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Yom Hazikaron speaker knows only too well




Dr Weiler, who is the eldest son of six children, lives in Haifa. He lost his brothers Adam – on the banks of the Suez Canal in 1970, and Gideon – on the fourth night of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Daniel was born and partially educated in Johannesburg until making Aliyah in 1957; and his story is especially poignant and heart-rending: losing two brothers within the space of three years.

A solemn celebration, Yom Hazikaron will be commemorated on Sunday night 4 May. Its full name is “Yom Hazikaron l’Chalalei Ma’arachot Yisrael v’l’Nifgaei Peulot Ha’eivah” which translates into English as: “Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism” and has become Israel’s official Memorial Day since the national observance was enacted into law in 1963.

While Yom Hazikaron has been traditionally dedicated to fallen soldiers, commemoration has now been extended to civilian victims of political violence, Palestinian political violence, and terrorism in general.

Weiler’s Joburg history

Young Daniel Weiler attended Saxonwold Primary School and two years at Parktown Boys High before making Aliya in 1957. He was followed by the rest of the family in 1958.

YomHazikaron 2014He completed his high school at the Israel Nautical College in Akko where he graduated in 1961 – and immediately enlisted in the Israeli Navy and subsequently volunteered for submarine service.

After a stint as commander of the INS submarine school, he saw combat mission service in the Six Day War in Egyptian waters. He was honourably discharged as first lieutenant (deputy commander) of the sub Rahav.

This was followed by medical studies and Weiler eventually graduated from the Hadassah Hebrew University medical school in 1975. “Many of my teachers were outstanding South African and Rhodesian physicians who had made Aliyah,” he says, naming the late Martin and his brother Theodore Sachs, Mervyn Shapiro, Justin Silver and Rafael Melmed among them.

Dr Weiler’s highly successful medical career eventually landed him as Chief of Pulmonary services at the Carmel Hospital in Haifa in 1984 – serving a population of some 700,000 patients. He held this position until reaching the compulsory retirement age for public servants in Israel, 67, in 2010.

More on Doctor Weiler

Weiler actively engaged in teaching at the Haifa Medical School, affiliated with the Technion, as an assistant professor of medicine and pulmonary disease. He published in the medical literature as “Daniel Weiler-Ravell, an additional Hebrew name taken as Ben Gurion dictated, by all Israelis officially serving abroad, as I did when with the Royal Navy,” he explains.

Weiler Daniel Low-ResOf interest to South Africans where tuberculosis is still a major medical problem, Dr Weiler served as the chairman of the advisory committee to the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of health, for TB.


In this capacity conceived and instituted a new national program for the elimination of TB which has proved to be highly successful and regarded with acclaim by international authorities on TB.

What’s the good doc doing now?

Weiler established a concurrent private practice while in public service which is still active.

He is currently serving as a consultant medical director in a medical device start-up, as consultant medical director for chronically ventilated patients at a long term facility in Netanya and in the process of launching a new company which will provide a second medical opinion for hospitalised patients, to be offered by a group of leading physicians in different fields of expertise, affiliated with the company.

His hobbies “and fads” he told SAJR Online, include cycling, on and off road. “Ofra (his wife) and I also ride a tandem together,” he says. He also has a collection of cowboy and other hats (more than 300 in all) and boots, “which I infallibly wear,” historical and biographical literature and gardening to name some.

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  1. Jacob

    Mar 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    ‘Surprised there is no mention that Daniel is the son of Rabbi Moses Cyrus Weiler who came to South Africa in 1933 as the first Progressive Rabbi. ‘

  2. Lutz Ackermann

    Apr 29, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    ‘Surprised that no venue (city, country, continent) where this might  happen is mentioned, either…’

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