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Yigal Allon

(1918 - 1980)


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Yigal Allon was an Israeli military commander, statesman and among the leaders of the Labor movement.

Allon (born October 10, 1918; died February 29, 1980) was born in Kfar Tavor in pre-State Israel. His father had immigrated to Palestine in 1890.

After graduating from high school, Allon was one of the founders of Kibbutz Ginosar and married Ruth.

From 1936 to 1939, Allon commanded field units for the Haganah during the Arab revolt in Palestine and during this time he also participated in several operations of the Special Night Squads (SNS) under the commande of Orde Wingate. In 1941 and 1942, Allon served as a scout with the British forces who fought in Syria and Lebanon and upon his return to Palestine he helped found the Palmach, the strike force of the Haganah.

In 1943, Allon became deputy commander of the Palmach and from 1945 to Israel's creation in 1948, he commanded the palmach. Under his orders (from David Ben-Gurion), forces of the Haganah shelled the Irgun weapons ship Altalena in June 1948.

During the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, Allon was appointed a lieutenant-general and commanded forces in several of the war's major operations, including Yiftach (Galilee), Danny (Center) and Yoav and Horev (Negev). In 1950, Allon retired from the military.

After leaving the IDF, Allon became involved in politics and by 1954 was one of the leaders in the Ahdut Ha’avodah. He was first elected to a seat in the Knesset in 1955 and he held this seat util his death 25 years later.

From 1961 to 1967, Allon served as Minister of Labor; from 1967 to 1969, as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Immigrant Absorption; from 1969 to 1974, as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Culture. In 1974, Allon was also a member of the Israeli delegation to the separation-of-forces agreements signed with Egypt and Syria. From 1974 to 1977, Allon served as Minister of Foreign Affairs; from 1977 to 1980, as Chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee on Lebanon. From 1978 to 1980, Allon was also chairman of the World Labor Zionist movement.

Yigal Alon died of heart failure in Afula on February 29, 1980. He was buried on the shore of Lake Kinneret in Kibbutz Ginosar.


Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry; Wikipedia

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