December 19, 2006 / 28 Kislev 5767
Jewish Agency Chairman: "He symbolized more than anyone else the great enterprise of aliyah, through which over one million immigrants emigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union"
Karol Ungar, Director of Jewish Agency Activities in the FSU, died today suddenly at Kaplan hospital in Rehovot. He was 60 years old.
Karol was born in 1946 in Transylvania (along the Hungarian-Romanian border) to a traditional, Jewish family and emigrated to Israel in 1964.
Upon his arrival in Israel, he enlisted in the IDF and began a glorious military career in which he spent 25 years in the engineering corps. During that time, he served as an officer for new recruits, regimental commander for reserve units, and deputy engineering officer for the Central Command. He fought in several of Israel's wars, and even after suffering an injury during his service, he continued serving in combat units. He was released from the military at the level of colonel, after 25 years of service.
From 1989 until his death, he worked tirelessly to bring hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union to the State of Israel:
In 1989-1991 he served as director of the way-station in Budapest, Hungary, through which hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated to Israel.
In 1991, he continued his work for the Jewish Agency filling a wide array of key positions both at the headquarters and on the front lines – and everywhere in between: head of the Jewish Agency delegation in the former Soviet Union, director of the Eastern Aliyah Division in the Aliyah Department, and head of the Agency's delegation in Russia, Belarus and the Baltic states. Since 2005, he served as Director of Jewish Agency Activities in the FSU.
During his period of service, Karol Ungar participated in all the projects undertaken to save Soviet Jews, displaying unlimited devotion to the cause, often even risking his life in various war zones, including Tajikistan, Sarajevo, and the rescue of Jews from the war-torn area of Sochomy, Georgia, during the civil war of 1992.
Karol was a graduate of Bar-Ilan University's School of Industrial Engineering and Management, and of the command and staff.
Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski said that "the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency and Jewish communities across the world today bid farewell to a great and special man, who symbolizes more than anyone else the Zionist enterprise and the great venture of aliyah, through which over one million immigrants emigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union since the opening of its gates. The Jewish Agency family mourns his death and extends its condolences to his wife, Iris, his daughter, Sharon, his son, Eyal, and his granddaughter Alex Miriam."
"We will always remember Karol," Bielski added, "as a dear friend, a man with a huge heart, full of vitality and joy of life, who stood at the front lines of the Zionist and nationalist enterprise and was a true to friend to all those who were privileged to know him."
He is survived by his wife, two children, a granddaughter and untold numbers of friends. Funeral services will be held tomorrow, in the cemetery at the entrance to Ashdod, at 2:00 PM.
For further details:
Jewish Agency spokesperson for the Israeli media