Israeli Navy Memorial

´╗┐The Israeli Navy Memorial stands in the city of Ashdod. Originally it was erected to commemorate the victims from the sinking of INS Elat, but later converted into a memorial to all fallen naval personnel.

On the afternoon of Saturday, 21st October 1967, disaster fell on the people of Israel. The naval destroyer Elat was hit by four Egyptian Styx missiles fired from Port Said and sank. The tragedy claimed 47 officers and men of whom 16 were listed as missing.

INS Elat, a "Z" class destroyer, was built in England and commissioned in 1944 as H.M.S. Zealous. In 1956 the destroyer, together with a sister ship, was transferred to the Israel Navy and the two vessels were renamed Elat and Yafo (after the towns of Elat and Jaffa).

INS Elat reached Israel on the eve of the Sinai campaign in the course of which it participated in the interception of the Egyptian destroyer "Ibrahim El Awal" which bombarded Haifa.

For the next 11 years INS Elat knew days of battle, voyages, exercises, maintenance and courtesy visits to foreign ports. The crew and their ship were welded into a single entity and a close bond developed between them.

The tragic end came on the 21st October 1967. As INS Elat was patrolling the cease fire line between Israel and Egypt close to Port Said, it came under attack. It was only four months since the end of the Six-Day War. At 17.32 hours a shiny, brown object was seen winging its way towards the ship from the direction of Port Said. Within a matter of seconds the object was identified as a missile. The missile hit Elat amid ship, causing heavy damage. As the crew was occupied with tending the injured and preparing to abandon ship, three more missiles struck home. The fourth missile exploded in the sea near the men who were swimming around the vessel after they had jumped off the ship. The survivors were picked up by the Israel Air Force. The tragedy claimed 47 officers and men of whom 16 were listed as missing.

Soon after, a committee was formed in charge with the erection of a memorial to the memory of the victims. Required funds for the memorial were soon collected. The architect Carmeli Feldman designed the memorial in the form of a ship with its mast and command bridge. The memorial was officially consecrated on the fourth anniversary of the loss of the ship in the presence of the then Prime Minister, the late Golda Meir.

In 1973 the memorial was converted into a general naval memorial, and it now stands as a memorial to all those members of the Israel Navy who fell on duty.

The stamp was issued in 1979. Designer: Z. Narkiss.