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Israeli Medal for Secret Invention

Sidney Hurwich, a 63-year-old inventor and mechanic of Toronto, has been given the Medal of Honor by the State of Israel, though neither he nor Israeli representatives here will divulge the reason.

The self-taught electronics expert, who still does repairs at home, believes that a device that he invented scrambled Ugandan President Idi Amin’s radar and allowed Israeli aircraft to land undetected during the Entebbe Airport rescue mission in July, 1976–which may explain the reason for the medal. A widower, father of two and grandfather of four, he described his device not as an invention but simply as “a different use for one of the oldest basic principles of electronics–and it stops bombs from going off.”

It started out as a device, apparently electromagnetic, to help banks prevent thefts of money bags from their night deposit boxes. In 1969, Hurwich called up two police inspector friends and suggested they bring some bankers’ representatives over to his house.

The battery-powered device was hidden under a bedspread, and when he switched it on, no one could lift any of the bags they had brought for the demonstration or pull the triggers on their unloaded service revolvers. They also discovered that their watches had stopped. The following year, Hurwich presented his device to Israel because he had found it could save lives by stopping the time mechanism on bombs, and for other military purposes. Recently, he confirmed that it was used at Entebbe.

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