Haim Bar-Lev rose from the rank of private to become eighth chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Bar-Lev arrived in Palestine from Yugoslavia in 1939. In 1942 he completed the course at the Mikveh Israel agricultural school, and began his military career. During the struggle against the British Mandate regime, he served with the underground commandos, the Palmah, and was in charge of blowing up the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan river near Jericho.
During the War of Independence (1948-49), though only 25, he served successively as commander of the Eighth Battalion in Negev Brigade, commander of a mechanized battalion, and brigade operations officer.
In 1956, after attending Senior Officers' School in England, Bar-Lev became director of training at General Headquarters. He led an armored brigade in the Sinai Campaign of 1956, and was commanding officer of the Armored Corps from 1957-61. Bar-Lev studied administration and economics at Columbia University in New York, and continued his studies in Paris in 1966. However, he was recalled a year later and appointed deputy chief of staff just before the Six-Day War (1967). On January 1, 1968, he became chief of staff.
After retiring from the army, Bar Lev served as minister of commerce from 1972 to 1977. Recalled to active duty in the Yom Kippur War (1973), he served as special adviser to Chief of Staff David Elazar. In 1992 he became Israel ambassador to Russia.
by C.D.I. Systems 1992 (LTD) and Keter.