Yoav Blum 311.
(photo credit: Jerusalem Post archives)
his calendar that Friday, June 11 was approaching, it triggered a dormant
Exactly 28 years ago, on Friday, June 11, 1982, The Jerusalem
Post published a front-page photograph of Blum when he was a 21- year-old IDF
soldier at the start of Operation Peace for Galilee, turning over a portrait of
then PLO leader Yasser Arafat taken from his headquarters in southern
“It was the first week of combat,” Blum told the Post
telephone call he initiated earlier this week.
“Arafat’s famous symbol
was a ‘V’ for victory, and we put his picture upside down to turn his
upside down, which means something like, ‘We got you, Arafat!’” An
English-speaking aunt had seen the photograph in the paper and alerted
parents, who were relieved to see their soldier son smiling.
no mobile phones in those days, so this was the first sign that I was
Blum remembered, laughing. “My aunt saw the photo and told my parents.”
insulting the media,” he said, “my first comment is that the picture was
taken in Tyre [as reported in the original Post
caption] but outside Arafat’s
headquarters in Rashadiye. I was part of a unit called the Segev force
command of Col.
Yitzhak Segev, which was then part of the Nahal
I was a combat medic by training, and the person standing next to me
moustache was a member of the Christian forces.”
Operation Peace for Galilee on June 5, 1982 against the PLO and other
forces after the assassination attempt on its ambassador to the UK,
After his military service in Lebanon, Blum served as an
to South Africa for the Betar Zionist youth movement. He later became
chairman of Betar and deputy chairman of World Likud. He is now a
businessman and serves as vice chairman of the World Jewish
Today, the Post
photograph is infused with meaning for Blum,
who said its message continues to resonate on both personal and
“For me personally, it represents the closure of a circle
fighting for our existence,” he said. “My late father, Chaim Blum, was
wounded person who made it from the massacre of the Yehiam convoy in
[Forty-seven soldiers were killed.] He had three bullets in his body and
his life to Nahariya. He passed away two years ago.
“Since then, I
privileged to send three children to the army, two in the air force and
And this is the story of our nation. Sixty to 70
fighting for independence and there’s no end in sight.
“I have no
that my children’s children will also have to fight and do their
From a political perspective, Blum said he believed his
as a young soldier to turn the portrait of Arafat, who died six years
its head had been vindicated.
“For a few years, during the Oslo
people embarrassed me with this photo because they said it was an insult
Arafat ‘the peacemaker,’” he said. “I believe it took a few more years
for me to
be proven right, so the picture can now be put back on the wall.”