Sar-El Founder General Aharon Davidi led our organization until his recent passing in February, 2012. Below is a pictorial look at his life, from his days as a Haganah and Palmah activist, to the founding of the State of Israel, and Davidi’s subsequent rise through the ranks of the IDF and the establishment of Sar-El.
(Above) Aharon Davidi was born in 1927 in the Hadassah Hospital located on Balfour Street in Tel Aviv. At the time, his family resided at 35 Bograshov Street in Tel Aviv. Already by the age of 1.5 years old Davidi was tall for his age, with an enquiring nature and a penetrative stare.
(R) – Davidi in 1932, age five, wearing a Russian-made shirt while attending the Haya Brenner nursery school.
(L) 1933 – Davidi at age six, sitting on the lap of his grandfather, Moshe Mordechai.
In the picture from right to left: Davidi’s mother Sarah, his father Levi, and his sister Haviva.
(Left) 1941 – Davidi at age 14, studying at the new primary school Tel-Nordeau in Tel Aviv. At this time he began his activities with the Haganah’s youth branch.
(Above) Davidi begins taking part in youth demonstrations and
becomes a runner, passing on secret information to the Haganah.
1944-1946 – At age 16 Davidi begins learning about radio transmission from his older brother Zvi and in 1944 at age 17, he receives training from the Haganah and begins building radio transmitters. By 1946, Davidi is a member of the Haganah cell that aims to scramble the radio transmissions sent out by the ruling British government. Their secret activities were carried out from private apartments throughout Tel Aviv (Below).
1947 - Davidi begins working in the central laboratory to mend radio equipment for the Haganah and the Palmah. This job requires that Davidi remain indoors, inside a sealed room (Below). Sitting by while others began fighting during the War of Liberation did not suit Davidi, so he left at the end of 1947 and volunteered to join the fighting division of the Palmah.
Davidi is made Deputy Transmissions Commander by the Palmah for its second division and is sent to the Negev.
1948 – The State of Israel is born, the Palmah is disbanded and its soldiers are absorbed into the Israel Defense Force, or IDF.
(Below left) Davidi receives a medal for his participation as a fighter for the Haganah and Palmah. Davidi completes an officer’s training course and returns to the Negev Division.
1949 – Command of the Negev Division moves its headquarters to Gedera. Davidi takes a brief vacation in order to marry Hassida. From 1951-53, Davidi begins training other officers in the IDF.
1953 – 26 year old Davidi joins the Paratroopers
1954-55 – Davidi participates in tens of military campaigns.
(Below left:) with Arik Sharon, (Below right:) Davidi with other soldiers before a battle.
1955 – Davidi takes over during battle after his commander is killed, reorganizes the troops, changes direction and eliminates the enemy. For this he is awarded a medal of bravery (below right) and congratulated by army generals, including Moshe Dyan (below left, Dyan in center, Davidi bottom row on left).
1956 – Davidi is appointed as an officer of one of the units in the Paratroopers’ Division
1957 – Davidi goes to study at the Military Academy in Paris, France.
1958 – Davidi takes up the position of Training Officer at the IDF’s Central Command Headquarters and writes up the IDF’s rules of engagement and military battle plans.
(Above) Davidi and Hassida with Irit(l) and Yael (r). Army insignia for Central Command Davidi in 1958.
1962 – Davidi takes over as Commander of the Paratroopers Division, shaking hands with Itzhak Rabin (z”l)
1967 – The Six Day War – Davidi at 40
1970-1973 – Davidi completes a masters and doctorate at The University of London
1973 – Davidi becomes a lecturer at The Tel Aviv University
1974 – Davidi is released from full-time military service
(Above left:) After 27 years of army service Davidi says goodbye to IDF Chief Mota Gur. (Above right:) Davidi on an IDF mission to Kurdistan.
1977 – Davidi runs the Golan Community Center
1982 – Davidi Establishes International Voluntary Program Sar-El
(Above:) – Davidi with Sar-El Volunteers, and (Below:) Davidi’s work with Sar-El wins him the Knesset Chairman’s prize and the Presidential Award for Voluntary Work.
1998 – At age 71, Davidi is given the honor of lighting the beacon in Israel’s 50th Independence Day Ceremony, he is honored for encouraging volunteerism in Israel.
2007 – Davidi celebrates his 80th birthday with family and friends
(Above:) – Davidi celebrates his birthday with family members
(Below:) – Davidi is honored by the Jewish National Fund and his name is written into their Gold Book, he also receives an army plaque and letter of thanks from all of the various units he served.
2011 – Sar-El’s General Davidi Wins the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism
2012 – Much-loved Sar-El Founder Aharon Davidi Passes Away on February 11, at the age of 85