The Eighth Armored Brigade, known as the 'Old Man's Brigade,' was the first armored division in the IDF and participated in all of Israel's wars, from the War of Independence in 1948 through Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
After the War of Independence, the Eighth Armored Brigade became a reserve brigade, and today, 70 years after the establishment of the brigade, reservists from the brigade gathered to remember all the soldiers of the brigade who fell in combat over the last 70 years on Yom Hazikaron.
This year, the traditional memorial ceremony took on a unique significance, when for the first time Yoram Sadeh, the son of the legendary founder and first commander of the brigade, Yitzhak Sadeh, came to pay his respects to the fallen soldiers.
Yoram, 74, was invited to light a memorial torch at the ceremony of the "Old Man" Brigade, in order to honor his father's legacy.
Among the members of the brigade who attended the ceremony were veterans of the War of Independence. One of the soldiers was Naftali Arbel, 88, of the city of Modi'in. Arbel served the country during the period of underground movements in 1947. With the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, Arbel joined the 89th Battalion shortly after its establishment. The battalion currently serves as part of the Eighth Armored Brigade.
Arbel was appointed company commander of the 89th Battalion during the War of Independence. One of the company's missions under Arbel was to open the roads that had been besieged in the Negev. This operation was called Operation Yoav. At the end of the operation and after his success, Yitzhak Sadeh, then commander of the brigade, took his son Yoram on a tour of the same former British outposts which had been captured by Naftali Arbel's company.
Today, 70 years after Operation Yoav and the moving memory of the brigade, Naftali Arbel and Yoram Sadeh met. Arbel, the company commander who, with his company, bravely captured the Egyptian outposts in the Negev, met once again with the young son of Brigade Commander, now a grown man.