Officer who lost an eye in storied 2006 war battle to lead Golani Brigade

Col. Barak Hiram, who received commendation for bravery for role in Second Lebanon War, to head infantry unit; military also names new air base commanders, other senior positions

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, center-right, meets with senior officers from the Northern Command amid concerns of potential Iranian missile strike against northern Israel on May 9, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Col. Barak Hiram, center-left, speaks to former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, center-right, in the Northern Command on May 9, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

An IDF officer who earned official commendation for a Second Lebanon War battle in which he lost an eye was named the next commander of the storied Golani Infantry Brigade on Monday, the army said.

Col. Barak Hiram, who currently commands the Israel Defense Forces’ Tzeelim training base, will take command of the Golani Brigade in the coming months, according to the military.

Hiram’s appointment was announced Monday along with 17 other high-ranking positions in the IDF. All of the nominations — requiring a rank of colonel — were approved by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister.

New commanders were also named for a number of senior positions in the Israeli Air Force, for its the Hatzor, Ramon and Uvda air bases, for its aerial attack division, department of air defense and intelligence collections, intelligence operation department, and for its planning and organization department.

During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hiram, then a major, served as a platoon commander in the elite Egoz unit. During a battle in the southern Lebanese town of Haddatha, Hiram sustained a head wound, which he bandaged himself. He continued fighting, refusing to be taken away, until the end of the battle when another officer was able to take his place. He ultimately lost his eye from the injury.

A year after the end of the war, he was awarded an official citation of bravery.

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