A Final Salute

Sar-El Founder Brig. General Aharon Davidi touched the lives of thousands of people around the world. Since his passing, we have been inundated by letters and photographs. Below find a compilation of the tributes to Davidi that have come from politicians, Sar-El staff and of course, Sar-El volunteers from around the world.

 

  

A Venerated Commander      

By Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak

I received the news of the passing of Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Aharon
Davidi with great sorrow. He was an exemplary figure for me and for
many others my age.

I see Davidi as a special commander, a leading combat officer and one
of the creators of the IDF’s fighting force. His contribution to the
molding of the IDF’s norms of combat, with an emphasis on leadership
under enemy fire, was extraordinary.

Throughout all his years in the army Davidi was on the frontline of
leading commanders; he was a fighter who took part in the Paratrooper
Brigade’s retribution operations (the raid on Qibya, Operation
Elkayam, Operation Volcano, Operation Olive Leaves and Operation Black
Arrow, for which he was awarded the Medal of Courage).

He commanded paratrooper forces in Operation Kadesh (1956), at the
battle at the Mitla Pass (in the Sinai Peninsula) and in the Six-Day
War (1967); he fought with his troops at the front and displayed a
courage and professionalism which made him a venerated commander.

In the early 1970s, following his post as chief paratrooper officer,
he was sent to advise Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani. In 1972
he retired from the IDF.

Upon his retirement he dedicated himself to academic study, received a
doctorate, lectured at university, all the while being involved in a
variety of volunteer activities. Among others, Davidi created the
Sar-El foundation, which brings volunteers from abroad to help the
IDF. It is Zionism at its purest.

The following story teaches us more than anything, in my opinion,
about Aharon Davidi’s character. After the retaliatory raid on the
Jordanian police station in Rahwa (Sept. 11, 1956), he paid visits to
his wounded soldiers — among them troops from the elite
reconnaissance unit, Meir Har-Zion and Gideon Kressel. To the latter,
a kibbutznik without a high school diploma, he said one day: “Gideon,
we’ll open a preparatory course to get a high school diploma. Come,
join me. I don’t have a diploma either.” They both studied and got
their diplomas. Davidi would eventually become a doctor and Kressel a
professor.

Only a humane officer with long-term vision, one whose strength
stemmed not from his rank but from the quality of his character, could
have done such a noble thing as to endow future generations of IDF
officers with values of excellence, command and leadership while under
enemy fire.

His actions throughout the years have not gone unnoticed, evidenced in
his being chosen to light a torch of honor during Israel’s official
Independence Day ceremony in 2000, and being awarded the Moskowitz
Prize for Zionism in 2010.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Aharon Davidi was and will always remain a
figure of excellence in the annals of IDF history, and the history of
the State of Israel.

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DR – Général Aharon Davidi z’’l

(décédé le 11 Février 2012)

Tous les volontaires de France te saluent !

Père fondateur de Sar El en 1982 tu as permis à 150 000 volontaires dont 38 000 français de participer modestement à l’effort de défense nationale de l’Etat d’Israël.

Tu es de ceux qui grâce à leur courage dans leur parcours militaire ont permis l’édification de l’Etat d’Israël et sa pérennité.

Tu as fais preuve une fois de plus de courage en entreprenant à ta retraite l’action complexe de faire participer la diaspora aux tâches quotidiennes de Tsahal.

Aujourd’hui, toutes les communautés Juives du Monde te sont reconnaissantes d’avoir tissé ce lien indéfectible avec Israël.

Les fruits de ton initiative nombreux et insoupçonnables tant sur les liens établis entre volontaires eux même et avec les israéliens que sur l’amour du pays ressenti par les volontaires qui a conduit nombre d’entre eux à faire leur Alya et d’autres à revenir régulièrement au volontariat.

Tu prenais le temps nécessaire et puisais l’énergie pour aller visiter toutes les bases afin’de remercier chacun de nous d’être venu alors que c’est nous qui devions te remercier de nous avoir permis d’être là.

Aujourd’hui nous sommes attristés à l’idée de ne plus te revoir sur les bases et surtout de ne pas pouvoir fêter avec toi cet été les trente ans de Sar El au palais des congrès à Jérusalem.

Nous pensons bien évidemment à Hassida ton épouse et compagne de tes combats qui t’a apporté tout le soutien nécessaire au succès de ta carrière et de tes initiatives. Reposes en paix toi qui as consacré toute ta vie à l’Etat d’Israël et la continuité du peuple juif.

Sois assuré que nous n’épargnerons aucun effort pour maintenir cette merveilleuse action pour ton souvenir, pour Israël et pour son peuple.

Shalom Aharon Davidi

Alain Fraitag                                     Yossi Tapiéro

Président Sar El- France                 Directeur Sar El -France

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In Davidi’s Memory…

It was a sad Shabbat when I heard the news that Davidi had died. They say that “tzaddikim” die on Shabbat. Davidi was such a man.

The rest of my day was filled with memories. I first met Davidi in Chicago in 1997 at a VFI (Volunteers for Israel) meeting organized by Charlotte Kaplan. I knew nothing about Sar-El and Davidi, in his quiet manner, inspired me.
I did the program 9 times before making aliyah, each time seeing and becoming closer to Davidi. When I moved here, he created the job of Program Coordinator for me. There is no person or organization I would have rather worked for in my new life in Israel.

Davidi was the most modest person I know. He was like my father which is perhaps why I feel such a deep connection with Davidi. Sometimes when I rode with him to visit bases, he would tell me stories of his army life as we passed various sites and locations throughout the country. I often told him to tell some of his “stories” to the volunteers–that they would love to hear his war stories. But he would just shrug his shoulders and instead talk about the volunteers and how they help the country.

Within minutes of sending out e-mails about Davidi, I received dozens in return. Word spread around the world–via e-mails, facebook, phone calls. Davidi touched so many lives and now all these people were reaching out to each other.

And so, dor l’ dor…the next generation continues. Davidi would be very proud to hear that I get so many e-mails from young people who did the program in the last couple of years and want to return. The best thing is when they tell me that they want to be with people they met on their last program. This is how the Sar-El family continues and grows. Sar-El friends are the best friends.

Davidi will be missed by everyone. He was truly a remarkable man, not only for what he did to build and protect our country, but for how he made each one of us feel important. Everything I do for Sar-El, all my hard work, will always be done in honor and memory of Davidi.

Pamela Lazarus
Feb. 12, 2012

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By Stacey Miller

Sar-El Web Editor

An old brown cloth chair, timeless in design and torn at the edges, now sits empty at the desk located across the room from where I write this, and it is hard to believe that the man who sat there will not be returning. On the desk, a magnifying glass sits inside an old coffee tin, alongside a French-Hebrew dictionary and an English-Hebrew dictionary. I doubt whether Davidi really needed those dictionaries, he was fluent in several languages. However, he did like precision, hence the dictionaries, which look well-used.

I was privileged to share office space with Brig. General Dr. Aharon Davidi, or just “Davidi” as we all knew him, for the past six years. Not that Davidi was often here on the days that I was, most of the time he was out visiting volunteers on the bases. But on those occasions when he was here, he would always ask: “May I make you coffee?” One can only imagine my surprise the first time he offered. Davidi wanted to make me coffee?? Maybe it should be the other way around, I thought.

“No thank you,” I replied, adding that I had already had a cup earlier that morning.

I thought his offer would be a one-off occurrence, but no. Every time our paths crossed he would make the same offer and I would always refuse. I just couldn’t allow Davidi to make me coffee. Somehow, it just didn’t feel right.

Davidi was smart and humble and many people who knew him better than I have already said this. But what many people don’t know is that despite his slim frame, Davidi liked to eat borekas (cheese filled pastry) for breakfast, chased down by beer! He would pop out to a local bakery and return with a small can and a paper bag containing his morning treat. Of course he always offered to share this with me, to which I remarked that if I were to eat cheese borekas and beer for breakfast I would soon become so fat I wouldn’t fit through the Sar-El door! “No Stacey,” he replied. “It’s not what you eat that could make you fat, rather how much of it you eat.” Nonetheless, I remained unconvinced, much to his amusement.

Davidi was a gentleman, and by that I don’t mean just polite, he was a gentle man – at least towards me. But there were occasions when I saw his steely resolution come to the fore and I remember thinking that I certainly would never want to cross him. I also recall thinking that here is a man I would certainly want in my corner, if and when the going got rough. Davidi was a man who not only commanded respect but also inspired devotion amongst many.

Although Davidi has passed on, he certainly hasn’t left us. His spirit and all that he stood for remains and will continue to guide Sar-El, its staff, soldiers and volunteers. And for me personally, much like the chair he sat in, Davidi’s memory will be timeless.

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An Appreciation

Aharon Davidi

2012 – 1927

Who was Aharon Davidi ? Native son of Israel, soldier, paratrooper, battle hero, scholar, organizer extraordinary, dedicated Zionist and tireless worker to advance its cause, civilian activist, and husband, father, and grandfather.

Much has been said and written about this unique man, about the broad reach of his concerns spanning over eight decades, about those whose lives he touched, enriching them for the better. Others will recount his many accomplishments in other aspects of his achievement filled life. But there are many who, knowing of his lingering illness, will still be bereft to deal with the inevitability of his passing. Because to many who will read this he was OUR GENERAL. Our general was the founder of Sar-El, the national project to bring volunteers to Israel from all over the world. And respond we did to his urging; our general. Since 1982, over 150,000 volunteers have responded to Davidi’s call to come and show support for his beloved Israel. From every continent we came, except Antarctica; and then only because Davidi couldn’t figure out a way for a penguin to hold a wrench.

You had to experience Davidi, as so many thousands did when he tirelessly visited Sar El volunteers at bases throughout the country. It was an article of faith with him to personally greet all volunteers. He was fluent in several languages. But when a large number of volunteers began to arrive from Russia, he decided he needed to self tutor himself in Russian to better communicate with this new volunteer community. This was typical of his extraordinary commitment to the support of Israel. He never raised his voice, and yet when he spoke, his command presence filled the room – his listeners in rapt attention. When emergency situations arose, such as the first Lebanon War, he marshaled Sar El resources to bring planeloads of volunteers to Israel. His goal oriented management style was legendary.

When speaking at a Volunteers For Israel board in New York, he said, “You have a plane with 450 seats leaving for Israel in a week. Fill it !” And yes, they did.

He took particular pride in the dozens of Sar El volunteers who made aliyah. When we arrived there was always the encouraging phone call; the quiet mentoring presence.

And so it is that in gardens of stone across the length and breadth of this most special and troubled land, a still, small, voice is heard above the rustle of leaves on the tree branches: “Pass the word, Davidi’s here.”

To the General’s wife Hassida, and family, all volunteers extend sincere condolence. We share your loss, and pledge to carry the cause of Sar El forward in his memory.

Shalom chaver. May flights of angels sing you to your rest.

Marvin Shapiro

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*Volunteers Remember Davidi in Photos – For a look at our volunteers pictures over the years with Davidi: Click Here.

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Aharon Davidi will never again jump from an airplane and descend to earth beneath a fabric canopy or speak to an audience. Yet, he lives on in the memories of those he encountered over the course of his life. He garnered the utmost respect from all.

 

John Stemple

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Davidi was a wonderful man and he brought such a blessing to Israel, and to all those who came to enjoy Sar-El.

Adelheid Schoch

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Brig. General Dr Aharon Davidi was a true patriot and the archetypical scholar and gentleman. His generation was forged in the “furnace” of combat against impossible odds, which won “hands down” again and again, victory beyond any comprehension or military experience.

Erudite and informed he spoke simply and precisely. Such as an elder brother, a hero, with whom there was no contention. He retained this aura of greatness with his humility, military background and experience, around an inner core of steel.

He was a true patriot, a quick judge of men with a similar higher calling. He spoke eloquently, with confidence, honesty and patience to all fortunate enough to meet him.

Another in the chain of great warrior leaders this nation has been blessed with, all are remembered with our blessing and our gratitude.

John Riley Whittam

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I was deeply saddened to learn of Gen Davidi’s death. Whenever he came to the base I was volunteering on it was an uplifting enriching experience.

Joe Rine

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I am sorry to hear about Aharon. We had some special conversations throughout the years and I can still hear him….”Penina, you DID make aliyah…..your heart just came a little before the rest of you, but one day you will have to join your heart to be here with your children and grandchildren”. (things like that…..) He was a sweet, sweet man, and an uncle to our cousin Menachem’s sister-in-law. He was the one who inducted me as an “Officer of Sar El” when I presented my “plugah with 1,000 uzies that I cleaned and checked and replaced parts and then tested by firing into sandbags and then disassembled and packed in backpacks! That was at an army base in 1986!

Penny Bowman

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As Sar-El’s founder, Davidi played a critical role in each of our lives, and I am grateful to him for the volunteer program he created. May his memory be a blessing.

Shmuel Bowman

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A visionary who will be remembered as the person who conceived of Sar-El as a means to channel and strengthen public support for Israel and the IDF thru volunteer work on army bases. Israel and the thousands who participated in the program join together and sing his praises.

Thanks, Davidi, for your inspiration.

Janet Bertman

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It was very, very sad to learn of the death of General Davidi, a

person I was blessed to have met on several occasions while working on the Sar-El program. The man of vision and fortitude certainly left a legacy that has blessed tens, if not hundreds of thousands.

Davidi must have understood the psychology which enters into the

dynamic of those sacrificing for and pulling together with a common

crucial cause (as this program amply demonstrates). Love for the same country by its countrymen and those from far flung countries, uniting in a single cause cannot be diagrammed or seen on paper, one must be there in person to experience it.

Davidi must have come away with a dream growing in his heart after that first year. And the subsequent ripple effect has been greater than the sum of the parts.

My first time [on Sar-El was before the] Iraq War, February-March 2003 and it was then I first met General Davidi. He shared with the 40 plus volunteers on the medical supply base his perspective of the prospects of war, the mentality of the enemy, and the part that the phalanx of volunteers along with the soldiers on the supply bases (and the WHOLE united country…civilian along with the full military) would play. The admiration and respect I saw for him not only by the madrichot but also the volunteers definitively reinforced his credibility and leadership.

Davidi, a man of passion and perspective was YET very approachable.

There was nothing pretentious about him. Having worked the program six times from 2003 through 2009 [I saw that] Davidi was the same with each “tour of duty.” Consistency makes the soldier and statesman and I did not

see any change in the Man-Soldier Davidi the General throughout those

years.

Upon hearing about General Davidi’s death I thought of the song by LuLu from “To Sir, With Love”….. and the particular line;

“How do you thank someone for taking you from crayons to perfume?”

…from Anti-Semitism of a family member to “I choose you, Israel, above all others.

Sar-El is a legacy which will always resound in my heart and in the hearts of many, many more. Ultimate thanks must go to the man and to those whom he brought alongside to execute such an organization and living organism!

You were “The Man in the Gap.” May the generations to come bless you!

Clayton E. Forsberg

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Barb & I are deeply saddened upon learning of the passing of General Davidi. We will miss him. He was truly an inspiration to all of us.

Our condolences to the Davidi family.

David Galler

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A tribute to a great man Gen. Davidi.

Roger Konarski

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I was lucky enough to meet Davidi at one of my SAR-EL Tours and I considered it an honor to meet someone to have volunteered so much of his life.

Richard Snyder

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We always had personal conversations with “our” collective General, on the army bases, and he always remembered us…

My letter is unique today, because we are the only ones who were privileged to speak to Gen. Davidi on his cell phone 2 years ago, and to be invited to travel with Hasida and his family, to “qvell” and be so proud, in Yerushalayim, when he was one of 4 to earn the Moskowitz prize of $50,000 for his furtherance of Zionism, at it’s best, by establishing Sar-El (angels of G-d) in 1982.

In his life he had interest for and made time for everyone with whom he came in contact, as well as being an unusually devoted family man and patriot of Israel. May his memory be blessed.

Renie and Henry Hirsch

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He was a unique and singular man.

Josef Herz

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I am so saddened to hear of the passing of General Davidi. He certainly was the nishama of Sar-El and it is hard to imagine program without him. His legacy will be the good work of thousands of volunteers.

You wrote in your homage to the General about friendships made on program.

Ironically I returned on Thursday from 3 weeks in Cape Town visiting and traveling with Estelle Manoim. We served together in Sar-El. Estelle visited me in New York last year as well and we find in each other loving sisters. Where could strangers living 12,000 miles apart come together to work and live and form such a strong bond? Thank you General. Thank you Sar-El.

Sharon Stein

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As with all Volunteers, Davidi has touched our lives for many years. Every program (4) from ’95 he was a HIGHLIGHT of the Israel experience . We remember being with him in Skokie, and having him autograph, and add a sentiment of photo of us accepting our certificate with him. Israel is still part of our being .

Annette & Burl Cohn

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I am saddened to hear of the loss of

Sar-El’s founder and am moved to read your account and the account of other Sar-El volunteers who knew him. While I did not, I certainly appreciate the lasting legacy of the man’s work and feel very fortunate to have been part of that legacy this past winter.

John Putz

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I too mourn the passing of General Davidi, a warrior and a gentleman. I remember him greeting the volunteers at Ben Gurion airport, and later telling war stories at Machane Ofer.

Glauco Romeo

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I thought Davidi would live forever, or should, at least, should live forever. In our memories I know he will.

Candace Dambrose

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I was very sorry to hear about the recent death of General Davidi. As a “newer” volunteer, I felt very privileged for a chance to meet and hear him speak at our base in June, 2010.

Nathan Treinish

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I have met with this sweet wonderful man a few times I am very sad at his passing.

My deepest condolences on this great loss.

Sahbra Markus

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I was sad to hear about General Davidi, but what a useful life!!! I remember he came to speak to us on our base (Dec 2003). His talk was very inspiring.

Keren

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What is there to say? He was such a wonderful man. I am grieved to see another hero of Israel fall.

I first met him in 2008. He had asked me what I had thought of the current peace process. When I shared with him my thoughts, we became instant friends.

See, we both believe that Israel has the right to defend herself. Volumes could be spoken, but it is suffice to say, I pray that more heroes rise up.

Laurie Walker

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I, too, would like the honor of adding my name to the list of those providing their condolences to you and to the family – and to the extended family of General Davidi. I met Davidi when I participated in the Sal-El program in 2009; like so many others, I was taken in my his humble presence and in awe of his amazing achievements.

May his soul rest in peace and be a blessing to our people throughout the world.

Richard David

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With deep sadness I read the e-mail informing the world that our revered and dearly beloved Davidi has just passed. I read the e-mail and then felt the strong need to learn more about Davidi so I read the memorial article written on Sar-El’s web page. Needless to say, after reading just a words my tears started streaming.

I remember when my group of volunteers were blessed with the opportunity to join so many other volunteers for a celebration. I don’t remember the reason for our event which we shared with Davidi but I do remember the amazing ruah, jubilance, and the coming together of so many volunteers from various bases. Each of us held an Israeli flag as we proudly wore our Sar-El t-shirts. We stood on chairs and sang with 4 army musicians (lehakah). Towards the end we couldn’t even hear the musicians because we were singing, clappping and stomping our feet so loud. Afterwards, I remember how extremely difficult it was to settle down and eat our yummy lunch in the hadar ohel.

Kol ha kevod le Davidi is an expression that is not nearly enough to express our feelings to such brilliant, giving, and phenomenal mensch. Le Davidi ha yakar – rav todot le hakol she asita le kol ha mitnadevim ve la aratz kulo.

Audrey Sivan

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I extend my deepest sympathy to all of you who have worked closely with him over the years. What a wonderful dedicated man and his passing leaves a vacancy which will be a challenge to fill.

Each time I have been on base whether in the very north or the south of Israel he never missed an occasion to come and speak with us volunteers.

He was interested in each person and always had encouraging words for us. I feel privileged to have met and listened to such an interesting man.

Nora Wisdom

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We were moved to tears as we read the beautiful tributes to this most amazing man. How grateful we are for the opportunities we had to meet him and to come to Israel and work for Sar-El. We grieve with his family, with Sar-El and with all Israel at the loss of this great, humble man.

Joe and Lorraine Culton

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I have been a volunteer since the summer of 85. My first summer and during my first week of volunteering I was in Jaffa helping out with the new office—our present offices. I was working out in the yard with a pickax. I was diligently slugging hard into the ground. It was one of those times when you lose track of place and time and it was just me and that task. I was swinging down hard and for no reason I stopped to look behind me. Here was this kindly looking older man looking at me and smiling. I didn’t know who he was but later I did find out. It was General Davidi. I really can’t describe that look but I knew it was of a kind man and he was smiling almost like he was proud of me. I still see that look of him smiling at me so vividly today.

Little did I know that this man would have such a great effect on me. Every summer I volunteer for two or three programs and feel like I am coming home. Mr. Davidi told us that volunteers have the chance to look at Israeli’s not below the eyes or above the eyes but straight in the eyes. These words have been prophetic in my volunteer experiences. For instance, there was the summer of 2002. For nine weeks I volunteered testing batteries alongside soldiers–Or, Audi, Mayan, and Zaudy. We found time to laugh, sing, and even sometimes play childish pranks on each other. Zaudy became my Hebrew teacher and told me about her journey from Ethiopia to Israel. I would like to dedicate Zaudy’s story to the memory of Aharon Davidi.

Zaudy

“The sound comes from your throat, chet, chet”, Zaudy tells me. I try but the guttural sound is difficult for a native English speaker to pronounce. Once more Zaudy encourages me. Zaudy is 19 and is doing her army service. I am a volunteer for Israel and we are working together testing batteries. Besides testing batteries Zaudy has become my Hebrew teacher. We worked together for 9 weeks in the summer of 2001. Zaudy told me the story of her journey.

Once each year, white storks fly over Ethiopia and migrate to Israel.

A Hasida flew over my village

Grandfather and I always sang to her:

“Big white bird,

“What is happening in Jerusalem?

“Does Jerusalem remember us?”

I am called Zaudy. I am 11 years old.

My family lived in a hut shaped in a circle.

It is made from tree branches and mud.

My father was a tanquay, healer.

My mother was a potter.

Strangers said she was evil,

and possessed magical powers to work with fire.

We owned cows and sheep,

My brother and I took them to water

in a small stream near our village.

Children from the nearby village

taunted us with names and threw stones.

My people are called by others;

Falasha – “Strangers in this land”.

They say we change to hyenas at night.

We call ourselves Beta Israel – “House of Israel.”

On Shabbat I relaxed under the Warka trees.

Under the tree grandfather told me stories about Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem he said even the evil ones

turned righteous.

My grandfather recited the name of his father, Berhanu,
his grandfather, Mahari,
his grandfather’s father, Kassahun,
his great grandfather’s father, Samuel,
his great-great grandfather’s father, Desta

Ever since great-great-great… grandfather

traveled to Ethiopia 3000 years ago with King Menelik,

our dream was to go back to Jerusalem.

Fifty days after Yom Kippur is the Sigd.

Before the new moon the Qes, a priest in a white shamma,

climbed the mountain closest to our village.

He was followed by his helper carrying the Orit

(the Old Testament written in Ge’ez).

Behind followed the priests and elders.

They hiked up the mountain

just like Moses ascended Mount Sinai.

The priest read from the Orit

in the hope of coming home.

Grandfather made a deal with G-d-

let him go to see Jerusalem
and die the next day.

The elders marched down the mountain

banging drums and playing tin horns.

Father woke me when the moon was young.

He said we were going back home.

We met 26 others under the Star of David,

mounted on the tin roof of the prayer house.

I walked under the moon light:

carried a kamis (dress), netala (shawl), roasted humus beans , dust from my home

in a white cloth sack tied to a stick.

Two donkeys carried the water, flour, chick peas, onions, spices.

I climbed high, very high, up steep twisting paths.

Gray and black rocks rose up sharply to the sky.

I walked down into the valley,

through the forest and farm lands,

past streams and ponds.

During the day we sheltered in trees

to hide from robbers and the sun.

I saw hyenas, poisonous snakes, lions,

and heard monkeys and frogs.

I hiked in the desert that looked

like craters on the moon.

We searched for desert ponds,
dug in wet dirt to find water.

Father gave me butter so I could taste the moisture.

Sometimes he chewed the bread
and gave it to me so I could swallow it.

On Yom She Shishi, Friday, we walked until the sun was high.

When the moon appeared we ate special bread and said prayers.

G-d was in the mountain, in the river, in the desert, in the stars.

G-d’s instructions were to rest on Shabbat.

After the third star we began walking.

I walked for 16 straight hours.

Grandfather fell asleep on his feet and fell over.

My father said grandfather had the same destiny as Moses.

I see Moses and grandfather

by the Star of David on the tin roof.

On the second full moon we made it to Sudan.

Mother said, “Do not to tell anyone we are Jewish,”

If I do we may die.

Sometimes I had to pray as a Christian,

but in my heart I prayed as a Jew.

Sudan was dirty and there was not enough food.

Men took my father away,

He came back with bandages and broken fingers.

We stayed for nine months.

We put sand on all my uncle’s children.

Father woke me under many stars.

A big truck took us several hours to the airplane.

The airplane was in the shape of a big bird.

Inside I could not see the front or back.

There were many people.

I heard great noise like thunder.

Airplane rose up in the clouds

like the wings of the big white bird.

I wonder if Jerusalem was in the clouds.

How could something so large stay up in the air?

Some of the food looked like grass,

even the water tasted strange.

The plane shook,

I was afraid to stand up to go to the toilet.

I rested my head on father.

The airplane appeared on the ground.

Father cried out with tears, “Shalom, Shalom, Shalom.”

I dreamed of bird and talked to Grandfather.

“I cannot believe people are white.

The people talk and sound like birds.

They cannot be human.”

Hasida flew over my head

“Grandfather We are in Jerusalem”

Zaudy and her fellow Beita Israel paid a tragic price for their journey. Approximate 4,000 of the 15,000 people who started out on the journey died. They walked approximately 500 kilometers (300 miles). The airlift from Sudan to Israel was made in secret. The rescue was called Operation Moses.

When I said good bye to Zaudy she waved to me until I was out of sight.

Brad Jacobson

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We were sad to hear of General D’s recent death. What a wonderful legacy he has left with the world: Sar-El must be unique.

Tim & Beryl Yeadal

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Just read about the passing away of the General Davidi in the French Jewish Newspaper “Actualit? Juive”. Got to know, appreciate and respect Davidi on the different occasions he visited us volunteers on the different bases. In all, I have volunteered 5 times on Tshal bases.

My first stint of volunteering with Sar-El dates backs, if I remember rightly, to 1983. My work involved demolishing wooden British army barracks, pulling out nails and recovering the wood, which at the time was considered to be a precious commodity. It was hard work with army discipline! At the time it was possibly for volunteers to take the bus and proudly walk about town wearing a Tshal uniform with blue tapes on the shoulders….

Cliff Hickman

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HIS IDEAS GO WITH US.

Yarda

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I am so sorry to hear the news about Davidi. He was an inspiration to us all and an era has come to an end.

Please accept condolences from Len and myself and I know I also speak for all the Sar-El volunteers from the UK.

Jennie Goldstone, UK Sar-El Coordinator

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Aharon Davidi was an Israeli general, a paratrooper, a hero and a wonderful man who we greatly loved. He founded the Sar-El volunteer program of the Israel Defense Force, which I have been privileged to be part of for just about ten years now.

As any Sar-El volunteer will tell you, every year, Davidi would make at least one visit to whichever base you were stationed at. Year after year, he came to greet the volunteers. Davidi spoke many languages and when he visited us on a base, he would always deliver a most thoughtful assessment of the current conditions facing Israel that year. We would sit around him and hang on his every word.

It was a privilege to know you Davidi. You will be missed.

Elaine Sugarman

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Yes, he was indeed a special person. He will be sorely missed. I think about him often.

Leon Rechtman

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So sorry to hear about Davidi. He certainly made an impression on all he met. He was so dedicated to Sar-El. He will be missed.

Karen Keys

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The little I got to know him was a special time. I’m so glad he went peacefully. If there was no Davidi, I would not have met all the wonderful friends I now have in Israel.

Patsy Kart

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Baruch Dayan Ha’emet. Hard to believe, I thought he’d live forever. I’ve
been thinking about the ceremony likely for this summer celebrating 30
years of Sar-El .

Barbara Pollak

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May he rest in the palm of G-d’s hand.

Kateriina Makila

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He was such an inspiration. I admired his devotion to Israel, Sar El, the soldiers and the volunteers. May his memory be a blessing to all.

Myra Epstein

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I am very saddened by the news. He was a dear and special friend for many years. He shall be missed.

Emma Lobel

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For you who worked so closely with him it will be a great loss.

For me he was a true mentor before, during, and after my aliyah. Before I actually made aliyah, we envisioned my being the housemother at Bet Oded but not having Hebrew and definitely no Russian in the early years, that was impossible…

He put me in touch with the social worker who volunteered part time with Sar-El and it made my aliyah much easier. He personally brought volunteers to my bed and breakfast in Bat Yam after I made aliyah.

It was very hard to tell him that I was returning to the States in 2009. I cried. He actually sought help from his physician daughter to see if there was some nursing job that I could do even with my age already at retirement age both there and in the US. He knew I could work here and so I returned to work and got my house ready to be put on the market.

When I spoke to him last year, I told him of my plans to return–2012 was to be MY year to come “home” He wished me a speedy return . On Friday I signed with a realtor for 6 months. In a perfect world, I’ll be back on VFI in October and maybe not have to turn around and come back…the market here (in Israel) IS better.

I’m sad that he won’t be there when I return, but I’m sure he knows.

Sharon Sleeper

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Like all of you, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Davidi.

Like all of you, I had the joy and the pleasure of being amongst those who Davidi faithfully visited as we served on our bases.

It is the passing of an era. There will not be another Davidi. He was a force that is so very rare in our world…a force for good…a force that opens “locked” doors so that the rest of us can enter and pass through as we follow our dreams.

Davidi opened the door to the IDF which, for me, unlocked so much of the heart and soul of Israel and, by turn, that of Israelis. And, like many of you, it was this profound opening that took me back again-and-again to be a SAR-EL volunteer.

And so, I share a deep sadness with all of you and, at the same time, celebrate a life that enriched all of our lives.

Gershon Ben Ami

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A Humble Quiet Giant, leaves behind his Spirit, as his Nefesh flies
on Young Wings of Gold to the grateful arms of the unknown World, to a
Heroes welcome and a New adventure!

Paul Muslin

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Sad news indeed, but all is not lost, I had the pleasure of sitting, in the front row, at a talk by this much respected warrior in our base camp a couple of years ago. He left an indelible impression on me, such love and desire to see his country succeed is not one I recognize amongst my people here. He had that spirit you call ”Nefesh”, I am proud to have met him.

Steve O’Mara

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Meeting Mr. Davidi during our Sar-El tour was one of the highlights of out entire life. Even now at 60 + I continue to remember him as one of the greatest inspiration of my life and that of my sons’.
We too mourn his passing.

Ana-Ruth, David and Peter

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It is such sad news. I remember him well when I did my Sar-El week. He made a big impression on me and I really liked him. His death, although I hardly knew him reduced me to tears this morning, which I rarely do.

Sar-El made a big impression on me too, and I look back on it with very fond memories.

Gloria Rowley

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I have met Davidi on many occasions and feel that many Israelis do not realize what a great visionary he was.

Ian Donoff

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He welcomed three generations of my family and I have pictures of him with all of us. A loss for Israel and the thousands of volunteers whose lives were changed by Sar-El.

Rochelle Marshall

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I am deeply saddened by this terrible news,

A great man of the founding Generation.

Long Live Israel–

Martin Silver

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Davidi Was the Rock and the star that held Sar El together for so many difficult and trying years. There would be no Sar-El without Davidi.

Paul Altura

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Sadly, I join with you, my fellow Sar-Elnicks to commemorate the memory of General Davidi, founder of Sar-El……. he was one great guy !

He brought us together to our idealism, our aspirations and to our love of Israel.

May his memory continue to link us together.

Bernie Mandell

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I was very proud to have met him on a few occasions during my volunteer work with Sar-El. Please pass on my condolences to his family and his colleagues with Sar-El. His legacy I’m sure will live on.

Colin Higgs

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SORRY TO HEAR OF GEN. DAVIDI’S PASSING. HE WAS A GIANT IN OUR DAY.

SAL CRACOLICI

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I’m so sorry to read the bad news. He was certainly a tremendous force in the SAR-EL history and will be greatly missed by all who knew him…

Motti Pancer

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This is so sad. He was such a special person.

He remarked once to me, after I had designed the Sar-El website, that he thought I was a person of many skills and talents. He was the kind of person who always made one feel important.

I will never forget struggling to study Hebrew every day at Ulpan and thinking that I was just too old to learn anything new, and then I found out that Davidi was studying Russian. He even studied in the car traveling from place to place. I found it very inspiring that he believed we are never too old to learn something new. He was an inspirational person.

It is very difficult to imagine Sar-El without him.

Hadas Baldwin

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A sad loss. When I first met him in 1996 he was strong and a great speaker, the last time was 2008 and he was [already] very weak. A truly great man and genuine hero.

Steve Grenfell

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Everyone on the VFI Board wishes to express our condolences to General Davidi’s family and the entire Sar-El organization. Davidi had the vision to create a lasting volunteer organization that has immeasurably benefited Israel and the IDF and the many thousands of volunteers from the United States. We have all lost a great leader.

Larry Feldman

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I am so sad to hear that Davidi has died, he was a very special person.

He was well thought of by everyone & I will always remember him for his kind greeting & hug.

Jacqui Fairburn

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He was a great and an outstanding person and I’m very glad that I had the honor to meet him personally! May he rest in peace!

Barbara Michel

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I am deeply saddened by the passing of Davidi. I had the pleasure and honor to meet him 3 times in the past few years and was deeply moved by his words on each occasion. I will miss his visits to the volunteers though his presence will always be with us.

My sincere condolences to Davidi’s family and friends.

David Samson

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Yes, we have lost a very special person. The only solace (NEHAMA) is that he died peacefully in his sleep.

I am sending my consolation to his family.

Hanna

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SO SORRY FOR SAR-EL’S LOSS.

HE WAS QUITE A HUMAN BEING. ONE THING I REMEMBER IS HIM SPEAKING AT ONE OF OUR BASES AND LOOKING AT ALL MY PINS AND SAYING TO ME WOW, YOU SHOULD BE A GENERAL.

COOKIE KOBLIN

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I was so sorry to hear about the death of General Davidi and would like to send my love and prayers to his family at this very sad time. It was such a privilege for me as a new volunteer to have him come to the base I was on. He spoke so passionately about Sar-El and how important the volunteers were who came and worked alongside the IDF. It wasn’t just that they came, but that they gave of their love and time to do this.

Without his vision none of this vital work would ever have come into being. So thank you General Davidi for your passion and love for Sar-El. May you rest in peace.

Sue Close

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I’m sorry to hear about General Davidi’s passing. He was an amazing person, and I was privileged to have met him. I don’t use the term “great” very often, but in this case it’s merited.

David Loeffler

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I am so shocked and saddened to see our Gen. Davidi has passed away. I have memories and pictures I treasure of this great man. His memory will always be for a blessing.

Flora Gianukos

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I made my first Sar El trip in 1989. I then worked on the Florida Board, and the National Board, of Volunteers for Israel in the USA for many years. I saw Davidi on many occasions at meetings, as well as on my many tours of duty with Sar El. In May, 2010, at the Sar El office in Israel, I saw him just before a Board meeting was to begin.

I realized then, with sadness, that it might be for the last time. We hugged and spoke briefly. I said to him, “Thank you so much for giving us Sar El – it has been such an important and special part of the lives of so many!” He did not speak – just nodded and smiled in his modest way, and squeezed my

hands . . . Tears welled up in his eyes, and to me, that moment said everything.

Deborah Cole

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I shall miss him and he is forever in my heart.

Ada

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It is with sadness that I read the news of General Davidi’s passing. I was able to meet him when he visited the base I was volunteering at in 2007. It was truly a privilege and honor to meet General Davidi and share in his passion for his people and land.

As a Christian, I was honored (and still am) to be able to serve and bless my brothers and sisters in Israel thru Sar-EL. G-d blessed him with a vision and purpose which he so faithfully brought to life which has not only blessed Israel but all those who have had the opportunity to serve with Sar-El.

My condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed but forever remembered in the hearts of many.

Carol Zimmer

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I had the privilege of working for Davidi when he invited me to fill the position of executive director in the NY offices of Sar-El in the mid 1980s. Davidi was an outstanding employer and an effective, creative and considerate person. He cared about everyone and everything. He will be missed.

Judith Nusbaum

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I was saddened to learn of the death of General Davidi. I am honored to have met him during my Sar-El experience in January 2005.

Sidney C. Gray

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So many of you subscribed to this mailing list as a result of my meeting you during your Sar El experience. At last week’s lecture on Sunday on the base we were told of the passing of Aharon Davidi the founder of the Sar El movement.

Suffice it to say that I always received great support from him for my lectures to you [Sar-El Volunteers]. Although I never met him… he knew of my lectures and definitely approved and saluted the effort in educating the volunteers.

As with all giants of achievement, he will be missed. To his wife and family I join in their sorrow.

Stuart Palmer

Israeli Citizens Action Network (ICAN)

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A great deal has been written and will be written about Aluf Davidi and his incredible contributions to the security and defense of Israel and the Jewish people – including his founding and leading of Sar-El.

In the “early years” of Sar-El Davidi mobilized madrichim from reservists. The people he sought out needed to be: experienced with working with people and particularly groups; bi or multi lingual and mature and experienced enough to deal with the many problems and emergencies arising on a day by day basis. We were expected to be mediators, guides, counselors and cultural conduits. A critical demand was enthusiasm mixed with commitment – or – “rosh gadol.”

In my contacts with Aluf Davidi in the field I found him to combine directness and sensitivity, attentiveness mixed with a clarity of purpose and an ability to cut through the crap to get to the heart of things.

I felt that it was a privilege to be chosen as a madrich and have contact with Davidi and through him to work with the splendid groups of Sar-El volunteers who proved over and over that the unique mutuality of the project was a sign of Davidi’s greatness.

Reuven Genn

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May I take this opportunity to send my condolences to Mr. Aharon Davidi’s family.

In the past I took part in three Sar-El’s and had the privilege of meeting Mr. Davidi. He struck me as being an outstanding gentleman who contributed so much in allowing people from all round the world to feel so much a part of Israel. So much so many have now made aliya.

Angela Elisha

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Aharon Davidi was a wonderful man with a big heart. May he rest in peace.

Michele

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The loss of Gen. Davidi will be felt by everyone who had the privilege to have known him. He was the epitome of the Israeli sabra: tough and decisive on the outside, yet sweet and soft on the inside. And still, he was more, much more. He was what for me only a Yiddish word describes best: he was a Mensch.

While volunteering a couple of years ago at the Tel HaShomer army base, I heard him speak. Like all people of strong character and convictions, he was also a gentle and kind soul. Only the weak are mean and petty. What the Yiddish word “mensch” literally means is being a human being. What it really refers to is being and behaving above and beyond the scope of the average human being, something which unfortunately few of us manage to achieve. Gen. Aharon Davidi did.

Ed Binder

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… with a sad heart and an expression of consolation of having known General Davidi since meeting him in 1999 during my first tour of serving as a volunteer with the IDF.

Margie and I will always remember his quiet, engaging personality and the fact that when he spoke to you, you had his undivided attention and just knew that you were in the presence of a truly dedicated man of his word. May G-d bless General Davidi and the State of Israel, the land that means so much to all of us. He will be missed.

John

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I am so sorry to here about General Davidi. I was fortunate enough to meet him multiple times on my trips to Israel. His devotion to Israel, Sar-El and all his volunteers was amazing and it truly inspired me. I remember the passion he had when he spoke to us, in the latter years and I remember how he continued to meet the volunteers even with his health failing.

Without his dedication, Sar-El may not have happened and that would have been a great loss for Israel and the thousands of volunteers who have followed and continue to. I will never forget him, he made a difference in my life. Please express my condolences to his family, we lost a great man.

Jim Sloan

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A great man and a great loss.

Diana Federman

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I opened up my emails like I usually do to receive your notice that General Davidi had passed away. At first I was very saddened by this news but after a few moments of reflection, I remembered the first ever time I listened to his little sicha (talk) that he shared with us volunteers many many years ago. I was actually incredibly outraged that such an important and learned man as he came across, could say so many things that were so so wrong. His telling us who the Moslems were, what their ambitions were and how they were going to do it, I found to be very bigoted.

Then as all volunteers do, I went home (Australia), worked away for another year, tended to my family obligations and socialized with all my friends. The only difference this time from all my previous years was that General Davidi’s thoughts were in the back of my mind. What was even more upsetting was that with the passing of every day, week, month, the news that was being reported from all parts of the world, backed up what he told us that hot autumn afternoon. So every time another Moslem atrocity was reported, it had a threefold affect on me – how bad it was, how right he was and thirdly and most embarrassingly, how wrong I was.

So upon returning to Israel the following year where I was once again fortunate enough to join another Sar El program, General Davidi came around to deliver another talk. Well the first thing I did when I entered the room where he was waiting for all of us hard working volunteers to come in, was walk up to him to apologize for how wrong I was. I then told him how sorry I was for attacking what he was trying to tell us, a year before. And would you believe that every time thereafter that I was fortunate enough to meet him, I was forever grateful to him for enlightening me.

So although his passing is incredibly sad for whoever met him, his legacy, his thoughts and his feelings live on through all of us fortunate enough to have heard his insightful words.

Avi Feldman

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[I] met Davidi several times. He will always be remembered.

Ed Pollan

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My heart is now filled with great sadness, I felt that he would always be with us giving both his support and love for this great organization that he helped found and strengthen.

Howard Passman

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My wife and I have many fond memories of him. We had known him for over 12 years. Our first time to serve in Sar-El was in 2000. General Davidi was at the airport to greet us on our group’s arrival. While serving on one army base, General Davidi came to visit. The weather was hot and our accommodations were something to be desired. Ha! As he looked around at our sweaty, dirty, tired group he said: “I will make Israeli soldiers out of you yet.” (He then laughed.) He was a true friend, mentor and leader. My wife and I will greatly miss him.

Mrs. Davidi, my wife and I send our condolences to you and your family, on General Davidi’s passing. We will always remember you and Davidi coming to visit us each time the Ruth Rennie group served in Sar-El. The evening visits were special as we felt like we were with family.

His vision to be able to bring volunteers of different backgrounds, different age groups and different countries together to work on Israeli army bases was remarkable. He gave my wife and me a real desire to support Israel and her people. We will miss his visits and challenging talks to our volunteer groups. We will remember you and your family often, Mrs. Davidi.

Wes and Karen Walker

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So sorry for the sad news. Davidi was a piece of Israeli history. I met him only twice, but it was enough to appreciate his positive authority and big personality. I share in the mourning with all of my sincerest sentiments.

Sami Menda

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I send you my condolences on the death of General Aharon Davidi.

Pier Giuseppe Greco

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One of the highlights of my yearly Sar-El time was time spent with Davidi . I looked forward to his insights and reflections on the land of Israel and his commitment to Sar-El. I especially appreciated his warmth and charismatic lectures that enriched all of the volunteers.

May the memory of Davidi continue to be a blessing.

Joseph Werk

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Please extend our condolence from the United Kingdom to family and friends. Davidi is one of the greatest men we have had the pleasure of meeting and will personally be missed.

Fred Hambert & Family

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Why the heck are there tears in my eyes? I hardly knew the man. Only read about him. Only heard him speak twice. And yet a couple of his sentences have stayed with me. A great loss, yes, but we were lucky to have had him.

Seth Lefkow

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I had the opportunity to volunteer with Sar El in 2009 and had been fortunate enough to experience a presentation by General Davidi. He was not well at that time and was in a neck brace. I was impressed by his dedication and resiliency. He told us the mission and history of Sar El and it was very inspiring. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten.

Harvey Wine

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I am sad to hear about Davidi. He was really good to me, and I am glad that I made that picture for him last time I was there. He said he liked it. I really respected Davidi, and I will miss him, very much.

Paul Flanagan

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I am deeply saddened upon hearing of the loss of Sar-El’s national commander Aaron Davidi, General Davidi was a big inspiration for all of us that served in Sar-El. On my several participations in the Sar-El program I was very privileged to hear Dr. Davidi who always would address the groups and give us words of encouragement.

On my last participation in Sar-El I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Davidi personally at his office in Jaffa with Major Tiran. My condolences to the family.

Joseph Kaplan

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It was always a treat to have Gen. Davidi come out on evenings for after-dinner programs that took place at, I believe, every army post where I did a Sar-El tour. He spoke seriously and to the point and I’m sure all volunteers appreciated what a significant Israeli leader we had in our midst, a real privilege, someone who went back to the establishment of the State and before.

I’m glad to have crossed paths with a great soldier and the founder of Sar-El and won’t forget what interest he took in keeping voluntarism alive on into the future.

Jack Markowitz

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…Our sincere condolences on the passing of General Davidi. He spoke to our group of volunteers one evening at a base we were assigned to on our first volunteer mission with Sar-El. Because of his brilliant idea of recruiting volunteers from all over the world to show their support for Israel, we will be making our fourth (I think) Sar-El trip this April. What a brilliant mind and extraordinary communicator, when he spoke, the reason we were there was conceptualized for us.

We feel so lucky to have known him and to have heard speak. Thousands of us owe him a debt of gratitude for helping us find a way to be an important part of the State of Israel, besides sending funds.

Arlene and Jerry Blut

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Davidi will stay in my heart for a long long long time.

Even though I have only been to Sar-El once I remember General Davidi just like yesterday. He sat through one evening session with our group and shared his calling and how Sar-El got started. I think that might have been the 1200th times he shared with a group. Yet he spoke with such zeal and passion for Sar-El. I thought, wow, how Israel was blessed with a general like this!

He was frail but he managed to see us in spite of his old age. I could touch his humility through it all. General Davidi will always be a hero in my heart. I thank him for the opportunity to serve in Sar-El. Wish I could go back more often in the future, if the Lord willing.

Kitty Tsan

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We are saddened by this news. For us Davidi did more to teach us about loving and supporting Israel than all of the politicians did together. We were so blessed to know him.

Suzy Douma

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He will be missed by all volunteers, I am sure.

Barrie Kirshner

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General Davidi will forever be in my thoughts. His contribution to Sar-El made him an ambassador of many nations and he will be missed by many all over the world. He made personal time for every volunteer that serve Israel via the program he helped create.

My thoughts and prayers to his wife, family and friends at this time of bereavement. Truly, the General was a blessing to many who knew him.

Harold Lipscomb

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The passing of General Davidi is not only a great loss to those of us who have had the opportunity to meet and listen to him speak, but, also to those who will not have the opportunity to meet with him.

Having done several tours with Sar-El, Gigi and I have heard General Davidi speak a few times. His knowledge of history was amazing and he was capable of presenting the facts in a concise and most interesting manner.

Many of us learned much from him and, beyond his knowledge, was the example he set through his dedication to Sar-El. His memory will be a blessing to all who had the honor to meet him. Please convey our sincere condolences to his family.

Hamakom yenachem eschem besok sheer aveleh tzion yerushalayim.

Irwin & Gigi Bressler

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Sylvia and I recall our first invitation to dinner, in 1995, at the Davidi home. We were honored, and happily accepted, although it conflicted with a scheduled Peace Rally. Hassida and Davidi were gracious hosts- little did any of us know that while we were enjoying our meal, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated! That wasn’t quite the social event that had been intended.

Davidi’s genuine concern for the success of the Sar-El program, and recruiting in Canada, kept us in close contact over many years. Jack’s been an overnight guest in the Davidi home in Israel, and he in our home in Canada. He was ready to give us support and good advice, and, when appropriate, to accept criticism from us, with grace and good humor. Despite the great physical distance that separated us for most of each year, we maintained warm friendships.

When, just 3 months ago, he made a special trip to visit the two of us at an IDF base, despite the fact that he wasn’t up to meeting with the volunteer group, we were particularly moved. We didn’t know it, but that was to be a good-bye visit.

Our hearts go out to Hassida, and to his children and grandchildren.

We join the thousands of volunteers in being grateful for the opportunity he provided to so many to make a real contribution to Israel. We will always cherish our friendship.

Sylvia and Jack Bordan

Sar-El Canada

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What can I remember of Davidi, he was unassuming, quiet, calm, so very appreciative of all who cared and loved Israel. A man beyond the limitations of Zionism, religious fervor, national love….a man who perceived Israel and her history as a greater dimension in the human striving for humility, humanity, humane behavior, democracy, freedom, tolerance and a true love of life for all who preserved life, and his finer qualities.

Within all this he epitomized all that is in the Constitution of our Democratic Israel and yet a concern for Israel’s right to remain free and safe, secure and a blessing to all, deeply righteous and tolerant of all….yet never weakening in a resolve to ensure Israel’s right to exist and remain forever free from any threatening force or foe.

Stan Myer O’Reilly

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His memory is a blessing, and the time I spent in Sar El has been a founding moment for me…Thanks to him, and his very inspiring idea, we are able to connect and solve gracefully so many problems and different people.

Phil

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It was a great honor to meet General Davidi. The General’s continued devotion to Sar El was very apparent and inspiring.

Henry Katz

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It is very sad to lose a great man like Davidi. He’s a prime example of someone who contributed just as much to society after he retired as he did before he retired.

Mark Werner

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With great sadness did we receive the message of General Davidi’s home-going.

Erika and George Rennie

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…Dr Davidi was the founder of Sar-El. It is an organization where all Jews and friends can come together to perform service for the State of Israel usually on an army base. Working on an army base with our beautiful young children (soldiers) makes one appreciate the complex and frequently precarious situations that Israel is in.

I met Davidi a few times. I saw this modest looking man, and almost could not believe that this was the same man who was such war hero. His heroic exploits with Sharon and Eitan during the Sinai Campaign in the 1950’s can be compared with the dramatic US Naval Seals take out of Bin Laden. Davidi’s greatness is demonstrated too by his not becoming another one of “those politicians.”

I got involved with Davidi’s Sar-El organization more than 10 years ago, and [am] overdue for another tour of duty. My new wife wants to go with me. I got involved because as Zionist, I was looking for an organization where I could volunteer my time (besides sending monetary contributions) and be of service to Israel. I have had the most amazing experiences good and bad. These experiences have helped me grow as a person. There are people that spend all their time singing Naomi Shemer songs in synagogue but have no idea what Israel is? I am very proud to lend my support to this hero’s organization.

We live in a dangerous world. The last couple of days, the days seemed colder and darker as a great Tzadik has left us. Leaders are asking “what do we do?” More than 50 years ago, Davidi was fighting the same war that is going on today. Time goes on but the conflict continues in perpetuity. Leaders in Israel need to step up and remember the greatness and courage of those that stood before them. If they follow the path of Davidi, we will live in confidence and security. Am Yisrael Chai!

David Rothschild

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I remember the General as a kind and giving person. He will be greatly missed. My daughter my sister and my mother all have fond memories.

Itzik Coleman

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General Davidi was a man with a vision for a volunteer program that enabled people from all over the world who have a heart and love for Israel and her people. To be just a small part and a volunteer was a real blessing. I will always remember General Davidi fondly, as a humble man with so many achievements. I believe his legacy will live on and bless many people.

Maxine Proshold

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Stuart Spiro would be so saddened with the passing of Davidi. We had the pleasure of entertaining him and his wife when they were in Cleveland some years ago. What a wonderful couple. Sar-El and Israel were close to his heart.

Marcia Spiro

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Shelley, Mara and I share in your loss of Davidi. In the past few days we have spoken of little else. We take comfort in knowing that he left behind a wonderful legacy, the Sar- El organization.

I recently wrote an article for my synagogue bulletin about the many misconceptions Americans have about Israelis. I specifically mentioned the image of the IDF super hero. Davidi is the exception that proves the rule.

His military exploits, heroism and leadership are an inspiration.

His vision for Sar- El will endure.

May you find comfort among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Ron & Shelley Sommer

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Thanks to Davidi, I was able to be on the Sar-El program three times before making aliyah. I am so glad that this program has grown and expanded and just done so many wonderful things to the participants from all over the world and the IDF.

Inge Malka Johnson

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Sorry to hear about Davidi. He was a great man and so down to earth. I enjoyed meeting him each time I was at a base.

Ken Dion

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I had the chance and the honor of meeting Alouf Davidi on one of my Sar-El experience when he came and talked to us about our country and the challenge Israel is facing.

At that time he was already quite sick but this little flame in his eye was still glowing.

Michel Diamant

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We express our sympathy and sorrow upon the loss of Aharon Davidi, a great and generous man, and most of all, a mensch.

We shall miss him.

Sheldon and Marian Sacks

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I was saddened to hear about the passing of General Davidi.

I always looked forward to his talks on the base regarding his stories and his wisdom.

Please send my condolences to his family and the Sar – El family.

Leon Cohen

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The death of Davidi is a sudden and very sad. Some people are never expected to die. Davidi is one of them. He dedicated his life to Israel and he is the one who will be remembered trough Sar-El and Israel. His name is indivisible from Sar-El.

Sad news. My condolences to the family.

Sasha Brengauz

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Very sorry to hear about Davidi. He certainly was a moving force and one of the persons who had a major impact on me when I decided to make Aliyah.

Mark Gilbert

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I am very sad about Davidi, who made for Sar-El and Israel so much!!!

Zosa

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Davidi will be missed greatly. What a wonderful legacy he has left to The Land, in Sar-El.

He had a phenomenal memory for people. A great man.

Anne Hepburn

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My deepest condolences to Gen. Davidi’s family. What a man! Until recently, he never missed meeting with every Sar-El group at every base throughout the year! Without him, Sar-El might never have come to exist.

Judy Ford

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Story told by Leo Gottlieb introducing Davidi at a Delray Beach Jewish Center:

‘I picked-up General Davidi and his wife Hasida and the airport in Miami. Shortly after leaving the airport we got lost and not knowing what to or which way to turn, Davidi said “make a left here”. Hasida said “NO, you need to turn right” Davidi again said that we need to turn left.”

Once again Hasida said “right”. Perhaps getting somewhat angry Davidi said: “I am the General, and I say we turn left” To which his wife responded: But I am the Commander-in-Chief and I say we go right” Needless to say, we made a right turn. Leo did not say more so I will assume that Hasida was correct!’

Ken Kaplan

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