Ben Gurion's bodyguard passes away on founding father's death anniversary

Having fought in some of Israel's most consequential battles since he was 16, Aaron (Ara’le) Eldan founded Shin Bet's VIP protection unit and served as personal bodyguard of the nation's first prime minister

Eitan Glickman|
Aaron (Ara'le) Eldan was one of the founders of the Shin Bet's Unit 730 - the national VIP personnel security unit, and David Ben Gurion's personal bodyguard, but his story goes back a lot further than that.
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  • Born in 1930, he was recruited to service at 16, two years before Israel's establishment. He served in the Palmach — the elite fighting force of the Haganah, one of several Jewish paramilitary groups that served as a precursor to the IDF — and later in the IDF's infantry Yiftach Brigade, fighting in Israel's most consequential battles in its early years.
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    Eldan walking with David Ben Gurion
    Eldan walking with David Ben Gurion
    Eldan (right) walking with David Ben Gurion
    (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
    His son Yoav tells of his father's story: "Dad served in Europe as part of a national operational activity. We never knew exactly what that meant, just that it was in defense of Israel. When he came back, he decided Ben Gurion needed a bodyguard, so he became one."
    After filling a host of security roles between 1960 and 1975, Eldan took part in the establishment of airports in the Negev region after Israeli withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula as part of the peach accords with Egypt and also worked in securing the operations of Israeli flag carrier El Al in North Africa. After his return to Israel, Eldan remained in the field.
    "Dad was a man of enterprise. He dedicated his best years to Israel's defense," Eldan's son Yoav says.
    2 View gallery
    Aaron Eldan
    Aaron Eldan
    Aaron Eldan
    (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
    Eldan was brought to his final resting place Thursday in the new cemetery in Herzliya, where he was eulogized by his children and grandchildren. "Dear father, a humble, unassuming man," his son said at the funeral. "A man of values, enterprise and contribution, or as he used to say: Noting is difficult - you just do it."
    He is survived by his 88-year-old wife Ruth, his two children Yoav and Michal, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
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