The former head of Israel’s naval Special Operations unit has died while on vacation in Thailand.
Gadi Shefi,76, died of an apparent heart attack in a hotel room in Pattaya, where he was found over the weekend. He had been missing for a week before his son announced his death Tuesday on Facebook.
“At this hard and painful time, we want to thank everyone for the help in finding our father,” Ari Shefi wrote.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it is assisting the family in bringing Shefi’s body to Israel.
Shefi headed the Flotilla13 special operations unit from 1976 to 1978, during which he oversaw a number of then-secret operations into Lebanon.
Writing on Twitter Tuesday, former prime minister and IDF chief of staff Ehud Barak described Shefi as a “courageous warrior, a man of truth and an outstanding symbol of leading by personal example.
Flotilla 13 or Shayetet 13 is the Israeli equivalent of the US Navy’s SEAL teams or the British SBS. The unit was very active in the Lebanon war during the mid-to-late 1970s. They conducted 22 successful raids and 13 ambushes against enemy combatants.
Shayetet 13 specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and boarding. The unit is trained for sea, air and land actions. The unit has taken part in almost all of Israel’s major wars, as well as other actions. It was founded in 1949 and its motto is: “As the bat emerges from the darkness, As the blade cuts through with silence, As the grenade smashes in rage.” In addition, the unit also referred to as “People of Silence”.
In a bit of coincidence, or perhaps not, another Israeli government employee the head of the Binyamina Regional Council in Israel died Saturday after suffering an apparent heart attack while vacationing with his family in Vietnam. Pinhas Zoaretz, 53, was a colonel in the IDF before becoming the regional council head in 2013.
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Photo courtesy Facebook
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