The diary of an IDF soldier, who was killed in 1970 at age 19, was uncovered near a naval base in Haifa last week by two female cadets — and with the help of Facebook, returned to the owner’s living descendants.
The two soldiers had caught a ride from their base when Yuval Klein, 20, detected a blue notebook poking out of a compartment near the rear door of the vehicle, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Flipping through it, Klein discovered entries dating back to 1962 and photographs from 1969-1970. Turning to the driver, Klein inquired about the journal, and was informed that the car belonged to the army, and the driver had no information about its source.
Seeking to return the journal to its rightful owner, Klein took the notebook and posted the pictures on her Facebook page in hopes that someone would recognize the soldier. After little success, she turned to the Yedioth Ahronoth daily and asked to appeal to its readers, via its Facebook page, about the man in the photographs.
Within hours, users identified the owner as the late Binyamin Rash, who died on March 3, 1970 after stepping on a land mine. One of the commentators posting on the Facebook page was Rash’s nephew, Binyamin Digmal, 40, named for his late uncle. Digmal contacted Klein, and the two met — along with his two sisters Gal and Efrat Katzir.
“At first I thought this was a hoax, or that someone is trying to extort me, because it sounded crazy,” he told the paper. “But afterward, when I spoke to the newspaper and to Yuval, I realized it was serious.”
Over the phone, Klein read Digmal the first-page dedication written by his mother to his then-10-year-old uncle in 1962.
“If you don’t protect yourself, no one will protect you. Remember that, because life is precious,” Rash’s elder sister wrote.
The family is seeking details about how the journal ended up in the car, and has issued a public appeal asking those with more information to come forward.