Born in 1942 in Israel, six years before the creation of the State of Israel, Ory Slonim had grown up with the ravages of war all around him. The Arab attacks against the Jews and then of course the War of Independence in which 1 percent of the entire Jewish population was killed fighting against the five Arab armies bent on annihilating all the Jews. But Ory, who came from a seventh-generation family that had lived in Hebron, grew up in the Tel Aviv area and became a successful private lawyer.
Prior to college and law school, he had entered the Israel Defense Forces and became a parachuter and was promoted to major as a parachuting instructor. He married his sweetheart Tamy and began practicing law in 1970. It was in 1974 that he and Tamy were injured in a deadly terrorist attack in a Tel Aviv cinema theatre when a bomb planted by a terrorist was detonated. Though Ory and Tamy recovered, others did not. Unfortunately, this was the norm for those growing up in Israel at the time.
In 1986, Israeli President Haim Herzog, who was well acquainted with Slonim, came up with the idea of appointing Ory as special counsel to the defense minister for issues of POW-MIAs, one who would come from the civilian world, concentrating first and foremost on relations with families.
Slonim enlisted in the mission first, as an unofficial appointment, then officially but would only accept a payment of one Israeli Shekel per year. In ’88, he received the standard of defense minister’s counsel, high security classification, and gained senior cooperation with the Mossad. And for the next thirty-six years, he searched throughout the world for those young IDF soldiers, pilots, and reservists who were captured in battles with terrorist organizations but were never heard from again. His mission to find the missing boys—all in their teens or twenties—took him all over the world to meetings in nations that did not recognize Israel and in meetings with ruthless terrorist representatives. At the same time, he always kept his duty to the families to those who kept on believing, understandably, that the state of Israel will do all they can to bring their dears back home.
He would meet with their parents, their siblings, and their husbands hundreds of times to keep them informed, to try to reassure them—even though these meetings were the most painful of his life. So, in the capacity of knocking on doors all over the world as well on the families of the POW-MIAs, Ory became known as the “Door Knocker.”
Ory succeeded in tracking down what happened to all those who had fallen and even collected the remains of a missing soldier after nearly two decades. But in 2006, Ory turned over the baton to others to fulfill the same mission.
Ory was subsequently recognized by the State of Israel in numerous honorifics for his unparalleled dedication to the State of Israel.