David Teperson, long-serving Mahal veteran from South Africa, dies at 89

November 1, 2015 01:14


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In the IDF they called David Teperson ‘Migdal,’ the Hebrew word for tower, because when he came to Israel to fight in the War of Independence, he was so much taller than most of the soldiers and at 1.98 meters literally towered over them.

Teperson was a member of Mahal, the Hebrew acronym for Mitnadvei Hutz La’aretz (Volunteers from abroad).

In later years he became director of the Mahal Museum from his home in Kfar Shmaryahu, because he thought that the Mahalniks had not been given sufficient recognition by the state. However, he was better known for being one of the longest-serving soldiers in the IDF reserves, where he held the rank of colonel, and served more than six decades.

Teperson grew up in South Africa running and playing with the native South Africans. In 1948, when he came as a volunteer and an ardent Zionist to help Israel in her struggle for independence, he already had fighting experience.

Many of the Mahal soldiers returned to their home countries, and in some cases in later life came back to live in Israel.

Teperson was one of those who stayed.

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