Paul Shulman, a former United States Navy officer who went on to become the first commander of Israel's Navy, died on Monday in Haifa. He was 72.
He died from heart disease, his daughter-in-law, Aliza, said.
Mr. Shulman, a New York native, was the deputy commander of a Navy destroyer in World War II. He left the United States Navy in 1945.
He immediately joined the effort to smuggle refugees and arms from Europe into Palestine, which was administered under a British mandate. In November 1948, six months after the founding of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion asked Mr. Shulman, who was then 26, to set up Israel's Navy. Fighting for control of territory continued until January 1949. In his nine months as commander, he laid the ground for Israeli's modern navy, known for mainly for protecting Israel's borders from incursions by Arab guerrillas.
He commanded two important actions toward the end of the 1948-49 war, a blockade of the Gaza Strip and the capture of Ein Gedi, which secured Israel's hold of the Dead Sea's southwestern coast.
He is survived by his wife and two sons. Further details were unavailable.
- NY Times