|Name:||Elazar "Gad" Pedhazur|
|Actually his given name is Elazar. The name Gad was his adopted underground name in order to evade capture by the British. My association with "Gad" Pedhazur begins in 1955, though its roots go back much further. As the first Betar Shaliach he arrived to Melbourne in July 1955 without his wife, Geula and three year old daughter, Liora.
He is a naive of Tzfat, which happens also to be my mother’s birth place. So, on his arrival, he was invited to stay with us until his family arrived six weeks later. In those days travel to Australia was still by ship. What Gad didn't know was that his father, Moshe, had been the principal at my mother’s school. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, his father was head of the Jewish community of Tzfat.
Gad comes from an ultra orthodox family and as a teenager joined Betar, a decision which was destined to change his future. According to his son, Hadar, who was born in Melbourne in 1956, Gad left home at the age of 14 instead of following a Talmudic career. From Betar he naturally became a member of the Irgun Tzvai Leumi and one of its foremost front line commanders. He is mentioned in Menachem Begin's book, "The Revolt", which, in Chapter XVIII, refers to the attack on the Ramat Gan police station where Dov Gruner was wounded and captured by the British.
"The door was locked behind them. Gad, a young Irgun officer and son of the Mayor of Safed with his "British" and "Arab" soldiers, took command inside the Ramat Gan fortress".
With the arrival of Geula and Liora after an acclimatization period in Melbourne, the Pedhazur family traveled to Sydney for the initial period of their shlichut. It may be mentioned here that Gad was instrumental in the creation of the Betar Machoz in Brisbane in 1956. His personal impact on the movement in Australia left its mark for many years long after he left the shores of Australia.
On his return to Israel he undertook various positions within the world Betar leadership and in 1959 was sent to US where he was appointed Director of the Betar camp. According to his son Hadar, in order to help pay the rent he took up a teaching position at a Hebrew school while at the same time enrolled in NYU undergraduate night school completing his course with honours. Subsequently, he completed his master's degree in Psychology and afterwards a PhD followed by a tenured professorship in the Psychology Department. Along the way he wrote a number of seminal textbooks in his field of Research and Design. One should remember that all this began at the age of 32 with two children and without a formal high school education.
Over the years I have maintained contact with the Pedhazur family and on the occasions when I visited them in 1967, 1973 and a few years ago together with Perla after his retirement, one could not help but notice that in no way has he been affected by his great academic achievements and remained the same modest Gad. He has always felt a close association with all those members of the Australian Betar who befriended him and his family. We all certainly feel that he has enriched our lives. Last year I spoke to him briefly on his 88th birthday and, as always, he asked about all those friends that he so fondly remembers. We all extend to Elazar "Gad" Pedhazur and his family long life and continued good health.
I have added this link to Amazon re Gad’s books