mission was an absolute disaster and 87 Israelis were massacred by the Egyptian enemy. The besieged Egyptians were ultimately allowed to safely retreat in February 1949, in the context of the Rhodes cease-fire talks.

Moshe Kamer z”l – May his memory be for a blessing – Yehi Zichro Baruch. He remains a hero who inspires me!

Ilan Bloch is the Director of Teaching Israel.

One Response to “Honoring Moshe Kamer z”l, who fell 65 years ago today”

  1. Israel's Good Name December 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! I never knew about the Alexandroni Brigade…

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