Up until a month ago, not many people in Israel knew who Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari was. But since war broke out on October 7, the IDF’s spokesperson has become a household name.
His calm, clear and straightforward tone, his personability and his willingness to answer difficult questions have all made him a figure the Israeli public can put their trust in during these uncertain times.
Hagari, 47, became the IDF’s spokesperson earlier this year following a military career spanning almost three decades, having previously served as the commanding officer of the naval commando unit, head of naval operations and assistant to the chief of the general staff.
In his current role, Hagari has been lauded for giving twice-daily press briefings, presenting facts and figures from the war in both Hebrew and English, and accompanying foreign journalists on press tours to the communities massacred by Hamas.
But what has made him a hero for many in Israel is not what he does, but how he’s been doing it. While adhering to the formal, military ethos that his job demands, he’s also been letting his personality shine through his uniform.
He hasn’t been shy, for example, in admitting how Kfir Bibas, the baby kidnapped and held hostage in Gaza, reminds him of his own youngest son, who recently celebrated his first birthday.
Or in sharing a picture from a visit to his brother, Yoni, who resides in the ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village for people with severe disabilities. Hagari told the residents there that they remind us all what it is we’re fighting for.
In these tough times, Hagari is everything Israelis expect of a top soldier to be – articulate, brave and charmingly modest. We hope not to have to hear from him for a long time to come after this war ends, but if we do, we know he’ll do a great job.