Guni

12.01.21

Guni Hernik, the commander of Sayeret Golani, loved hiking. The hikes came to an end when he returned to fight in the Lebanese War in the battle for the Beaufort.


In memory of Guni Harnik



Guni Harnik, the son of Raya and Meir Harnik, was born in Jerusalem in 1956. As a youth, Guni was always busy with something. He looked for frameworks that would allow him to implement the ideas he believed in, to fulfil his need for friendship and to realize his potential to lead: He became a counselor and a group leader in the Modi’in chapter of the Scouts in Jerusalem. At 15, he did the platoon leader course in Gadna; he played basketball; and even played the trumpet in the Jerusalem orchestra. He graduated the Hebrew University High School.

 

Guni
Guni Harnik z"l

 

 

 

In 1974, he joined the army and chose to serve in the Golani Brigade. He passed the exams for the divisional units and was accepted to the Sayeret. After serving in the unit in several functions, in 1980, Guni, at the age of only 24, became commander of the Sayeret, the unit where he began as a private, and received the rank of major. 

It is said of Guni that he taught the Sayeret and shaped its soldiers. His soldiers describe him as being open to suggestions and improvements and he even asked to hear criticism of his methods. The assistant commander of the Golani Brigade during the Lebanese War and Guni’s close friend described Guni as follows: “Guni was one of the youngest, most talented, most dynamic and most promising commanders to have come out of the brigade during that period. Personally, I feel he was and remains one of the best officers I have ever met.”

Avigdor Kahalani, who was the commander of the division and knew Guni from the period of unrest among the Druze on the Golan Heights, recounted that the Sayeret was “a kind of symbol that followed after one man – after Guni. And it would always be asked – What does Guni say? What is Guni doing? What did Guni decide?”

In May 1982, Guni left the army and registered to study agriculture. On the day of his demobilization, Guni heard about the decision to go into Lebanon. Sayeret Golani was assigned to capture the Beaufort and Guni requested to command the operation. He joined the force as the assistant commander of the division and when he heard that the new commander of the Sayeret had been wounded, he took an armored personnel carrier and raced by way of a village of terrorists that had not been cleared in order to join the unit. On the way, the vehicle flipped over and Guni ran on foot by way of the village until he met the soldiers. After reorganizing, he led the Sayeret into battle. For several hours, he fought with the soldiers under his command in the outposts and in the trenches, until the fortification was captured.
 
On the 16th of Sivan (June 6th, 1982), Guni fell in the battle of the Beaufort and was laid to rest in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. He left behind his mother, a brother and two sisters. 

Comments by Sarah Jane Hatucha, the director of the clip “Guni”

Unlike the conventional process in educational institutions, the clip “Guni” was not the product of one person, but a full class of 14 students from the Department of Screen Arts in Bezalel. The work was directed by lecturers in the various cinematic domains, making its way from script to artwork and finally production. The students connected to Guni’s character and participated in group brainstorming throughout the process. 

The clip in memory of Guni is based on the book that his mother, Raya Hernik, wrote about him. We tried to present Guni as generous, as curious, as having initiative and as creative, as he was described by his mother in her book, by means of his hikes – some of them documented, some of them based on the stories in the book and some of them imagined. 

His hikes and way of life are what led Guni to his tragic end in the Beaufort at the beginning of the Peace for Galilee War. The decision to return to the front even though he had already left the army is a powerful moment in the story and therefore it was important to emphasize it in the clip. The students chose to mark the switch in fate by using a completely different style, one that is more abstract and symbolic in order to blur the realism of the rest of the clip at the most difficult moment.     

 

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