Lou Lenart, a US Marine Corps pilot during World War II who later helped thwart an Egyptian advance on Tel Aviv in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, died Monday at age 94.

Lenart was born Layos Lenovitz to Jewish farmers in Hungary. His family moved to America when he was 10 years old and settled in Pennsylvania. He later enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 and became a pilot, seeing action during the Battle of Okinawa and elsewhere in the Pacific.

Following World War II, Lenart joined Israel’s nascent air force, which consisted of just four Czech-built German Messerschmitt fighter planes. During the 1948 war, when Egyptian forces were closing in on Tel Aviv, Israeli commanders decided to risk their entire fleet of planes and attack the Egyptian advance. Lenart, who was the most experienced pilot in the group, led the charge. Surprised by the Israeli aerial attack, Egyptian forces eventually retreated.

“It was the most important event in my life,” Lenart told an Israeli Air Force magazine, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “I survived World War II so I could lead this mission.”

Following the war, Lenart participated in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah to bring Iraqi Jews to Israel, and also worked as a pilot for the El Al airline.

Lenart is survived by his wife, daughter, and grandson.


Send Passover Packages to Needy Israeli Soldiers - Bring Them Joy!

We are honored to thank the young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Israel. Since October 7th, soldiers have been on the battlefield for months - many are hoping to come home for Passover.

Join us in sending Passover food packages (and personal notes) to Israeli soldiers and their families.

Many soldiers spend the Passover holiday with needy families back home. The soldiers greatly appreciate your love and concern. Bring them Passover joy!