Doron Almog

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Doron Almog
Born 1951 (1951)
Allegiance Israel Israel
Service/branch Southern Command
Years of service 1969—2003
Rank Aluf
Commands held Shaldag Unit, Paratroopers Brigade, Infantry Corps, Gaza Division
Battles/wars War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Operation Entebbe, First Lebanon War, Operation Moses

Doron Almog (born 1951 as Doron Avrotzky) is a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces reserves. In 2016, he received the Israel Prize for his lifetime of achievement.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Almog was born in Rishon LeZion, the eldest of three brothers. He attended the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, and attended military boarding school while in high school.

Almog married Didi Frida in 1978, and they had three children: Nitzan, Eran, and Shoham. His son Eran was born with brain damage, and suffered from severe autism and mental retardation. He died at age 23 in 2007.[2][3] His daughter Shoham was born with a severe injury to an artery in her heart, and died a month after her birth in 1991.

Almog founded Aleh Negev, a village for the disabled which provides residential, medical and social services to the handicapped of southern Israel. After Eran's death, Aleh Negev's name was changed to Nachalat Eran.

Five members of the Almog family from Haifa: Ze'ev Almog, 71, his wife Ruth, 70, their son Moshe, 43, and grandsons Tomer Almog, 9, and Assaf Staier, 11 were killed in the suicide bombing of Maxim restaurant in Haifa on October 4, 2003, while Oren Almog, 10, was grievously injured and blinded.

Almog lives in Ness Ziona.

Military service[edit]

Almog was drafted into the IDF in 1969. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade, and fought as a soldier and as a squad leader during the War of Attrition. In 1971 he became an infantry officer after completing Officer Candidate School. Almog fought in the Yom Kippur War as a company commander at the 202 paratroop battalion. later on he commanded the 35th Paratroopers Brigade's Reconnaissance company. Almog led a force of officers and soldiers from the company in Operation Entebbe, and was the first soldier to land on the runway at Entebbe, marking and securing it for incoming Israeli airplanes, then leading the capture of the airfield's control tower in the rescue operation.[4] In the 1982 Lebanon War he led the 35th paratroopers Brigade's reconnaissance battalion during heavy fighting against PLO operatives and the Syrian army.[5]

In 1984-1985 he commanded Shaldag Unit in the clandestine airlift of 7,000 endangered Beta Israel (or "Falasha") Jews from Ethiopia to Israel in what was known as "Operation Moses" and in special operations in Lebanon. Later on he commanded the 35th paratroopers Brigade in counter-guerrilla operations in South Lebanon. In his most recent post, as head of the IDF Southern Command from 2000-2003 he secured the border of the Gaza Strip against infiltration by Palestinian militants.[citation needed]

2005 London escape[edit]

On September 10, 2005, as he and his wife arrived in London on an El Al flight to do fundraising for Aleh, a handicapped services organization which he helped found, Almog was tipped off by the Israeli Embassy that a warrant had been issued for his arrest on suspicion of violating the 1949 Geneva Convention in connection with home destructions in Gaza. The warrant was issued by Chief London Magistrate Timothy Workman of the Bow Street Magistrates' Court. The petition for the arrest warrant had been filed by Daniel Machover and Kate Maynard, acting as attorneys for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Machover is the head of Civil Litigation for Hickman & Rose Solicitors (London), and, co-founder (in 1988) of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights. Maynard is a member of Hickman & Rose. The warrant was considered urgent, and so was not brought before the English Attorney-General to approve. After Almog's escape, the warrant was cancelled in light of the fact that Almog had left Britain and was no longer under the court's jurisdiction.[6]

Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officers were stationed at the immigration desk. Almog was to be arrested when he presented himself, and taken to a police station. News of the plan leaked to the Israeli Embassy, and when Almog landed, the Israeli military attache informed him in advance that there was an arrest warrant for him, advising him to stay on the plane and return to Israel. El Al denied police permission to board the plane. Almog and his wife remained on the plane for two hours before it took off for Ben Gurion Airport. Police did not board the plane to arrest Almog or prevent the plane from departing.[7]

It later emerged that the senior counter-terrorism officer in charge of the operation had feared for public safety and the diplomatic impact of a potential armed confrontation with Almog's bodyguards and El Al sky marshals should police have boarded the plane and attempted to execute the warrant. It was suspected that with a person of Almog's stature on board, there may have been as many as four or five sky marshals on the plane, and there was also no intelligence on whether Almog was accompanied by personal bodyguards. A second concern was the legal implications of boarding the plane after El Al had refused police entry.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

After the failed arrest, Attorney Daniel Machover demanded an investigation of why police failed to board Almog's plane, and of who leaked news of the impending arrest. Machover also demanded that Israel's Foreign Ministry waive their diplomatic privileges to facilitate investigation. Peter Clarke, the UK anti-terrorism coordinator refused these demands, stating that he lacked resources for such an investigation. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw apologized to his Israeli counterpart over the attempted arrest, and said that warrant has been withdrawn. The Guardian reported that the UK government was "examining stopping private individuals applying to magistrates for prosecutions over war crimes..." A review by Independent Police Complaints Commission was unable to identify the source of the leak.[11]

In 2006, after arriving in Israel to participate in an academic seminar on international justice, Kate Maynard was detained at Ben Gurion Airport and refused entry to Israel. After being interrogated by Shin Bet over the Almog affair, she was deported.[14][15]

In 2009, Almog was among the Israeli officials investigated by the National Court, a special and exceptional court in Spain, over the 2002 assassination of Hamas official Salah Shehade. The investigation was dropped on grounds that the attack had already been investigated by Israel.[16]


Almog was given the responsibility for carrying out the Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, which also led to 2013 Israeli protests.

Israel Prize[edit]

Almog was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in 2016. The Israel Prize is awarded by the State of Israel and is generally regarded as the state's highest honor. It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day, in a state ceremony in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Knesset (Israel's legislature), and the Supreme Court President. When Almog accepted his prize, members of the audience rose to their feet to applaud him. Almog spoke of his work as founder of a rehabilitation village for disabled children, named in honor of his son, Eran, who died in 2007. He noted, ""in Eran's name and the name of his friends who didn't know what independence is, I ask that this ceremony be the beginning of a journey for tikkun olam (repairing the world), making Israeli society a more patient, more inclusive society. A small step towards a model society."[1]


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