Yehuda Danon

At the end of the interview she said she would like to find "the soldier Yehuda" who had helped her during the war

Yehuda Danon had just completed his medical studies in 1967, and was conscripted for his mandatory military service. One the morning of June 5th he received his rank of First Lieutenant and with six medics, was sent to reinforce the IDF medical force in Jerusalem. On the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Yehuda Arbel, head of the GSS in Jerusalem at the time, sent him and his subordinates to investigate Jordanian officers who they believed were hiding in a convent on the Via Delarosa and pretending to be injured. Danon, Arbel, the six medics and GSS people in civilian clothing knocked on the Sisters of Zion Convent doors. To their surprise, the door was opened by a monk instead of a nun, and he was angry and furious at their insolence in violating the sanctity of the convent. Danon showed him a Geneva Convention officer certificate and said they had come to check on the injured. In the monastery they found about 150 Jordanian Legionnaires pretending to be injured, and sent them to the temporary POW camp in Givat Ram.

The nuns were worried about what would happen to the prisoners and there was quite a commotion. Danon tried to talk to one of the nuns and after trying a few languages they found an almost common language, he spoke Spanish and she answered in Ladino. When he asked her how a nun in East Jerusalem spoke the language of Spanish Jews, she told him she was born to a Jewish family in Bulgaria and joined the Order during the Second World War.  The nun said that her name was Regina Kaneti, and she had a sister in Haifa whose son was in the navy. She asked Danon if he could inquire to see that he was safe. After the war Danon and Kaneti kept in touch until one day when he came to visit her in the convent, he was told she had gone.

Twenty years later, in 1987, on a radio program marking 20 years since the Six Day War, the host, Menny Pe’er, interviewed Sister Regina. At the end of the interview she said she would like to find “the soldier Yehuda” who had helped her during the war. By this time, Danon was the Chief Medical Officer of the IDF and a Brigadier General. Although he didn’t hear the interview, his sister did, and she recognized Sister Regina from the stories she had heard.  Danon called the radio station and found out that Sister Regina was in Israel again, this time in the Ein Karem convent, and their connection was renewed. Yehuda Danon and his wife Ruth went to visit Sister Regina in the convent. Ruth Dannon was captivated by the amazing life story of Sister Regina, and wrote about it in her book, “The Sister of Zion”.