Both of his parents had immigrated here from Warsaw, in 1919, two years after the Balfour Declaration stating Britain's support for the creation of a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine, previously a province of the Ottoman Empire. They came as Zionists who hoped to build a new state in their old homeland, but also to escape anti-Semitism. Had they not left, his parents later realized, they would likely have been killed by the Nazis, like many of their relatives who stayed. Of Poland's prewar Jewish population of 3.3 million Jews, more than 90 percent were killed, according to figures from Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority.
Horev was born in Jerusalem in 1924, and at the age of 17, he left high school to join the Palmach.
"We worked to finance our training, so we would work two weeks a month and train two weeks a month," he says. By 1943 he was commissioned as an officer, and soon promoted to platoon commander and then company commander.
Then came the November day in 1947, when the United Nations voted on the partition of Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Arab states disagreed and declared war. At the time, one of Horev's jobs was running convoys to supply Jewish areas of Jerusalem that were cut off, a job which led him to see many young comrades fall.
"When you look at the convoy situation, it was like going on a suicide mission: each time we went out we got attacked," Horev explains as the hours crawl toward Israel's Memorial Day, which always comes the day before Independence Day. Melancholy songs fill the airwaves, stories of fallen soldiers run on television, places of entertainment close. Horev makes his pilgrimage to the Nahalal Cemetery in Jerusalem, where many of the fallen members of his brigade are buried.