Haim Laskov (b. Belorussia, Russia) was Israel’s fifth Chief of Staff. He decided to immigrate to Palestine in 1925, where he studied at the Reali High School in Haifa. His father was killed by a group of Arabs in 1930.
Laskov decided to join the Haganah in 1932, where he served in the field companies from 1939-1940. During the Second World War, he chose to volunteer for one of the Palestinian Jewish units of the British army from 1941-1946. In 1944, he commanded a mechanized machine gun platoon in Italy, an experience that would later help him to command a similar battalion in the Israeli army during the battles of Latrun, Nazareth, and Galilee. However, it was not until 1947 that he made the decision to commit to the Haganah as a staff member.
During Israel’s War of Independence, Laskov was promoted to alfur (Brigadier general) and the director of training,: a position he was committed to until 1951. At the time, he commanded the first ever wartime officers’ course in 1948, in addition to commanding a battalion during Israel’s Operation Nachshon, the 79th armored battalion of the 7th Brigade, and the 7th Brigade. He was also the commanding officer of Operation Dekel.
In 1951, Laskov became the commander of the Israeli Air Force, a position he held until 1953 when he left Israel to study at Oxford University. In 1955, Laskov was recalled and appointed deputy chief of general staff. In 1956, he was awarded the position of commanding officer of the armored corps, in addition to leading a divisional task force on the northern axis during the 1956 Sinai War. After the campaign, Laskov was appointed the commanding officer of the southern command and, once again, became the chief of the general staff of the Israeli Defense Force in 1958.
After years of devoted and successful service, Laskov retired in 1961 to become the director general of the port authorities. Although he resigned in 1970, he continued his work for Israel by getting involved in various other organizations. He also served as Ombudsman (1972) for the military, that is, the person to whom soldiers can report misconduct or other concerns about the orders and actions of military personnel.
D. Lazar, Rashim be-Yisrael, 1 (1953), 170–5.