Israel honours 1971 war hero Jacob

Jerusalem : Israel on Tuesday honoured Lt Gen (retd) Jack Farj Rafael (JFR) Jacob, who negotiated the historic surrender of Pakistani troops in Dhaka after the 1971 Bangladesh’s liberation war, with a plaque on the Wall of Honour at the Ammunition Hill here.

Lt Gen Jacob, who died in 2016 at the age of 92, was one of the most prominent members of India’s relatively small Jewish community, serving as a Lieutenant General in the Indian Army and later as a Governor of two Indian states - Goa and Punjab.

The Wall of Honour at the Ammunition Hill pays tributes to the heroism and courage of Jewish soldiers who fought in the defence of their countries they lived in “implementing values of bravery, loyalty, commitment and dedication to a mission, leadership, creativity, camaraderie and sanctity of life.” “The Wall has plaques honouring more than 340 people comprising privates, high ranking army officers, women, front line fighters and humble members of supporting units who embodied these virtues,” a senior official at the Ammunition Hill said.

Ammunition Hill was a fortified Jordanian military post in the northern part of Jordanian ruled East Jerusalem. It was the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Six Day War in which 21 Israeli soldiers were killed. It is now a national memorial site where young soldiers and officers are inducted into the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and salute the flag.

The 90-feet high structure with a flag was incidentally donated by an Indian Jew, Sam Marshall, who also initiated the move to honour Lt Gen Jacob at the Ammunition Hill Wall of Honour, in association with India-born Jewish Judge, Abe Sofaer of the US, who was the personal legal adviser to former US Secretary of State George Shultz.

“It is a wonderful tribute that you are giving to a very fine human being. His beloved India gave him the accolades reserved for people serving the nation with distinction,” Lt Gen Jacob’s close friend, Marshall, told the gathering at a ceremony to unveil the plaque reminiscing the funeral ceremony government of India arranged for its famous son where then President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also present.