Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
 
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Rabbi Uriel Malka (center) returning from combat fighting in the Second Lebanon War in 2006


Rabbi Uriel Malka (centre) returning from combat fighting in the Second Lebanon War in 2006


Malka resting during the Second Lebanon War in his tent.


Malka and his unit return home to Israel(Lebanese flag on th eborder in the background)

 
RABBI, FORMER PRINCIPAL OF WINNIPEG DAY SCHOOL WHO SURVIVED HIZBULLAH FIRE AMONG DEAD ON BUS: THIS ARTICLE MADE IT TO THE JERUSALEM POST

Rabbi Uriel Malka, age 32, a former principal at the Ohr HaTorah Day School in Winnipeg died tragically in the worst forest fire in Israeli history

by Rhonda Spivak, December 6,2010

[Editor's note: This article appeared on Monday December 6 in the Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=198174 .When this was published, it was not known in Israel that a Rabbi was on the Prisons Service Bus.The interview that I had done with  Rabbi Malka  in 2008, after he had miraculously survived fighting Hizbollah fire in the 2006 Second War in Lebanon, has given Israelis and the Jewish world the opportunity to learn about his experience serving his  country valiantly in 2006. The Winnipeg Jewish Review extends our deepest sympathies to Rabbi Malka's wife Ortal, their five children extended family, and friends. The shiva is at the  home of Rabbi Malka's parents in Yavne, Israel. The dramatic  photos in this story were provided to me by Rabbi Malka  in 2008.

Our article has been translated into  Hebrew and has appeared in :
http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/0024-D-54448-00.html 
and http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/212474.

 It has also appeared in English in   http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Facing_Death_Twice.html  and a version of it has appeared in The Canadian Jewish News  at  http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20454&Itemid=86 ]

    

Uriel Malka, former Winnipeg school principal and Denver emissary, 32, was working as a chaplain in the Prisons Service.

Rabbi Uriel Malka, 32, who fought in the IDF against Hizbullah in hand-to-hand combat in the Second Lebanon War, was among those killed on the Prisons Service bus that was engulfed by flames in the Carmel forest fire on Thursday.

Malka, from Karnei Shomron, who was training to be a chaplain in the prison system, was with Prisons Service cadets en route to Damun Prison to evacuate prisoners from the paths of the flames.

He was laid to rest Sunday night at the military cemetery in Yavne.

A former principal at the Ohr Hatorah Day School in Winnipeg, Canada, Malka recalled in an extensive interview in October 2008 that he narrowly escaped death fighting Hizbullah two years earlier.

“It is a miracle that I am alive, as there were times in the war when I was shot at directly by Hizbullah terrorist fighters,” he said. “I met them face to face. I could see their eyes.”

Twelve of Malka’s colleagues from his paratroop unit were killed in a Katyusha rocket attack on Kfar Giladi, as they were standing outside, in a parking lot, en route to deployment in the Lebanon War on August 6, 2006.

“I was not in Kfar Giladi with them because I was already in Lebanon,” he recalled in the interview.

 

“We did not find out that those in our unit had died right away. Our commander had us take out the batteries to our equipment so we

In home of Hezbollah terrorist


Parachute unit returning to Israel


Malka (soldier in the middle) crouched in broad daylight outside of Hezbollah home
 
 
could not hear the names of those who died so we wouldn’t realize they were from our unit. Four days later our commander called us together in the [deserted] home of a Hizbullah terrorist and told us what had happened. He told us we had to be strong.

 It was very difficult.”

 Malka, who is survived by his wife, Ortal, and five children, recalled in the 2008 interview that on his very first day in the Second Lebanon War he got a taste of how difficult things were going to be.

While fighting in the village of Rabat Talatin, he said, “Hizbullah terrorists were shooting at us in one direction, and as we pursued them from that direction, another group of Hizbullah came from the other direction.

There were 60 of us from my unit in a Hizbullah home. Hizbullah had the opportunity to shoot three missiles at us in the house.

Had they hit the house, all of us would have died. The first two missiles just missed the house. The third one hit the roof. We were all lucky to get out alive.”

At the time Malka got called up to fight with his unit, he was scheduled to go on shlichut (emissary service) with his family to teach in Denver.

“My ticket was booked and our suitcases were already packed. The Jewish Agency later told me that if I had explained the situation to the army, I would not have had to serve in the war. But I knew I couldn’t go to Denver and leave my friends. We are like brothers in my unit. I couldn’t have left them to fight alone. So I canceled my ticket and we got to Denver later than planned. I left for Denver two days after the war ended.”

Malka reflected on his experience in the 2006 war, saying “We had lots of problems with not getting enough supplies sent to us.

We would take over a Hizbullah home and we wouldn’t have enough to eat. So we were eating rice and potatoes and items from the homes of Hizbullah....

“We underestimated how well Hizbullah was prepared for us,” he said. “They had better electronic and communications equipment than we realized, they knew the terrain and they had built extensive escape routes, which made it hard to find them.”

He added: “In Lebanon, my unit fought at night, because we had special equipment that gave us good night vision, which gave us an advantage over Hizbullah. But then it turned out we did not have enough of this special equipment, and this advantage was eliminated. We then fought also in the day. A lot of things went wrong. I don’t like to talk about it.”

Malka’s wife, Ortal, who was also interviewed in 2008, remembered that when her husband was called up to Lebanon, she was very worried. “I was four months pregnant, and it was a very stressful time.”

Ortal taught at the preschool at Ohr Hatorah Day School in Winnipeg in the fall of 2008, before the couple returned t
 
<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Joyce Rykiss
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • GTP
  • Jim Muir
  • Bruce Shefrin
  • Fair Service
  • Eddie's Gravel Supply Ltd.
  • Sveinson Construction
  • The Home Store
  • John Bucklaschuk
  • Tyler Bucklaschuk
  • John Wishnowski
  • Stringer Rentals & Power Products
  • JLS Construction
  • Roseman
  • Dakota Chiropractic Office
  • Holiday Inn
  • Maric Homes
  • Artista Homes
  • Southwynn Homes
  • Tradesman Mechanical
  • Imperial Soap
  • Winnipeg Drapery
  • Ingrid Bennett
  • Chochy's
  • Interlake Service
  • Hugh's Electric
  • Lakeside Roofing
  • KC Enterprises
  • Bulrushes Gallery
  • Gulay Plumbing
  • Trevor Arnason Plumbing
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Dr. Gary Levine
  • Fetching Style
  • Winnipeg Prophecy Conference
  • Thorvaldson Care
  • Country Boy Restaurant
  • Total Lighting Sales
  • Shenanigan's On The Beach
  • Nikos
  • Sean Fisher
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Whytewold Emporium
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.