Simḥoni, Assaf

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SIMḤONI, ASSAF (1922–1956), Israeli military officer. Born in Nahalal, Simḥoni was descended from a pioneering family which moved to Ereẓ Israel from the Jewish agricultural settlements of south Russia and settled in various kibbutzim. His uncle, zerubavel yevzerichin, was a leading member of the legal faction of the He-Ḥalutz movement in the U.S.S.R. who was arrested in 1926 for his Zionist activities and died in a Soviet labor camp. Assaf's mother, yehudit simḤoni, settled in Geva and became a leading figure in the Israeli labor movement. Simḥoni joined the Haganah during the Arab riots of 1936–39 and in 1941 joined the Palmaḥ. During the War of Independence (1948) he participated in the battle for Mishmar ha-Emek and was the commander of the Palmaḥ batallion that broke through to kibbutz Negbah. He continued to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (idf) and in 1951 was promoted to brigade commander with the rank of colonel. At the beginning of 1956 he went to England for an advanced military course but was recalled in the autumn of the same year and appointed commander of the southern command. On October 29 he commanded the idf in the *Sinai Campaign and received the surrender of the Egyptian governor of the Gaza Strip. Simḥoni died shortly after the Sinai Campaign when his plane crashed inside Jordan. His body was returned to Israel, and he was posthumously promoted to major general.

[Yehuda Slutsky]