Avigdor "Yanush" Ben-Gal (Hebrew: אביגדור בן-גל; 1936 – February 13, 2016; born Janusz Goldlust) was an Israeli general.
He was born in 1936, in Łódź, Poland, as Janusz Ludwig Goldlust. When he was three years old, World War II broke out with Germany invading Poland. His family left Poland for the Soviet Union, and finally arrived in Soviet Russian Siberia. After his parents disappeared, he eventually arrived in Tel Aviv with his sister on the Tehran transport. They were taken in and raised by a distant cousin.
A few years after Israel became independent and won the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ben-Gal was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). His first combat experience came during the 1956 Suez War with Egypt. Despite having dreamed of being a doctor, he decided to stay in the army after his mandatory military service was finished. In an interview, he explained his reasons:
"I never intended to turn the army into a career, but I remained because I liked it. I loved the Negev, the desert, the fields. I loved speeding in jeeps. Later I got used to the army, and it became a part of me. And maybe also, I was afraid to make a new start in life."
During the Six-Day War in 1967, he was the operations chief of a brigade that broke through Egyptian fortifications in the Sinai. He lost half his right foot when his jeep struck a mine. By 1972, he had been appointed commander of a brigade.
During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Ben-Gal commanded the 7th Armored Brigade and oversaw the defense of the Golan Heights against Syrian attack. Ben-Gal had foreseen the war two weeks before it started, and had begun preparing his brigade. As the threat of war wasn't being taken seriously in Israel at the time, he had been branded a "madman". However, when the war broke out, his brigade was the only IDF unit in a state of full readiness.
In June 1997 he was called to testify in a libel suit that Ariel Sharon brought against the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz for their claim that he had concealed his plans for an operation into Lebanon in 1982.
His testimony, however, contradicted earlier statements he had made at Tel Aviv University, where he had stated that the greatest problem with the Lebanon War was the "secret, unapproved plan of the defense minister and chief of staff."
The following month, Ha'aretz requested that the Attorney General investigate the possibility that Ben-Gal had given false testimony in court in exchange for business favours from Sharon. The complaint noted that shortly before his appearance at the trial, Ben-Gal was sent by Sharon to explore the possibility of a large natural gas deal in Russia.
From 1996 to 1999, he was chairman of the board of directors for Israel Aerospace Industries, succeeding Zvi Zur and succeeded by Ori Orr. He also served on the board for the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
During a 2007 military conference in Latrun, Ben-Gal sharply criticized what he viewed as a deterioration in the battle readiness of the IDF, and claimed that the IDF's technological revolution has turned soldiers into "bionic machines" and sown fear among senior officers that open criticism would hamper advancement in their own careers. He expressed the view that all the new technologies being introduced were useless, and claimed that it had gotten to the point where commanders prefer to email each other instead of interacting.
- Avrech, Mira. "At 3, He Walked Across Russia; Still Tough, General Ben-Gal Commands the Drive into Lebanon". People.com. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Abraham Rabinovich (18 December 2007). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. Books.google.com. p. 96. ISBN 9780307429650. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Simon Dunstan (20 August 2003). The Yom Kippur War 1973 (1): The Golan Heights. Books.google.com. p. 53. ISBN 9781841762203. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Reuven Gal (1986). A Portrait of the Israeli Soldier. Books.google.com. p. 179. ISBN 9780313243158. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- "7th Brigade Commanders". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "Israel: Lawsuit claims corruption in Congo diamonds for arms deal". Minesandcommunities.org. 2004-02-18. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Ze'ev Schiff; Ehud Ya'ari (3 June 1985). Israel's Lebanon War. Books.google.com. p. 171. ISBN 9780671602161. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Morris, Benny (25 May 2011). Righteous Victims. Books.google.com. ISBN 9780307788054. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- "Ariel Sharon denies accusation of influencing witness". Jweekly.com. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Weitz, Gidi. "Out of Africa". Archived from the original on July 27, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "IAI Protest Turns Violent". The Jerusalem Post. June 25, 1997. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "People: IAI". Flight International 8–14 May 1996. 1996-05-14. p. 48. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
Maj Gen Avigdor Yanouch BenGal has been appointed chairman of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), succeeding Zvi Zur.
- "General (Res.) Ori Orr is Appointed Chairman of the Board of Israel Aircraft Industries". Israel Aircraft Industries. 28 October 1999.
- "IDF chief told me army is full of politicians". Ynet.com. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
- Bergman, Ronen (January 10, 2019). "Exclusive: How Mexican drug baron El Chapo was brought down by technology made in Israel". Ynetnews. Ynet. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- "אלוף במיל' אביגדור (יאנוש) בן-גל הלך לעולמו". Calcalist.co.il. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2016-02-17.