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Remembering our fallen

Telfed representatives, Barry Kornel and Peter Bailey, together with former Telfed Chairman Dave Bloom, had the honour of attending the annual Kibbutz Yizreel memorial service for two sons of South Africa who were also sons of the Kibbutz. While Neil Freed, born in Johannesburg and David (Dudi) Silbowitz, born in Cape Town, came from different parts of South Africa, their lives crossed in the Habonim Movement and after their joint Aliyah.

Neil and Dudi completed their military service as tank crew in the armoured corps, later living as neighbours on Kibbutz Yizreel. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 found them in the same tank as they crossed the Suez, sent on a mission to rescue trapped paratroopers. The tank took a direct hit and Neil and Dudi were both killed. They were later buried in adjoining graves, as fallen heroes, in the Kibbutz Yizreel Cemetery.  

The sincerity and deep emotion expressed by Bruce Oppenheimer as he spoke about his memories of Neil and Dudi was testimony to the high esteem in which the two heroes were held.  The memories of 45 years ago are still fresh and poignant in the hearts and minds of the members of Kibbutz Yizreel as they remembered their two dear friends.

Following the ceremony, friends and family gathered together and shared their memories of Neil and Dudi. Mention was also made of Eddie Joffe, a South African who was killed in a bomb blast in a Jerusalem supermarket in February 1969.  

A Telfed committee comprising Barry Kornel, Peter Bailey and Philip Chasen, chaired by Barry, has been established to attend to all matters pertaining to Southern Africans who have fallen while defending Israel. Any queries or suggestions with regard to the fallen soldiers can be addressed to Barry, Peter or Philip via Telfed (email: or 09 7907801)



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