Gal Hirsch

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Gal Hirsch
Gal Hirsch
Native name
גל הירש
Service/branchIsrael Defense Forces
Years of service1982–2007
RankTat Aluf (Brigadier General)
UnitParatroopers Brigade
Commands held202 "Tsefa" (Viper) paratroop battalion, Shaldag Unit, Executive officer of the Judea and Samaria Division, Benjamin Regional Brigade, IDF's Central Command's executive officer, the IDF's Officer Training School (Bahad 1), 91st Division

Gal Hirsch (Hebrew: גל הירש‎; born 1964) is an Israeli brigadier general (Tat aluf) who commanded the 91st Division of Israel Defense Forces during the 2006 Lebanon War.


Gal Hirsch was born to Rachel and Yitzhak Hirsch, who were among the first residents of Arad, in the Negev. His grandparents on both sides of his family served in the Haganah. When Hirsch was 13 years old, his uncle, Amnon Hager, fell in the line of duty, in the 1977 Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion crash disaster. The incident led Hirsch to enroll to a military boarding school affiliated with the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel-Aviv, at the age of 14. Hirsch has a B.A in Mid-Eastern Studies from Bar-Ilan University (Graduated with honors) and an M.B.A (Tel-Aviv University).

Military service[edit]

Hirsch was drafted into the IDF in 1982. He volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade. He served as a soldier and a squad leader. In 1985 he became an infantry officer after completing Officer Candidate School and returned to the Paratroopers Brigade as a platoon leader. Hirsch fought as a company commander in Operation Law and Order in Lebanon. He led the 202 Paratroop Battalion in South Lebanon and in the First Intifada. He led Shaldag Unit in special operations in Lebanon.[1]

He was later assigned as the G-3 of the Judea and Samaria Division, and was severely injured when terrorists threw a large rock on his car. During the Second Intifada, he commanded the Benjamin Regional Brigade and later served as IDF's Central Command's J-3, during Operation Defensive Shield. Then he was given command of the IDF's Officer Candidate School (Bahad 1).

Hirsch commanded the 91st Division of Israel Defense Forces during the 2006 Lebanon War, including during the Battle of Maroun al-Ras, Battle of Bint Jbeil, Operation Beach Boys, Battle of Ayta ash-Shab and Operation Change of Direction 11.[2]


B.G. (Res.) Gal Hirsch is founder and chairman of Defensive Shield Holdings Ltd.,[3] a provider of strategic, operational and tactical solutions for the defense, security, and homeland security sectors around the world. Hirsch is also chairman of the Israeli Leadership institute[4] NPO, providing extracurricular leadership programs and courses via Zionistic observation.

In January 2017, Hirsch led the first Haifa Leadership Conference, themed by a salute to graduates of military boarding schools in Israel. Since 2008, Hirsch is a research associate at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Hirsch is married to Donna and has three children. He lives in Rosh HaAyin.


Gal Hirsch published his first book, "Love Story, War Story", in 2009. The book is an autobiographic tale of his military career, and a depiction of a brigadier general's perspective of 2006 Lebanon War. The book appeared on the bestseller list for months following its publication.

In 2016, Hirsch published "Defensive Shield",[6] a new and revised English edition of his first book, providing a unique description of Israeli national defense developments and challenges.

Hirsch published several academic articles, regarding military, public defense, guerilla warfare, and more. Amongst his publications:

"Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, His life and Legacy", History Department, Joint Doctrine.

Division Publications: 1989 "Low Signature Operations", IDF Joint Doctrine

Division Publications: 1999," Mixed Arena – Armed Riots in Asymmetric Conflicts", Ground Forces Publications: 2001.

"Operations in the Speed of Thought", Maarachot: 2002 The Path to ‘Defensive Shield Operation’ – A Campaign Evolvement in Central Command, Maarachot: 2003

"Combat Navigation" in 2004 Zeev Erlich ed., The Path tale – Handbook for Navigation training.

"ON DINOSAURS AND HORNETS: A critical View on Operational Moulds in Asymmetric Conflicts", Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for defense and Security Studies, London, August 2003, vol 148 No 4.

"From Cast lead to another way – the development of the Conflict in central command 2000 to 2003" (2004) in Maarachot IDF official Publication 393 February 2004

"Here I am, Send me! Combat leadership in the IDF" (2004) – Infantry and paratrooper’s Magazine Israel Army IDF November 2004.

"The Sixth Dimension Has Taken Off" (2013), Israel Defense, October 2013.[7]