Former Israeli Elite Unit Founder Dies in a Helicopter Crash



By: OMER SHACHNAI  
Published: November 23rd 2010
in News » Israel

Israeli Air Force CH-53D Yasur

Tragedy in Cameroon: Avi Sivan, a retired Israel Defense Force Colonel and one of the founders of the elite Israeli Duvdevan unit was killed in a helicopter crash in the western African republic of Cameroon on Monday. Colonel Sivan, had consulted the Cameroonian President Paul Biya and his military in matters of security.

 

Sivan, 53 years old, an officer often described as brilliant and courageous, left an impressive legacy behind- the elite special forces unit of Duvdevan. The unit which is one of the most prestigious units of the IDF, specializes in undercover operations and urban warfare. As aforementioned, Colonel Sivan has been one of the unit's founders and its third and mythological commander. Later on, Sivan became the head of the Defense Ministry's delegation to Cameroon.

 

After retiring from public service, Sivan turned to the private sector as a security advisor. Amongst other duties, he was in charge of developing and training a presidential guard brigade. Moreover, Sivan and his wife decided to stay in Cameroon. Being enchanted of its wilderness they felt it was imperative to do something for the environment and founded a shelter for orphan gorillas.

 

In Monday morning, Sivan took off in a helicopter from Douala, Cameroon's largest city, accompanied by three locals: the two pilots and Sivan's assistant. Only 10 minutes after lift off the chopper crashed. Due to the rough terrain, it took the rescue party a considerable time to find the debris. Israel made an official appeal to the Cameroonian government to retrieve Sivan's body for burial in Israel.

 

To sum it up, I will use the words of Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon IDF's former Chief of Staff and the Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs who said yesterday: "Avi was a very brave officer. He is one of the officers who stopped the first Intifada. He was known for his courageousness and creativity."



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