Emmanuel Moreno

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Emmanuel Moreno
עמנואל מורנו
Born June 17, 1971
France
Died August 18, 2006
Southern Lebanon
Allegiance  Israel
Service/branch Israeli Army
Rank IDF sgan aluf rotated.svg Lieutenant colonel
Unit Sayeret Matkal
Battles/wars South Lebanon conflict (1982–2000)
First Intifada
Second Intifada
Lebanon2ribon.svg 2006 Lebanon War
Awards Zla.svg Head of Regional Command Citation

Emmanuel Yehuda Moreno (Hebrew: עמנואל יהודה מורנו,) (June 17, 1971 - August 18, 2006), was an Israeli Lieutenant Colonel of one of the Israel Defense Forces' most elite units, Sayeret Matkal, who fell in combat at the end of the Second Lebanon War.

Biography[edit]

Moreno was born in France, to Sylvia and Shlomo Ilan Moreno. Moreno's family made aliyah to Israel when he was one year old. Raised in Jerusalem, Emmanuel studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Paul Himmelfarb High School, and Bnei David pre-army mechina in Eli.

Moreno served in Sayeret Matkal for 16 years, progressing through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel, a rank that was personally granted to him by the former head of the IDF Intelligence Division (Hebrew: ראש אגף המודיעין), Major General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash. As this rank is equal to that of the Sayeret Matkal Commander, a role that Moreno did not fulfill, this was considered to be an exceptional event. The former Commander of Sayeret Matkal, Herzi Halevi (Hebrew: הרצי הלוי), described Emmanuel’s unique character as an IDF combatant: “If the IDF is the best military in the world, and Sayeret Matkal is the best unit in the IDF, and Emmanuel is the best soldier in the unit, then Emmanuel is the best soldier in the world.” Herzi Halevi said this when Emmanuel was still alive. Avi Dichter, Israeli MK and former Minister of Internal Security, who also served in Sayeret Matkal, described Emmanuel as having served in the spearhead of his unit, “an elite force within an elite force” [1] (Hebrew: הסיירת של הסיירת). Through the years, Emmanuel was trained for special operations, requiring an extremely high level of skill and risk tolerance, far beyond that of the “average” soldier serving in Sayeret Matkal. Among other missions, Moreno participated in the apprehension of Lebanese guerrilla leader, Mustafa Dirani, from his home in Lebanon in 1994, and commanded the rescue mission of taxi driver, Eliahu Gorel, who was kidnapped by Palestinians in 2003 and held in a basement near Ramallah. Many of the commando operations Moreno participated in are still classified. The IDF has not, to this day, released his photo to the public for reasons of national security.

Though the IDF did not release information on the raid in which Moreno was killed, details were filtered to the Israeli media. According to the media, Moreno and his commando team was airdropped into the area by helicopter with two Humvees. Their mission was to attack a Hezbollah base in the village of Bodei, near Baalbek, which was used by Hezbollah for weapons smuggling. The commando team was discovered around the heavily guarded base, and a pitched battle ensued. Moreno was killed, and two officers were wounded. At least three Hezbollah fighters were also killed and two were reportedly taken prisoner. Close air support from fighter jets and attack helicopters prevented Hezbollah reinforcements from reaching the battle or encircling the commandos. The commandos were extracted, together with Moreno's body and the Hezbollah prisoners, after a lengthy firefight.[2]

Moreno lived in Tlamim, a moshav in the Hevel Lakhish region of southern Israel. Emmanuel, 35 years of age, was survived by his wife, Maya, and his three children. All four of his brothers served in elite IDF units, including his younger brother “D”, who continued in his path and later served in a high-ranking position within the same unit.

Aftermath[edit]

Shortly after his death, Emmanuel was awarded with the Jerusalem Conference Award for Jewish Heroism (sponsored by Channel 7). He was also awarded the Begin Prize by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem for his exceptional contribution to the State of Israel. With the Begin Committee’s decision to award him with the prize, Emmanuel was praised for his outstanding courage and strength of spirit.

On April 27, 2008, the head of the IDF Intelligence Division awarded Emmanuel with the "Head of Regional Command Citation" (Hebrew: צל"ש אלוף) “for his numerous years of dedication to the security of the State of Israel and his participation in several IDF operations throughout the Second Lebanon War.” [3]

Following his death, Emmanuel's family established a nonprofit organization, B'darkei Emmanuel (In Emmanuel's Way), supporting educational and leadership initiatives for youth in Israel. In 2008, a natural spring in Mevaseret Zion, Jerusalem was named after him.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As interviewed for the "Top Secret" news item aired on Israeli channel 2 (min. 2:00) on Nov. 22nd, 2006
  2. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=32411
  3. ^ Emmanuel Yehuda Moreno - Copy of Citation (Hebrew)‏