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Haim Laskov Dead at 63

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Gen. (res.) Haim Laskov, a former Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff, died of cancer here today. He was 63 years old. Laskov began his military career in the Haganah at the age of 16 when he served as runner and messenger for the Haganah Chief of Staff and the IDF’s first Chief of Staff, Yaacov Dori.

Laskov volunteered for service with the Palestine unit of the British army during World War II, rising to the rank of major in the Jewish Brigade in Italy. With the establishment of the IDF in 1948 Laskov formed and commanded its first tank brigade, placing the army’s subsequent emphasis on armor.

Despite the fact that he was not a pilot, the second IDF Chief of Staff Yigoel Yadin appointed Laskov to head the fledgling air force. His other commands included the southern command, before his appointment as the fifth IDF Chief of Staff. He was later appointed the army ombudsman, and served as a member of the Agranat Committee investigating the errors of the Yom Kippur War.

As one who had spent his entire life in the army, Laskov expressed regrets that the Agranat Committee had concentrated entirely on the military leadership in the 1973 war while downgrading the responsibility of the political leadership. Yadin referred to him in a brief radio obituary today as “possibly the most professional soldier the IDF has ever had.”

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