Ultra-Orthodox Yom Kippur War hero dies 45 years after war

Yitzchak Drexler died Saturday and will always be remembered as a hero.

April 15, 2018 16:21
1 minute read.
TANK reinforcements crossing to the bridgehead on the west bank of the Suez Canal

TANK reinforcements crossing to the bridgehead on the west bank of the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War, 1973. . (photo credit: NATIONAL PHOTO COLLECTION)

A Yom Kippur War hero who dedicated his life to commemorating fallen IDF soldiers died Saturday, 45 years after a missile struck his tank on the Golan Heights.

In the past few weeks, complications from Yitzhak Drexler’s wounds worsened and his condition deteriorated. His funeral was held Sunday in Jerusalem.

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As a young man, Drexler enlisted in the Nahal paramilitary unit. During his reserve service, he landed in the IDF Armored Corps. It was during his reserve service that the Syrian Army fired at his tank in the Golan. Drexler was severely burned all over his body in the attack, but still managed to climb out of the burning tank, according to Hebrew media.

An ultra-Orthodox man who paid such a heavy price on the battlefield, Drexler became an icon of the war, according to Ynet. He grew up in Bnei Brak, was one of the founders of the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel, and in his last years lived in the city of Elad and dedicated his life to commemorating fallen IDF soldiers.

After the 1973 war, with severe burns all over his body, Drexler also fought to secure a role for haredim in the IDF.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman celebrated Drexler on Twitter, emphasizing his stance on the ultra-Orthodox serving in the IDF.

“On Saturday, Yitzhak Drexler, who fought in the Yom Kippur War and was severely wounded and suffered burns on all parts of his body, died. A Yeshiva man who left his studies and enlisted in reserve duty to defend the people and the country – even after he was wounded his spirit didn’t break and he urged other Yeshiva men to enlist.”

Liberman concluded with the words: “These are the heroes of our nation, I salute you.”

Drexler left behind six children – two of whom chose a military track – and many grandchildren.

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