‘Punchbag’ Ory became known as the ‘door knocker’

LAWYER Ory Slonim would have met with the Devil himself if it had helped to bring home an Israeli prisoner of war.

The 79-year-old exudes candour and is passionate about his country. It was doubtless one of the reasons why, in 1988, he was tasked by Israel’s Defence Ministry to help in the recovery of captives and those termed MIA (Missing in Action).

“During the time when I was just starting to get involved in these matters, the IDF was handling all MIAs, including people who were still missing from as far back as Israel’s War of Independence in 1948,” Ory told me from his home in Moshav Haniel, near Netanya.

“Initially, I was sent to deal with the ‘fresh’ cases.”

They included Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvika Feldman, who had been missing since the battle between Israeli and Syrian armour units in Sultan Yacoub, in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, on June 11, 1982.

There was also the the Druze soldier Samir As’ad, who disappeared in 1983; and Manchester-born Yossi Fink and Rahamim Alsheikh, who were captured during an ambush in Lebanon in 1986.

Years later, he was also part of the negotiating team which secured soldier Gilad Shalit’s release in 2011.

And Ory’s fascinating life is told in his book, A Knock At The Door (Simon and Schuster).

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