IsraelDefense’s Best of the Year: Col. Roi Levi

Brig. Gen. (res.) Ephraim Lapid regards Col. Roi Levi, Commander of the IDF Bar'am Formation, as the person who exemplifies the expression "bearing the burden of national security on their shoulders." Col. Levi is Lapid's choice for Man of the Year

Col. Roi Levi (Photo: IDF)

Col. Roi Levi, 38, Commander of the IDF Bar'am Formation – the historic 300th Brigade – operating along the Lebanon border, exemplifies, in my view, the realization of the expression "bearing the burden of national security on their shoulders." He studied at the Yeshiva High School in Beit-El, joined the IDF Golani Brigade in 1999 and kicked off the third millennium in the IDF as a member of a third generation of commanders, born in Israel, for whom the Yom-Kippur War of 1973 is historic heritage – just like the War of Independence or the battles of Judah Maccabee.

Roi served in all of the command positions from squad leader to commander of the Egoz Unit within the Oz Commando Brigade. He was injured during Operation Cast Lead and once again, severely, during Operation Protective Edge, while the other commanders of the battalion were killed right alongside. His troopers continued fighting with determination, as that was the spirit their commanders had instilled into their minds.

This year, Col. Levi lit the IDF torch on the 70th Independence Day of Israel, along with Maj. Gen. (ret.) Shaike Gavish, Chairman of the Palmach Generation Association. Roi senses the inspiration the Palmach generation bestows on the present generation during a briefing for an operation near Kibbutz Malkiyah. The soil is the same, and the arrows marking the attack efforts on the map are similar to the combat moves of the men Shaike Gavish had commanded in this area back in 1948, but the spirit, primarily, is the same. Today, too, the mission is mainly up to the commanders, as they must set a personal example to their subordinates. The Esprit de Corps passes from one generation to the next, as Roi says, "Every soldier in today's battalion is familiar with the name of Yudke Peled, a Golani trooper who fought on Mount Hermon, which instills in the troopers the motivation to safeguard this thing we call the State of Israel."