Uzi Narkiss

Uzi Narkiss

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Uzi Narkiss was an Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i general. Narkiss was commander of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 units in the Central Region during the Six Day War. Narkiss appears in the famous photograph of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 flanked by Chief of Staff
Ramatkal
The Chief of the General Staff, also known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces is the supreme commander and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. At any given time, the Chief of Staff is the only active officer holding the IDF's highest rank, Rav Aluf , which is usually...

 Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 and himself, taken in the Old City of Jerusalem shortly after its capture from Jordanian forces
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 in the 1967 Six Day War.

Biography


Uzi Narkiss was born in Jerusalem to Polish Jewish parents. His first memory was of going into hiding during the 1929 Arab riots. Narkiss attended high school at Gymnasia Rehavia
Gymnasia Rehavia
Gymnasia Rehavia is a high school in the Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel.-History:Gymnasia Rehavia was the country’s second modern high school, after Gymnasia Herzliya in Tel Aviv. The school was first established in Jerusalem's Bukharan Quarter in 1909. The building on Keren Kayemet...

. He joined the Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

 at the age of 16 and was involved in Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 operations against British Mandatory forces in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

Military career


In April 1948, Narkiss headed the assault on Katamon, liberating the monastery at San Simon
San Simon
San Simon may refer to:*San Simon, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Arizona*San Simón, a municipality in El Salvador*San Simon, Pampanga, a municipality in the Philippines...

—a key strategic position. Following the final departure of the British and the Israeli Declaration of Independence, Narkiss was appointed to assist those besieged in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Narkiss' unit succeeded in penetrating Zion Gate, bringing in supplies and evacuating the wounded from those under siege. When military reinforcements failed to appear, however, Narkiss ordered his men to retreat, with the Old City falling to Jordanian forces shortly thereafter.

Narkiss spent several years in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 during the formative years of Israel, seconded to study at the École de Guerre (the French Military Academy) and later in the capacity of Israeli military attaché, having been awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government. Narkiss returned to Israel to continue his military career and in 1965 became the first director of the Israel National Defense College.

In June 1967, with seven brigades under his command, Narkiss was responsible for combating any possible Jordanian offensive. Capturing the Old City was not part of the plan. Israeli units moved effectively to take key positions in east Jerusalem, where one key location was Ammunition Hill. Still, to Narkiss' dismay, the politicians would still not allow the Old City to be taken. But with a looming cease fire approaching after an emergency meeting of the UN, Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 gave the order to Narkiss who quickly capitalised on the opportunity to reunite the city before any cease fire prevented this as an option. Under his direction, the Old City was taken over and Jerusalem reunified under Israeli control. From Narkiss' viewpoint, this liberation completed the campaign he had begun nineteen years earlier, and whose previous failure had haunted him.

Narkiss retired from the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 in 1968, subsequently holding key positions in the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization
World Zionist Organization
The World Zionist Organization , or WZO, was founded as the Zionist Organization , or ZO, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland...

. In 1948 Uzi Narkiss found Palestinian commander Abdul Kader Husseini's Koran on the battlefield. In the 1980s he wanted to give it to Kader's son Faisal Husseini
Faisal Husseini
Faisal Abdel Qader Al-Husseini was a Palestinian politician who was considered a possible future leader of the Palestinian people....

 but Husseini refused to get it back from the hands of Israeli general.

He died in Jerusalem at the age of 72.

External links

  • General Uzi Narkiss - A historic radio interview with General Uzi Narkiss on June 7th - one day after the Six-Day War, describing the battle for Jerusalem
  • Central Zionist Archives
    Central Zionist Archives
    The Central Zionist Archives The Central Zionist Archives The Central Zionist Archives (CZA; Hebrew: (הארכיון הציוני המרכזי (אצ"מ) is an archive in Jerusalem, Israel, housing the historical archives of the Zionist movement from 1880-1970 and documenting the growth of the Zionist movement throughout...

    in Jerusalem site. Office of Uzi Narkiss (S91)