Ezra Yakhin
Ezra YakhinMiri Shimonovitz

Ezra Yakhin, 96 years old, a veteran of the Lehi movement who still serves in the IDF rabbinate despite his advanced age, was promoted in rank to Command Sergeant Major in a special ceremony.

Yakhin continues to serve in the reserves. At the ceremony, it was mentioned that he mainly comes to motivate the fighters and to tell them, that despite the trouble caused by the Arabs, that we will win this time too.

Since the outbreak of the war, Yakhin has been visiting bases, and many soldiers have posted selfies with the IDF's oldest reservist on social media. Yakhin is generally affiliated with the IDF Rabbinate and the Education Corps unit of lecturers called "Torchbearers." "These are the entities that can activate me. In this war, the Rabbinate was the first to draft me," said Yakhin.

In the ceremony for the promotion, the audience was told: "He lit a torch on the last Independence Day, leaving a mark on the younger generation of fighters with his combat heritage. In recent years, and especially since the beginning of the war, Ezra Yakhin has visited various units on behalf of the Rabbinate. He is a fascinating lecturer, and today he is promoted to Command Sergeant Major."

Yakhin told the B'Sheva newspaper a few months ago: "I appear before soldiers, clarify the situation for them, encourage them, and tell them how in our time we won with the self-sacrifice and the love of Israel. I tell them: the more you love the people of Israel and the land of Israel, the more we will win. The love of Israel is the power that drives more than any weapon, it operates our weapons in the right way, it will prevail. Rise with the love of Israel and the love of the land of Israel and defeat the enemy and save Israel."

Morning, noon, and evening, Yakhin passes among tens of thousands of soldiers with excitement and fiery speeches and instills in them anew the ancient warrior spirit. "Everywhere I appear before soldiers, and I have been to several bases, everyone listens and receives me with enthusiasm because they know me from my lectures and books. The soldiers carry me on their shoulders. I touch them. I clarify to them to be careful because our enemy is very cunning and cruel, be alert when going to war, and attack them successfully."

Yakhin celebrated Simchat Torah at his son's house in Anatot, but according to him, even before the holiday, he was already closely following every news article, and actually anticipated the war. "In the last month before the war, I hadn't missed any news article because I felt it was going to start. I understood what our government, the politicians, and the media didn't understand."

Shortly after the outbreak of the war, he was officially recruited, but he considers himself to have been enlisted for all of his life. "I was called up on the second day. Since the age of 15, when I joined the Lehi, until today, I have been enlisted for the sake of the people of Israel. Only death releases me from service," said Yakhin, citing a lyric from the Lehi anthem Chayalim Almonim (Unknown Soldiers).