Yitzhak Aharonovitch, captain of Jewish refugee ship Exodus

Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the captain of the Jewish refugee ship Exodus, died Dec. 23 at the age of 86 in northern Israel after a long illness.

Aharonovitch — also known as Ike Aranne — was born in Poland and moved to pre-state Israel in 1932.

The Exodus left France for pre-state Israel in 1947 with about 4,500 passengers, most Jewish Holocaust survivors. The ship was seized by the British Navy and the passengers were taken to displaced persons camps in Germany. They were later transferred to camp in Cyprus until after Israel became a state in 1948.

Aharonovitch loved the sea and worked with ships for many years, his daughter told the Associated Press.

The story of the Exodus became iconic after the publication of Leon Uris’ book and the 1960 film starring Paul Newman. — jta