Young Israeli troops are gathered around to listen to a 95-year-old combat veteran. Ezra Yakhin recalls 1948, despite having seen almost every battle the contemporary state of Israel has seen.
The oldest IDF reservist, Yakhin, told JNS, “I told them to go destroy Hamas.” When asked how it feels to be the oldest reserve member of the Israel Defense Forces, Yakhin told JNS that “fighting for our nation is very important for us. I feel fantastic.
Yakhin won’t be engaging Hamas terrorists directly since he is too young to do so, but his role entails inspiring others who are. When he joined the Jewish militia Lehi, a thorn in the side of the British authorities, at age 16, he witnessed Israel triumph against huge odds.
“Nobody thought a small nation like us with less than half a million people could challenge an empire that spanned the entire globe,” he claimed. Yakhin’s employment at the post office and his knowledge of Arabic were extremely helpful to the underground movement.
He made his way to Lehi in quest of whichever group “would be best at kicking the can down the road” (his parents were from Syria and Egypt).
His brother was also in Lehi, and Yakhin didn’t find out their other brother was in Irgun until Lehi and Irgun collaborated on an operation.
On one expedition in Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda Street, he was struck in the thigh by shrapnel, giving him several serious shocks. He suffered a brain injury during another procedure in Jerusalem’s Old City, which left him blind in one eye.
“We made the British people so terrified. They couldn’t escape our attention, and no matter what, we made them answer for their deeds, he continued.