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Father and Son Team Up for Elite Competition at Sea

By   /   January 29, 2014  /   No Comments

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For 30 years, Maj. (res.) Ittai Weissberg served as the captain of a ship. Now his son is following in his footsteps.


Half an hour before his crew begins its mission at sea, Cpt. Yotam Weissberg gathers his sailors for a motivational speech aboard their Israeli battleship. “We’re all familiar with our missions today. We practiced this for weeks, and now it’s time to show who we are.”

Cpt. Weissberg commanding his ship

Cpt. Weissberg commanding his ship

As their Dvora ship sets sail, the sailors turn their focus to one goal: winning a tough competition that begins their training in the Israel Navy. The competition is meant to strengthen the bonds between the ship’s sailors, motivating them to prevail against crews from other vessels. Every team wants to prove it’s the best, but the sailors aboard this ship – nicknamed the Panthers – are preparing to give their all to attain victory.

Cpt. Weissberg’s commander announces the start of the competition, and the sailors gear up to prove their strength and motivation to win. The warriors paint their faces like panthers and huddle together to cheer each other on. Moments later, a squad of Panthers jumps into a raft and lowers itself into the water for a race against the other crews. The sailors charge ahead with full force, and at the end of the race, victory is in their hands. During the next mission, they face off against other crews to see who can activate the ships’ fire-fighting systems most quickly. Once again, the Panthers win the challenge.

One crew member, noticeably older than the others on board, listens attentively to Cpt. Weissberg’s every word. The special guest is Maj. (res.) Ittai Weissberg, a former Dvora Commander who also happens to be Cpt. Weissberg’s father. “My dad was a Dvora battleship commander in the early 1980s, eventually becoming a cruiser commander in 1982,” Cpt. Yotam explains. “He finished his reserve duty in the IDF, but he just didn’t want to stop.”

As a seasoned naval commander, Maj. (res.) Ittai Weissberg naturally begins measuring his son’s performance. “I was watching his behavior and his judgment as a battleship commander. On the one hand, you have to inspire your soldiers to do their best. At the same time, you have to focus on your mission, master the technical details and make the right decisions.”

Cpt. Yotam Weissberg

Cpt. Yotam Weissberg

An advancing Navy: stronger than ever

Maj. (res.) Ittai Weissberg says there is no comparison between the current Dvora battleships and the ones he used to command. He explains that today’s ships are much more powerful, adding they can travel at far higher speeds. “We can deal with our threats today in a faster way,” he says. “Back then, making the wrong decision in your assessment could cause you to miss a target. Today, our vessels are prepared to strike targets in any situation.”

The two commanders will always have their passion for the navy in common. “When I get home on Fridays, I tell my stories from the navy, and he’s the only one who gets me,” the younger Weisberg explains. “My best friends can’t understand me quite like him. He knows exactly what I’m going through.”

“I give him tips here and there,” Maj. (res.) Ittai says. “I tell him his service is just starting. He has 20 years of reserve duty ahead of him. I want to see him then!”


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