Ben Yeger served in the Nachal Unit of the Israeli Army between 1983 and 1986 during the first Lebanon War. He is now the UK Rep of Combatants for Peace and has been a member in the movement since 2008.
Ben was born in England in 1964 to Jewish Parents, yet was brought up with no awareness of Israel. In 1972 he moved from England to Israel where he grew up in Kibbutz Givat Haim Ichud. In 1973, when the Yom Kippur war broke out, the idea that he had an enemy who wanted to kill him was planted.
In 1983 he volunteered to serve in the Paratroopers and spent most of his time in Lebanon. Towards the end of his service, his unit was tasked with going into a variety of villages to “flush out” any remaining ‘Terrorists.”
On one of these operations, he was tasked with guarding a man who was identified as suspicious. They loaded him into a small van to take him away for questioning. This man, sitting only 1.5 meters away from Ben had his head covered with a sack, his hands and legs cuffed, and there he sat, shivering with fear.
An officer turned to Ben and told him that he should shoot the man if he moved in a way that seemed dangerous. Ben told the officer that if he were to shoot him, he would undoubtedly also kill the driver, who was right behind the man. The officer said, “I don’t care as long as he is dead.”
Looking back Ben realized that this was a pivotal moment, a wakeup call. He had reached a bottom line and this moment was the beginning of a long healing journey.
On his release from the army Ben left Israel, as quickly as he could, and returned to England. In 2007 Ben had a chance meeting with Chen Alon, Co-Founder of Combatants for Peace. This was the beginning of his journey as a peace activist.