amos horev honored_311.
(photo credit: Defense Ministry)
The annual Defense Prize ceremony at Beit Hanassi – which is named in memory of Eliyahu Golomb, the founder and first commander of the Hagana, the pre-state Jewish military forces and a predecessor of the IDF – is usually cloaked in secrecy. It is forbidden to publish the names of the prizewinners for fear that enemies of the state may try to kidnap them, or even worse, kill them.
So although they are the heroes of Israel’s security and existence, their exploits remain unsung and are known only to a few. Sometimes, because they are also active in other fields, their names do become public.
Jerusalem-born soldier-scientist Amos Horev, who was named the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award during Tuesday’s ceremony, is a case in point. Horev, 87, joined the Palmach – the Hagana’s elite fighting force – as a teenager and was a commander at age 19. During the War of Independence, he was instrumental in the creation of the legendary Burma Road that facilitated entry into Jerusalem, which was under siege and cut off from the rest of the country.
Horev had a long and distinguished military career, serving in various senior positions, not the least of which was director of the IDF weapons development department, which he established. In civilian life, he is a former chairman of the board of Rafael Advanced Defense System Ltd. and was the first Israeli-born president of the Technion. He has also been involved in Israel’s nuclear research, and has either headed or been a member of several commissions of inquiry.
President Shimon Peres said of him at the ceremony that from the time of
the Burma Road until he became president of the Technion, whether in
the defense establishment or in various civilian fields, he has given of
his ability and his experience for the benefit of the nation.
“Amos Horev has achieved a great deal and has contributed a great deal to his people,” Peres said.
In paying tribute to the anonymous army that guards Israel, Peres said
that in the public consciousness, national security is synonymous with
the IDF. The security of Israel, Peres continued, depends not only on
the quality of commanders and soldiers in the field, but also on the
uncompromising feats of science and technology.
“The best minds are here. The security of the state depends on you,” the president said.