sergeant nachshon wachsman-kidnapped

Event Details :

Ivri Date: 4 Cheshvan, 5755

English Date: 9 October, 1994

Additional Details:

Sergeant Nachshon Mordechai Wachsman (Hebrew: נחשון מרדכי וקסמן‎, born 3 April 1975, died 14 October 1994) was an IDF soldier who was kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas for a period of 6 days. He was executed during an attempted rescue operation.

A dual citizen of Israel and the United States, Wachsman was raised in Jerusalem. He is the third of seven sons born to an Israeli father and a mother who was born in a German displaced persons camp and immigrated to Israel from Brooklyn.[1] Wachsman volunteered for an elite commando unit of the Golani Brigade, serving in the Orev Golani.

At home on a leave, the military instructed Wachsman to attend a one-day training course in northern Israel. He left Saturday night after the Sabbath and told his parents he would return Sunday night, October 9. He was last seen by a friend who reported that, after completing the training, Wachsman had been dropped off at the Bnai Atarot junction, a highly populated area in central Israel, where he could either catch a bus or hitchhike, a common practice by Israeli soldiers, to Jerusalem.

Israeli intelligence learned that Wachsman entered a car with Hamas Activists wearing kippot, a Bible and siddur on the dashboard, and Chassidic music playing.[1]

Mohammed Deif was self-reportedly the commander of the operation to abduct Wachsman.

On Tuesday 11 October a videotape was broadcast showing Wachsman, with hands and feet bound, before a keffiyeh-covered militant, displaying the soldier's identity card. After the militant recited the hostage's home address and identity number, Wachsman spoke with the armed militant behind him: "The group from Hamas kidnapped me. They are demanding the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and another 200 from Israeli prison. If their demands are not met, they will execute me on Friday at 8 P.M."

Nachshon's parents personally appealed to world leaders including then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, American President Bill Clinton, and Muslim religious leaders who urged Hamas to release the soldier.

On Thursday night, with 24 hours until the ultimatum, prayer vigils were held throughout the world. Over 100,000 people representing all religious, political, and social segments of the Israeli population gathered at the Western Wall. Responding to a request by Esther Wachsman, Nachshon’s mother, women around the world lit an extra Sabbath candle for her son

In the meantime, the Israeli military had captured the driver of the car which picked up Wachsman.[1] They learned from the informant that Wachsman was being held in a village called Bir Nabbalah, a location under Israeli control and only ten minutes away from his home in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem. Prime Minister Rabin authorized a military rescue attempt.

On Friday 14 October Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yassar Arafat announced that they had won the Nobel Peace Prize. When asked his opinion on the "peace" that he had achieved in Oslo in light of Hamas' impending deadline, Peres responded that the peace processes involves "calculated risks."

At 8:00 PM that night, at the hour of the ultimatum, the Wachsman family was informed that Nachshon had been killed during a failed military rescue attempt. An Israeli soldier and the three Palestinians who had been holding Wachsman hostage were also killed in the crossfire.

Wachsman was buried on Saturday night 15 October 1994 in the Mount Herzl military cemetery

Wachsman's Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Mordechai Elon, gave the eulogy. At the request of the bereaved father, the rabbi told the crowd of mourners that God did listen to their prayers and that just as a father would always like to say "yes" to all of his children's requests, sometimes he must say "no" though the child might not understand why. "So too our Father in Heaven heard our prayers, and though we don't understand why, His answer was 'no.

Today "Beit Nachshon" at the Shalva Center in Jerusalem, an association for mentally and physically challenged children, is dedicated to Wachsman's memory.

Relevant Links:
1. izkor
2. hadracha
sergeant nachshon wachsman-kidnapped