Chief of Staff: Navy essential to Israel’s defense

The Chief of Staff at the memorial ceremony. Photo: Yuval Haker, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

Lt. Gen. Gantz at memorial ceremony for Dakar submarine: Navy “continues to be a long strategic arm – sophisticated, very quiet and extremely important in our struggle”

Date: 16/01/2013, 4:29 PM     Author: Yair Barzilai and IDF (Zahal) Website

A memorial ceremony was held today (Wednesday, January 16) for the 69 soldiers lost when the Israeli Navy’s Dakar submarine disappeared 45 years ago this month. The ceremony was held at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl. In attendance were Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg, officers and soldiers of the Navy, and the families of the fallen soldiers.

“Today, as around our nation the sea is stormy and the threats to our security are increasing from near and far, the Navy – including the Submarine Fleet – continues to be a long strategic arm – sophisticated, very quiet, and extremely important in our struggle,” said the Chief of Staff. “As long as the winds of dedication and commitment to the security of the nation and the state blow throughout Israel, they will continue to fill the sails of the ship of Israel with life.”

The Commander in Chief of the Navy also emphasized the Submarine Fleet’s importance in Israel’s defense, saying, “An impressive legacy continues to be written within the Submarine Fleet – the legacy that you have left behind, the legacy whose unique and clandestine contribution is an impressive, mostly classified chapter in the war for our existence as an independent and sovereign state.”

On January 9, 1968, the Dakar left England, bound for Haifa. Roughly five days before it was due to arrive in Israel, the submarine disappeared. All 69 soldiers aboard were declared missing.

The Dakar was located in 1999, near the coast of Cyprus. Its bridge was brought to Israel, and today it is located in the Navy’s museum in Haifa.