P. 79

   Yohanan Ratner – A photo from the Sixties
In 1954, tragedy struck the Ratner Family. The eldest son David was killed in an accident during his service in the Air Force. In his memoirs, Yohanan Ratner wrote: I have often faced death in a tangible fashion. I reflected upon my return to Israel: The meeting at the airport, the trip to Haifa, the Carmel, and finally the green bushes, the rows of silent headstone at the military cemetery. Thus, my thoughts returned to David's death.
Yohanan Ratner passed away in early 1965 when he was 74. At his request, he was buried in the military cemetery in Haifa, next to his son David. The IDF gave him a military funeral and thousands accompanied him on his final journey. All those who eulogized him noted his tremendous contribution to the security of the Yishuv and the state – from the days of the "Haganah" to the IDF. They also noted his tremendous contribution to Israeli architecture – both as a teacher who educated
generations of architects in the Technion for 35 years and as a planner of buildings and compounds throughout Israel – in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, agricultural settlements and institutions of education and teaching.
The Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin said upon his grave:
I bid you farewell on behalf of the army you fought to establish. Your positions were numerous and important and I am unequal to the task of appreciating them. You were unique, with your multifaceted image, which was combined perfectly. As a man of the science of warfare who curates destructive power, and as a man of construction, planning and building, the man of careful planning and an artist of improvisation. I was privileged to see you come and go from my father's house, you already a commander in the "Haganah" and me a child. I was privileged to be trained by you in the Palmach and I a junior commander under your command.
Rabin noted Major General Ratner's unique qualities as an instructor and a planner of the Israel Army and defined him as one of our few standing military people from before the establishment of the state. "the IDF shall remember you as one of the architects and builders of the Hebrew force from its inception", the Chief of Staff concluded, and saluted in farewell to the first Head of the National Headquarters of the "Haganah".
As a military man, Yohanan Ratner would frequently plan battles and acts of destruction, and simultaneously planning and building the entire time. He left his mark on the country's map in dozens of buildings and complexes. Had he been asked which his favorite building was, he would have probably answered, without hesitation: The National Institutions Building in Jerusalem.

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