Gur, Mordechai (Motta)

   Gur was born in Jerusalem, and at the age of 17, he joined the youth battalion of the Hagana during the mandate period and later served in the Palmah. After the War of Independence, he attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and studied politics and Middle Eastern studies while still in the military. He became a paratrooper and helped to develop the Israeli style of commando raids on Arab targets across the lines before the Sinai War (1956). He commanded the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) elite Golani Brigade from 1961 to 1963. During the Six-Day War (1967), Gur commanded the paratroop brigade that captured East Jerusalem and the walled city. He reported, "The Temple Mount is in our hands." In August 1967, he became commander of the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai Peninsula.
   Gur was a graduate of Ecole de Guerre in Paris. He served as military attache in Washington from August 1972 until December 1973. He served as chief of staff of the IDF from 1974 to 1978, taking over after David Elazar resigned from that post. As chief of staff, Gur oversaw the planning of Operation Entebbe, the 4 July 1976 rescue of hostages from the Entebbe airport in Uganda. After leaving the IDF in 1978, he became director general of a division of Koor Industries. In 1981, he ran for the Knesset on the Labor Party list and won a seat. He served as minister of health in the Government of National Unity established in 1984 and became minister without portfolio in the government established in December 1988. Gur served as deputy minister of defense under Yitzhak Rabin and as Rabin's chief liaison to Jewish settlers from 1992 until his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Despondent over his illness with cancer, Gur committed suicide on 16 July 1995. Gur was also well known in Israel for his children's books about a paratrooper unit and their fighting mascot, a dog named Azit.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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