Zvi Steklov was born in 1927 in Tel Aviv. As a member of Kibbutz Revadim in Gush Etzion, he joined the Palmach's Sixth Battalion (Eighth Platoon) in 1948 and commanded the Khirbet Zakariya outpost. As a career IDF officer, he was commander of Gush Yoav in 1953-1957, and later, in 1967-1974, served as a Nahal battalion commander and Deputy Commander of the Nahal. Together with his wife Rahel, also a Palmach member, he lives in the rebuilt Kibbutz Revadim near Gedera.
In the interview, Zvingi describes how his youth movement (Hashomer Hatzair) settled in Gush Etzion in February 1947, and the good relations between the settlers and the nearby Palestinian hamlet of Khirbet Zakariya. Fearing revenge, the villagers abandoned their homes following the death of ten Jewish fighters a convoy in December that year, and the abandoned hamlet became a key outpost in the defense of the beleaguered Jewish settlements. In March 1948, Palmach Commander Yigal Allon visited Gush Etzion and emphasized its importance as a "stepping stone to the Negev". After the war, as commander of the strategic Gush Yoav (the area between the southern West Bank and Gaza Strip), Zvingi took Prime Minister Ben Gurion and Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan on a tour. During the tour, he was ordered by Dayan to loot a crescent off the top of a mosque in the destroyed village of Al-Duwayma (the scene of a wartime massacre in October 1948). To obey this order, Zvingi was forced to blow up the mosque.
Filmed in Kibbutz Revadim on January 27, 2013
Interviewed by Ami Asher
filmed and edited by Raneen Jeries and Debby Farber
Language: Hebrew with Hebrew and English subtitles