Wednesday, February 28th | 19 Adar I 5784

November 10, 2015 1:51 pm

Elderly Former Palmach Fighters Volunteer to Help Police Fight Palestinian Terrorists

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avatar by Ruthie Blum

Sapir. Photo: Family photo provided to nrg.

Shaul Sapir, a Palmachnik who asked Israel Police if he and his comrades could help combat terror wave. Photo: Provided by subject to nrg.

A group of Israeli octogenarians contacted the Israel Police and volunteered to help combat the current terror wave, Israeli news site nrg reported on Tuesday.

The 25 senior citizens had all served in the Palmach – the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground, pre-state Israeli army during the British Mandate – and wanted to share their knowledge and experience with the younger generation now confronting a surge in Palestinian attacks across the country.

The initiative was spearheaded by 87-year-old Shaul Sapir. He told nrg that he got the idea while sitting with his “gang, all youngsters 85 and older …  I decided to ask the police if they would give us a month to restore order in the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Sapir described the reaction he received from the district police commander.

“He was stunned,” Sapir told nrg. “He said that, first of all, he salutes us, but cannot recruit people of our age.”

Sapir also recalled humorously how his friends were disappointed that they could not complete their mission successfully.

Asked by nrg why he and his friends wanted to volunteer for such a task in the first place, Sapir explained, “A man remains a Palmachnik from the day he is born until the day that he dies.”

Not happy about having to give up on their wish to help the police with its workload, Sapir and his former comrades-in-arms tried again. “I called the district commander again today and told him that we could teach the undercover counterterrorism units how to operate in the field, since we were all excellent undercover counterterrorism fighters … But he again refused, assuring me we had already done our part for the country. I told him that until we die – or there is peace – we will continue to contribute.”

Sapir, who said he joined the Palmach when he was 14, was among the founders of the “Negev Animals,” the first pre-state Israeli undercover commando unit.

That was 73 years ago, and he and his compatriots are still raring to go.

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