JAMen Bios | Shalom Austin

JAMen Bios

2023 JAMen Bios

Gadi Ilan

Born and raised in Ramat-Gan, Israel, Gadi Ilan grew up in a passionately Zionist household. As a child and adolescent he participated in the Tzofim (Scouts), a mainstream youth movement, where he further solidified ties to his homeland.
At 18 years of age he was accepted into the covert and prestigious IDF unit, Sayeret Matkal – the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit. Sayeret Matkal, often referred to as “the Unit,” holds equivalence to the U.S. Army’s renowned Delta Force.

Three transformative years were spent in the Unit, marked by involvement in numerous undisclosed operations. Among the few operations accessible to the public were the strategic capture of Mount Hermon’s peak from the Syrian army on the brink of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the tragically unsuccessful hostage rescue mission at Maalot’s high school in 1974, the daring storming of the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1975 where terrorists, arriving by sea, had taken guests and staff hostage, and, culminating his tenure, the triumphant Entebbe hostage rescue operation in Uganda on July 4th, 1976.
After working over ten years in the Israeli hospitality industry, Gadi received an enticing opportunity to manage a luxurious hotel owned by an Israeli entrepreneur in Nassau, Bahamas. Here, fate took another turn as he met his future spouse, Dawn, a native of Maine.
In 2021, a new chapter began as Gadi and his wife settled in Austin, Texas, a base from which they continued their business travels and where their two daughters blossomed, pursued their education and embarked on their professional journeys.