Tag: Mahal

26TH ANNIVERSARY GALA II: THE “SPIRIT OF MAHAL” LIVES ON THROUGH THE COURAGE OF THE IAF & OF THOSE WHO FIGHT ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS ON CAMPUSES

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Israel’s Air Force to Increase Operational Capability by 400 Percent: Algemeiner, June 8, 2014—  The Israeli Air Force chief stated last week that the IDF’s offensive capabilities will quadruple by the end of 2014.

1981 Operation Opera (Strike on Iraq’s Nuclear Reactor): IDF Blog, June 7, 2014: On June 7, 1981, a squadron of IAF fighter planes took off on their way to Iraq to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor and put a halt to the Iraqi nuclear program, which President Suddam Hussein had used to openly threaten Israel. 

The Volunteers: Gail Lichtman, Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2008— Sixty years ago, during Israel's War of Independence, some 3,500 men and women from 44 countries around the world left the comfort of their homes and families to help the fledgling Jewish state in its struggle for survival as part of Mahal (the Hebrew acronym for "overseas volunteers").

Sarah Bernamoff: "Don't Accept What is Becoming The Status Quo": Ilana Shneider, Shalom Toronto, June 5, 2014— Sarah Bernamoff is a 33 year old Calgarian, born to an Israeli mother and Canadian father.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones: Yochi Dreazen, New Republic, Mar. 26, 2014

5 Most Innovative Weapons the IDF Has to Offer (That We Can Tell You About): IDF Blog, Apr. 20, 2014

Stanley Medicks – The Man Behind the Mahal Memorial: Elana Overs, Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2013

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014

 

ISRAEL’S AIR FORCE TO INCREASE OPERATIONAL

CAPABILITY BY 400 PERCENT

Algemeiner, June 8, 2014

                         

The Israeli Air Force chief stated last week that the IDF’s offensive capabilities will quadruple by the end of 2014. In a single day, Israeli planes will be able to strike thousands of terror targets and expand the IDF’s achievements during extended operations. Major General Amir Eshel, commander of the Israel Air Force, spoke last week at the Tenth Annual Conference for National Security on the contribution of air power to Israel’s strategic capabilities. Maj. Gen. Eshel discussed the air force’s attack and defensive capabilities during times of war and routine operations.

 

“I believe our capabilities are only second to the United States, from both an offensive and defensive standpoint,” the IAF commander said, referring to a significant leap in capabilities over the past two years. He based his assessment on an evaluation of IDF abilities and conversations with officials from foreign militaries. “We have an unprecedented offensive capability, which allows us to accurately strike thousands of targets in one day. We have doubled our abilities twice in the past two years. By the end of 2014, we will see an improvement of 400 percent to our offensive capabilities relative to the recent past, as a result of a long improvement process.”

 

To illustrate Israel’s advancements, the IAF Commander compared the air force’s new efficacy to other achievements in recent years. “The air force at the end of 2014, in less than 24 hours, can do what it did in three days during the Second Lebanon War, and can do in 12 hours what it did in a week during Operation Pillar of Defense.” Maj. Gen. Eshel stated that “Israel can not afford lengthy attacks. We need to win quickly. A short time, in my opinion, is a few days. I do not believe in conducting long wars.” The air force chief argued that accurate and quality firepower is the main variable in achieving victory. To do so, he said, “It’s not enough to have just technical ability – we need to adopt an approach. We’re talking about an operation with full power; all of the air force, all encompassing, from the opening of the offensive effort in order to strike as powerfully as possible and shorten the war.”

 

“We can destroy the military capabilities and infrastructure that support the activities of Hezbollah on a scale that would require decades to rebuild. We could achieve a direct hit on the terror organization and all that supports it on an unimaginable scale,” the IAF commander said. “Unfortunately Hezbollah took its assets and moved them into the cities,” he added. Hezbollah terrorists position themselves deep within civilian urban areas, where they use homes and civilians as shields against Israeli counterattacks. In recent years, they have also mastered the technique of disappearing underground. “This is a very significant challenge because we do not want to hurt innocent bystanders.”

 

In the face of these challenges, the IDF uses precision strikes to eliminate terror targets, a method which also prevents operations from spiraling into wars. “What characterizes our air power is our ability to control its impact, and this is very important during incidents of combat between wars,” Maj. Gen. Eshel explained. “Everything is flexible and subject to change. This is the advantage of the air force: the ability to take the hammer that was made for wars and use it in a more limited capacity.”

 

Contents
                                  

1981 OPERATION OPERA (STRIKE ON IRAQ’S NUCLEAR REACTOR)         

IDF Blog, June 7, 2014

 

On June 7, 1981, a squadron of IAF fighter planes took off on their way to Iraq to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor and put a halt to the Iraqi nuclear program, which President Suddam Hussein had used to openly threaten Israel. The operation was not simple. To neutralize the threat, Israeli fighter planes would have to fly all the way to Iraq. The  operation had many obstacles, which the Air Force overcame with a combination of great planning and pure good luck. The main problem was flying such a huge distance –almost 1,000 miles— undetected while in enemy airspace.

 

For this they prepared eight heavily-fueled F-16 fighter planes and six F-15s just for backup. Among the F-16 pilots was a young Ilan Ramon, who would later go on to be the first Israeli astronaut. The squad left Israel’s Etzion Airbase on June 7 at 3:55 PM. While flying in Jordanian airspace, the team spoke to ground control in Saudi-accented Arabic, pretending to be flying aircraft that simply went off course. They successfully passed through unchallenged.

 

The plan was almost thwarted by King Hussein of Jordan, who was on vacation in Aqaba at the time, and noticed the planes flying overhead. He ordered an alert to warn Iraqi forces, but the message was never received because of a communication error. Another bit of luck came at the hands of the Iraqi military itself. The soldiers in charge of Iraq’s anti-aircraft defenses left for lunch 30 minutes before the attack and turned off their radars. Though some of the Israeli aircraft were eventually detected, they avoided any anti-aircraft fire. In all, the strike itself took less than two minutes and accomplished its objective of neutralizing the Iraqi nuclear threat.

Contents
                                  

THE VOLUNTEERS                                                            

Gail Lichtman                                                                                                                  Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2008

 

Sixty years ago, during Israel's War of Independence, some 3,500 men and women from 44 countries around the world left the comfort of their homes and families to help the fledgling Jewish state in its struggle for survival as part of Mahal (the Hebrew acronym for "overseas volunteers"). Mainly World War II veterans with military training and experience, their contribution was decisive in helping Israel establish an army and win its fight for existence against an invading force of five Arab armies.

 

The Mahalniks, as they were known, brought with them the military expertise, familiarity with equipment and arms, combat experience and knowledge of military frameworks that proved vital to the newly formed IDF on the ground, at sea and in the air. Mahalniks served in every branch of the IDF, including artillery, infantry, armored corps, medical corps, engineers, signals, radar and the navy – many in key positions of command. The 425 Mahalniks who flew in the Israel Air Force and air transport command made up 95 percent of the air crews. In addition, 450 served in the Palmah and 200 were doctors and nurses in hospitals and frontline casualty stations. Some 250 Americans and Canadians manned the 10 Aliya Bet (illegal immigration) ships that ran the British blockade before the establishment of the state, bringing more than 31,000 Holocaust survivors to Palestine. And Mahalniks also paid the price of war – 121 of them (117 men and four women) fell during the War of Independence. Many more were injured and some went missing in action.

 

Mahalniks were overwhelmingly from English-speaking countries, but also included volunteers from Latin America, Europe and even some Arab countries. They were mainly Jews, motivated by Jewish solidarity and concerns for the security of the Yishuv in its struggle for survival, as well as by the historic reestablishment of a Jewish state after 2,000 years. But there were also non-Jews among them, horrified by the Holocaust, who wanted to aid the Jewish people. The most famous Mahal volunteer was American Col. David (Mickey) Marcus, who was recruited to serve as prime minister David Ben-Gurion's military adviser, and helped lay the foundation for transforming the pre-state defense forces into a regular army. His role in the construction of the Burma Road, which helped break the siege of Jerusalem, was critical. Killed by friendly fire in June 1948, Marcus was laid to rest at West Point, the only American soldier to be buried there who died fighting for a foreign country.

 

Ben-Gurion called the Mahal volunteers "the Diaspora's most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel." In May 1993, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin said at the consecration of the Mahal Memorial in the Sha'ar Hagai Forest: "You came to us when we needed you most, during those dark and uncertain days of our War of Independence. You gave us not only your experience, but your lives as well. The people of the State of Israel will never forget, and will always cherish this unique contribution made by you – the volunteers of Mahal." Nevertheless, for much of Israel's history, Mahal's contribution has remained one of the best kept secrets of the War of Independence. It took 45 years before the Mahal Memorial was set up. And thousands of archival Mahal documents and photographs are still housed in the Kfar Shmaryahu home of former Mahalnik, David Teperson, who came from South Africa in 1948. One reason for the lack of publicity about Mahal is that most Mahalniks returned to their countries of origin after the war. Another was fear of the embargo policies and legal consequences the volunteers could face in the home countries (especially the US). Moreover, in the wake of the war, Israeli leaders believed that it was important for nation-building to emphasize the role of the Yishuv in the struggle for independence. In Jerusalem met with three local former Mahalniks, all octogenarians, who answered the call of 1948, and remained to make Israel their home…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents
                                  

SARAH BERNAMOFF: "DON'T ACCEPT WHAT IS

BECOMING THE STATUS QUO"                                                                            Ilana Shneider                                                                                                                  Shalom Toronto, June 2, 2014

 

Sarah Bernamoff is a 33 year old Calgarian, born to an Israeli mother and Canadian father. Her family is of Yemenite, Greek, Spanish and Russian background. Sarah lived in Israel for 10 years, where she completed her BA in International Relations from Hebrew University. She recently graduated with an MBA from the University of Calgary and is commencing Law School this fall.

 

Sarah, you are the co-founder of Calgary United with Israel (CUWI), as well as Canadians for Human Rights (CHRME), a relatively new and very dynamic group of young pro-Israel advocates. Tell us how these organizations came about and what their mission is.

 

The organizations are a response to mounting hateful activity against Israel supporters, coupled with the perceived irresponsiveness of our “official Jewish community" to this activity. We asked for help and we were told to ignore the hateful activity; we asked to help, and we were told to donate to UJA. We are a group of students and other stakeholders who felt bullied on campus, abandoned by our Jewish leadership and ultimately that we had no voice. In response we established our grassroots organizations, which are now comprised of students, university alumni, professionals and community members at large – locally, nationally and internationally. Our members are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Native and more. Our mission is to promote justice and human rights for all, in an overt fashion, with a focus on Israel and her Nation. Our values are moral and intellectual integrity, pro-activeness and camaraderie.

 

A founding member of CUWI is Ryan Bellerose, a Métis from Northern Alberta, founder of Canadians For Accountability (a Native rights advocacy group), an Idle No More movement organizer and a self-proclaimed Zionist. It's not very often that you see pro-Israel advocacy and Idle No More thrown together in the mix. How did this unlikely coalition come about?

 

We do not see this coalition as unlikely. We believe that the “right” and “left” political paradigm is currently a confused construct and that people can have views from different points along the political spectrum. It is a fallacy that issues of human rights and the environment should be on the left, while a pro-Israel stance should lay on the right. It can be boiled down to what is truthful, moral and intellectually honest. Jews have a moral, legal and historical right to self-determination in their indigenous land.

 

Furthermore, every human has the right to safety, freedom and basic wellness within his border. Therefore, any person with moral integrity who stands for true human rights, justice and democracy should feel aligned with Israel. Furthermore, for Ryan Bellerose and increasingly more Natives, there is a natural alignment with Jews and Israel as a successful indigenous project. As Naftali Bennet proudly stated recently on CNN, as he lifted a 2000 year old coin from Judea: “one cannot occupy his own home”. I recommend everyone read Ryan’s articles where he explains these points cogently (see www.cuwi.ca/ryan-bellerose).

 

CUWI's brand of Israel advocacy is fundamentally different from other Jewish organizations. You are an outspoken critic of “non-confrontational” stance and prefer to take direct and immediate action when faced with a rising tide of anti-Zionism, which often spills into overt anti-Semitism by well-funded and well-organized anti-Israel groups. Why do you think your hands-on approach is more effective than the traditional type of Hasbara in today's hostile campus environment?

 

I do not believe we are fundamentally different, but a cross-section. Many stakeholders feel exactly how we do; we are just one of the outspoken platforms for this growing public sentiment favoring overt advocacy.

 

In regards to “anti-Zionism”, the BDS and Apartheid Week hate campaigns carefully employ the word “Zionist” and not “Jew”. The goal is to artificially sever the inextricable bond between the Jewish Nation and Israel. The threat of BDS is not an economic one; the threat is the dehumanization and vilification of Jews and Israel supporters, for which the result is normalization of hatred. Normalized hate leads to actions of hate, as in the recent case at the University of Windsor where a hate crime against Jews was enacted the day before their BDS referendum. It is said that “possession is nine-tenths of the law”: in the absence of any voice declaring otherwise, the repeated vilification of Jews and Israel Supporters starts to become the version of truth that people accept. The largely unchallenged “disappearing Palestine” bus adverts did not help this. Of note, to bring up issues of “free speech” in this context is fallacious and shifts the real issue at hand…

 

You recently partnered with the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) on the Canadian Freedom Alliance, a national coalition group that supports pro-Israel students. Can you tell us about this initiative?

 

The goal of this initiative is to align Israel activists nationally who have a similar Israel advocacy approach and share the Canadian values of freedom, peace and moral integrity. Through unity, collaboration, exchange of information and alignment of resources we will be stronger in tackling our advocacy goals.

 

You are being featured at this year's Canadian Institute of Jewish Research gala, together with honouree Joe Warner, a Torontonian who was with the second Canadian Mahal Group in the anti-tank wing of the Givati Brigade (a group of volunteers which fought alongside Israelis in the 1948 War of Independence). How does it feel to share the stage with a veteran of Israel's War of Independence?

 

Of note, at the Montreal gala, Dr. William H. Novick with the Montreal Mahalniks will also be honoured. It is extremely humbling and inspiring to speak beside esteemed guest speakers who are the epitome of fighting for morality and justice, and that embody unapologetic Israel pride

 

As a young but seasoned activist, what is your advice to students who are faced with rising tide of anti-Zionism?

 

Don’t accept what is becoming the status quo. Attempts of bullying and intimidation, and regular attacks on your identity as a Jew or Israel Supporter are not acceptable and we are fighting it. Speak up. Verbalize your concern to people who can help. Don’t accept it as a norm. You have the right to study in a peaceful environment, not exposed to hatred, and with an equal chance for academic success. Deepen your bond with Israel. Travel to Israel. Know what it is and what it stands for. The Judean People are indigenous to the land of Israel and have had uninterrupted presence there for over 3200 years. The so-called “Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights” campus club has been systematically acting for the violation of Jewish Human Rights, deviously wrapping the club’s anti-Semitic agenda in the pseudo-fashionable politically correct guise of anti-Zionism. In the recent words of PM Harper: “[T]his is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable to a new generation”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones: Yochi Dreazen, New Republic, Mar. 26, 2014 hortly after 7 a.m. on a chilly morning at the Rosh Hanikra military base in northernmost Israel, Lieutenant Colonel Yogev Bar Sheshet was already on his third Diet Coke.

5 Most Innovative Weapons the IDF Has to Offer (That We Can Tell You About): IDF Blog, Apr. 20, 2014 The IDF is one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world. Check out our five most innovative weapons, (at least the ones that we can tell you about) which help IDF soldiers in the battlefield every day.

Stanley Medicks – The Man Behind the Mahal Memorial: Elana Overs, Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2013Stanley Medicks, who died in England earlier this month at the age of 82, was a commander in Mahal (Volunteers from Abroad) during the War of Independence and later served as chairman of British and Scandinavian Mahal.

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014For me, at the age of almost 94, this evening presents an outstanding opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me along my life’s journey.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

26TH ANNIVERSARY GALA I: WITH ITS FLEDGLING DEBUT IN 1948, THROUGH THE YOM KIPPUR WAR, WE HONOR THE IAF—PAST & PRESENT

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Israel Air Force is Deadlier Than Ever: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet, May 8, 2014— At first we'll experience a number of tough days. Rockets and missiles, directed mainly at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.        

Above and Beyond: the Birth of the Israeli Air Force: Daniel Smajovits, Jewish Tribune, Feb. 19, 2014— The Valley of Elah blends seamlessly into the landscape of Israel.

The Yom Kippur War Was 40 Years Ago. Everything You Thought You Knew About It Is Wrong: Michael B. Oren, New Republic, Oct. 15, 2013— Egyptians marked the fortieth anniversary of their army's putative triumph over Israel by bloodying one another in Tahrir Square.

 

On Topic Links

 

Remembering the Yom Kippur War, 40 Years On: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2013

40 Years Since the Yom Kippur War #1: The First Strike: IDF Blog, Oct. 7, 2013

Three films to focus on Israeli Air Force: Jewish Journal, Feb. 27, 2013

Sample Reel for 'Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force' (Video): Playmount Productions, 2014

 

ISRAEL AIR FORCE IS DEADLIER THAN EVER

Ron Ben-Yishai

Ynet, May 8, 2014

                         

At first we'll experience a number of tough days. Rockets and missiles, directed mainly at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The aerial defense will mostly defend strategic facilities and bases, in the big cities buildings will collapse and there will be casualties. But it won't last for long. The Israel Air Force will respond immediately, and after a few days we will see a significant drop in the number of missiles fired on Israel. A ceasefire will follow, there will be some more rocket fire, and then a truce and relative calm for several years thanks to the restored deterrence. This is the serious but reasonable scenario the IDF is preparing for, and this is the political echelon's strategic target. It will be a "high-trajectory war." Whether the rocket fire comes from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza or Iran – the goal will to end it quickly in order to minimize damages and losses, while causing maximum damage on the other side, so that it feels the urgency to pursue a ceasefire.

 

Israel Air Force (IAF) Commander Major-General Amir Eshel and senior IAF officers believe it is possible – and even more: With the intelligence, the arms and aircraft available at the Air Force's disposal, they believe it could reach the described achievements on its own, without the IDF having to maneuver its way into enemy territory, and it must be allowed to do so. If Major-General Eshel and his people are right, we are talking about a significant reduction in the number of casualties and a huge saving in resources considering the astronomic cost – about NIS 1 billion ($290 million) – of every day of fighting. What the IAF commander is suggesting is in fact a real revolution in the IDF's combat perception, which will dramatically affect the need to equip and train the ground forces, and the budgetary list of priorities.

 

I already heard the claim that the Air Force can do the job on its own once before from Dan Halutz, when he served as IAF commander before being appointed chief of staff. That claim was proven wrong in the Second Lebanon War, and that's the reason it still raises many doubts today. Of course not all senior IDF officers agree with the IAF's assessments. Many generals, who are aware of the Air Force's abilities and respect them, still believe that the army must operate on the ground in order to paralyze the firing of thousands of rockets and missiles.

 

 

The short period of action is also seen as unlikely. The IAF officials respond with quite a convincing argument: If we are attacked suddenly, it will anyway take us time to gather all the ground forces and overcome attacks on emergency depots and traffic arteries. At the same time, we will have an opportunity to get the job done through aerial attacks. Simultaneously, they say, we are preparing to offer the ground forces significant help in the fighting. "We are not gambling," Eshel explains. "We know that we are perceived both by the public and by senior state officials as the people of Israel's insurance policy, and the expectations from us are high. Perhaps too high. But we are not confused. We remember that we're not alone and we are building an ability to integrate." In Operation Pillar of Defense, he notes, the IAF prevented the need for a ground operation in Gaza, and the deterrence is more or less "working" till this very day.

 

I witnessed the IAF's preparations to significantly improve its ability to aid the ground forces several weeks ago, when I joined a detention and patrol activity in the Hebron area, which was combined with preparations for a war: A drill simulating the takeover of a Lebanese village. As we moved forward, the Paratroopers Brigade commander pointed at a fighter bending behind a terrace, and whispered in my war that his name is Lieutenant Colonel T., the F-16 squadron commander. Quite an unusual event in the IDF reality. T., who was equipped and armed and acted like a regular fighter, explained naturally that he had joined the operation at his own initiative because he wanted to understand how the infantry forces move and operate during fighting and how he and his pilots could help them from close up – very close. A warplane helping ground forces with gunfire and missile fire is a "natural" mission. A warplane dropping a one-ton bomb on a house and delaying the progress of a ground force – that's an entirely different story.

 

But aiding the ground forces is not the IAF's first mission. In the past two years, it has been preparing mainly for goal approved by the chief of staff, defense minister and prime minister – to be ready to shorten the fighting which could erupt at any minute, and this places immediate and even heavier responsibility on the shoulders of Eshel and his people. Neutralizing tens of thousands of rockets and missiles in Lebanon and Gaza is a Sisyphean mission. The immobile launchers from which the missiles are fired to a larger range, with the heavy and relatively accurate warhead, are fortified and well hidden in the homes of citizens or in hidden launching holes (dug in the ground and operated by remote control); their operators move between them, rearm them and hit the IDF forces moving towards them through tunnels.

 

The main difficultly is using intelligence to locate them, and targeting them may also lead to the killing of uninvolved civilians and stir up the world against us. Hunting for the portable launchers is even more difficult. It requires close surveillance of the launching areas, and if they are located – an aircraft or another instrument is needed to accurately hit the launchers' truck while it is still exposed on the ground or while its driver is attempting to hide under the pillars of a building.  

 

In the Second Lebanon War, the IAF was successful – facing a store of missiles which is at least six times smaller than what Hezbollah has today – but these missions proved to be tough even then. In addition ,the pilots will have to operate while bases are being fired on and defend themselves against Russian-made antiaircraft missiles which may have reached Hezbollah, or shoulder missiles which may have reached the Gazans. In order to overcome the difficulties and climb up according to the extent of the task, the IAF has been undergoing some processes of change in the past two years. The most important process is the effort to increase the "attack outputs": The number of sorties, but mainly the number of attacked targets and the damage inflicted on them…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents

ABOVE AND BEYOND:

THE BIRTH OF THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE

Daniel Smajovits                         

Jewish Tribune, Feb. 19, 2014

 

The Valley of Elah blends seamlessly into the landscape of Israel. Located an hour north of Be’er Sheva, it is said that it was there where David killed Goliath. Thousands of years later, the Israeli Defence Forces crisscrossed that same terrain during the War of Independence. Equipped with technology equivalent to that of David’s slingshot, they mounted their own campaign for survival attempting to follow in their ancestor’s footsteps. Yet, for the fledgling Jewish state, having any sort of an air presence would be impossible. While many miracles took place during the fight for independence, the greatest of which came in the sky – a story which is being brought to life by Nancy Spielberg in her latest documentary Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force.

 

While known today as one of the world’s elite military units, through the eyes of former Machal (volunteers from abroad) pilots, Spielberg brings audiences back to the very beginning, where these brave individuals planted the seeds for today’s Israeli Air Force. For Spielberg, in addition to honouring the ‘Machalniks,’ this documentary was also about passing down the story to future generations. “It’s not just foreigners who do not know this story, but a lot of Israelis do not know about this and a lot of current [IAF] pilots do not even know about this. For me, one of the most critical demographics for this film is the younger demographic. There is a huge rise in apathy on college campuses. It’s not that they’re anti-Israel, they just do not see where Israel fits into their lives,” said Spielberg. “What my brother (Hollywood icon Stephen Spielberg) did with the Shoah Foundation was incredible; it is only a shame that we did not do this earlier to get some more testimony from those Machal soldiers,” she added. “This is how we will be teaching history in the future.”

 

During the tumultuous time that was Israel’s infancy, volunteers, numbering more than 4,000 in total, flocked to Israel from around the world. One of those volunteers was Canadian George (Buzz) Beurling. A Montreal native, he was arguably one of Canada’s most distinguished heroes from World War II. Following his prowess in the war, Beurling volunteered to join the Israeli Air Force, but was killed test-flying planes in 1948. For his sacrifice and heroism, Beurling was buried in Israel as a war hero. “There wasn’t a newspaper ad saying ‘Join the Haganah,’ it was illegal. I knew there was going to be a war there, I’m a fighter pilot and I wanted to go there,” recalled Lou Lenart, in the documentary. “The Arab countries had established air forces. We had almost nothing. [We had] four junk airplanes with different propellers and different engines from spare parts that the German Air Force left behind in Czechoslovakia.” “I remember sitting in the cockpit of my ME109 [German World War II aircraft] wearing a German uniform, a German helmet and a German parachute. What’s a nice Jewish boy from St. Paul doing in a place like this?” added Leon Frankel in the film. “The irony of it did not escape any of us.” “They were all very skilled pilots and navigators, many of whom emerged from World War II as highly decorated heroes,” added Spielberg. “Several people say that this was a miracle. I believe that Israel’s existence to present day is a miracle. When the scud missiles fall and no one dies or when the Iron Dome goes into effect: it’s a land of miracles.”

 

Yet, while Israel thrives today as an independent and powerful nation, her place in the world was a distant and perhaps unattainable dream for Zionists in 1948. However, as Frankel recalled, there was a more immediate role that they played, one that would have been worth the ultimate sacrifice, if it would eventually lead to victory. “Shortly before I left, I happened to be in Tel Aviv when they were bringing in refugees from the death camps in Europe,” he added. “I remember them getting down on their hands and knees and kissing the ground, I knew then and there that was the reason that I came.”…

 

Contents
                                               

THE YOM KIPPUR WAR WAS 40 YEARS AGO.

EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT IT IS WRONG                

Michael B. Oren                                                                                                              

New Republic, Oct. 15, 2013

 

Egyptians marked the fortieth anniversary of their army's putative triumph over Israel by bloodying one another in Tahrir Square. Syrians, too, commemorated the date with internecine violence. Only in Israel were chests, rather than heads, beaten in collective remembrance. The contrast illustrated the curious ways history can be marshaled, forgotten, and mourned. Memory indeed serves, but ever-changing masters. The Yom Kippur War—Arabs prefer the Ramadan War, as though it was a battle between fasts—erupted on the afternoon of October 6, 1973, when Egyptian and Syrian forces surprised and overran Israeli positions. The following three weeks of fighting was brutal, the scale monumental. Rarely in the post–World War II period have the actions of both senior and junior commanders, the mass movement of armored and artillery formations, and the maneuvering of entire armies determined the course of a conflict and its outcome. Never again—thankfully—did the Cold War combine with nuclear brinkmanship and OPEC blackmail to produce a global, nearly apocalyptic crisis. And an historical debate that rages to this day. Indeed, the moment the war concluded, the fight over its legacy commenced. 

In Egypt, for example, legions of schoolchildren daily ascend to Cairo's Citadel to tour the National Military Museum and its immense 1973 pavilion. Inside a nineteenth century-style panorama, through pieces of destroyed Israeli armor and aircraft and a curious iron engine labelled "Egypt's Secret Weapon" (actually, an hydraulic pump used to dissolve Israel's defensive sand dunes), Egyptian kids learn how their country's forces erected bridges across the Suez Canal and subdued enemy bunkers along the Bar Lev Line. With flags unfurling and bayonets fixed, they banished the occupiers, erased the stain of the 1967 debacle, and reclaimed sacred Sinai for Egypt. The rendition, if purplish, is true—but only to that point. Nowhere in the exhibit is it noted that the offensive was eventually blunted and beaten back to an enclave surrounded by Israeli forces that had spanned the Canal into Egypt. No mention is made that some 80,000 Egyptian soldiers nearly surrendered for lack of water or that Cairo came within Israel's striking range. And, of course, there's no hint that those soldiers and that city were saved by a last-minute application of American might and statecraft. Emerging from this arcade of glory, any child could rightly ask why, if Egypt had won such an unmitigated victory, did it succumb to such a humiliating peace?

 

The Egyptian exhibition also fails to note that at that same hour, two o'clock in the afternoon of October 6, tens of thousands of Syrian troops, spearheaded by divisions of Soviet-made tanks, punched through Israeli defenses on the Golan Heights. The reason for the omission is obvious: Egypt's need to claim that it defeated Israel's juggernaut alone. But the official Syrian version of the war similarly obscures Egypt's role just as it ignores all but the war's earliest stage. Though Syrian units swiftly succeeded in recapturing much of the Golan, they were almost as quickly stopped by numerically inferior Israeli forces and compelled to fall back on Damascus. The Syrian capital was also threatened by IDF guns which were ultimately silenced not by Arab arms but by Soviet threats and American pressure. Perhaps because, in contrast Egypt's foothold in Sinai, no part of the Golan remained in Syrian hands at the war's end, perhaps because of the army's failure to exploit the extraordinary advantages it initially gained, celebrations of "The War of Independence," as Damascus dubbed it, were relatively muted. Still, the annual parades of long-range missiles and other offensive hardware served to highlight the Syrians' steadfastness against the Zionist entity and to perpetuate the myth of their valor. 

 

This was the view of the war in Egypt and Syria until its recent clouding by turmoil. The Egyptian victory belonged to the military dictatorship of Anwar Sadat, predecessor of Husni Mubarak and, now, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The success of an ostensibly secular nationalist regime could not fully be shared by the Muslim Brotherhood. The peace with Israel, though long reduced to mere non-belligerency, was not only injurious to Egyptian pride but theologically abhorrent to Islamists. The Syrian "independence" was claimed by Hafez al-Assad, the homicidal father of the even more murderous Bashar, both Baathists, both repugnant to the rebels. Little wonder that in both Egypt and Syria this year, October 6 was occasioned not by celebrating past battles against an external enemy but rather by the civil struggles for Egypt and Syria's future.

 

More paradoxically, perhaps, was the manner with which Israelis observed the forty years' mark. To be sure, each Yom Kippur yields an outpouring of public grief over the battlefield deaths of more than 2,500 Israeli soldiers—the equivalent, in current per capita terms, of 230,000 Americans—and the maiming of vastly more. The nation remained traumatized by the instantaneous transformation of the IDF from invincible machine to semi-functional family and all in a single day, Judaism's holiest. The iconic image of the Israeli paratroopers gazing dreamily before the Western Wall in 1967 collided with those of Israeli POWs in Syria and Egypt and of Prime Minister Golda Meir weeping before that same Wall. In response to that shock, a great many Israelis either turned toward or away from religion, pivoted right to the settler movement or leftward to Peace Now. Whether perceived as the result of the failure of Israeli leaders to launch a preemptive strike or their hubristic rejection of Egypt's peace offers, Israelis uniformly view the war as a type of punishment—in the term coined by former general and president Chaim Herzog, a War of Atonement.

 

This year, especially, Yom Kippur was a day of national paroxysm. The "generation of Sinai," recalling the biblical Children of Israel who roamed the desert for forty years cleansing themselves of the taint of slavery, still colors modern Israeli politics and intellectual life. The media and public discourse dealt with little else than the catastrophe of 1973, with the enduring torment, self-criticism, and loss. Yet here lies the paradox. Unlike Americans, who take pride in wars that began with surprise attacks such as those on Fort Sumter or Pearl Harbor but which concluded with brilliant victories, Israelis cannot celebrate what was arguably their most remarkable military feat. Indeed, cadets at the U.S. service academies study not the lightening success of the Six-Day War but Israel's astonishing ability to alter tactics overnight to meet new challenges—to put paratroopers in front of, rather than behind, armored units to neutralize advanced anti-tank missiles, to improvise the game-changing pincer movement across the Canal. Israelis seem unaware that the Six-Day War was also an intelligence failure—the IDF predicted that war was unlikely before 1970—and less than impressed that their soldiers' sacrifice, though agonizing, saved countless Israeli lives. Indeed, Israel's enemies also derived lessons from the war. They saw how, while enjoying total surprise and overwhelming advantages in men and materiel, Arab armies still could not prevail, could not even avert defeat. Despairing of destroying Israel by conventional means, its adversaries turned to terror and delegitimization, which have similarly failed. Egyptian and Syrian rulers meanwhile opted for quiet, if not peaceful, borders which facilitated the beating of a great many Israeli swords into ploughshares. This, in turn, helped the Jewish State to absorb a million refuges and modernize its economy. 

 

The memories of the Yom Kippur epic have also impacted its other protagonists. Remembering the hours-long gas lines precipitated by the Arab oil boycott, Americans have ever since striven for energy independence from the Middle East. The U.S.-Israel strategic alliance, founded in 1967 but galvanized in 1973, has remained a multi-faceted mainstay of American foreign policy. But fewer Americans are willing to pursue the type of gunboat diplomacy that proved so decisive in 1973, to preserve the Persian Gulf primacy considered precious during the Kissingerian age, or to maintain the bonds forged with Egypt's military rulers—one of America's proudest achievements of the war. The Russians, on the other hand, are yearning to return to their role as Cold War players, as owners of a Mediterranean fleet capable of going eyeball-to-eyeball with America's. Though it signaled the end of the Soviets' Middle Eastern empire, 1973 remains the high watermark which Moscow still aspires to regain. The ghosts of the Yom Kippur War will no doubt continue to alter their shape and meaning according to shifts in international and Middle Eastern affairs. Unchanging, though, will be the debates they spur—that and their power to haunt us.

 

Remembering the Yom Kippur War, 40 Years On: Jerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2013—On the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, remembering a tragedy that history will not forget.

40 Years Since the Yom Kippur War #1: The First Strike: IDF Blog, Oct. 7, 2013 —40 years ago, during Yom Kippur, Israel faced one of the biggest challenges of its history.

Three films to focus on Israeli Air Force: Jewish Journal, Feb. 27, 2013—Some 65 years after a band of foreign volunteers fought in the skies above Israel to assure the nation’s birth and survival, filmmakers are racing to bring their exploits to the screen before the last of the breed passes away.

Sample Reel for 'Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force' (Video): Playmount Productions, 2014

 

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

ZACHOR! REMEMBER! YOM HASIKARON: 2014/5774

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Israel Remembers 23,169 Fallen Soldiers: Israel Hayom, May. 2, 2014— This year's Memorial Day for Fallen soldiers will commemorate the 23,196 soldiers who have died since 1860.

Not Home Alone: Foreigners Came to Israel's Rescue in 1948: Andrew Esensten, Ha’aretz, Jun. 15, 2012— Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion called them "the Diaspora's most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel," and in recent years the volunteers from 58 countries who fought for Israel during its War of Independence have sought greater recognition for the crucial role they played in the struggle for a Jewish homeland.

We Haven’t Forgotten: Itay Itamar, Israeli Air Force Magazine, Feb. 27, 2013— George Frederick "Buzz" Beurling was born in Montreal in December 1921 to an observant Christian family.

 

On Topic Links

 

Tibi Ram: The Holocaust Survivor Who Fought in Every Israeli War (Video): IDF, Apr. 27, 2014

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014

The Last Descendant – The Story of Those Who Can’t Speak: IDF Blog, May. 2, 2014

With New Films, Hollywood Finally Telling Story of Fledgling Israeli Air Force: Tom Tugend, JTA, Apr. 3, 2013

                                               

ISRAEL REMEMBERS 23,169 FALLEN SOLDIERS              

 

Ya’akov Lappin                                                                                       

Israel Hayom, May 2, 2014

 

This year's Memorial Day for Fallen soldiers will commemorate the 23,196 soldiers who have died since 1860. Since last year's Memorial Day on April 15, 2013, 57 soldiers and 50 disabled veterans died. According to Defense Ministry for 2014, there are 17,038 bereaved family members, including 2,141 orphans and 4,966 widows of fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers and security agents. Eighty-seven percent of bereaved parents and 74% of widows are more than 60 years old.

 

According to National Insurance Institute data published in advance of Memorial Day, 2,495 civilians have been killed in terror attacks since the end of the Independence War on Jan. 1, 1950. Since last Independence Day, two civilians were killed in such attacks. From the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000 until today, 996 civilians were murdered in terror attacks. Terror attacks have left 2,853 children without a parent, 99 of whom lost both parents. There are 978 widows and widowers as a result of terror attacks, and 800 bereaved parents.

 

This year marks the fifth year that the Knesset will hold a joint commemoration ceremony for fallen soldiers and terror attack victims on the eve of Memorial Day. The event, called "Songs in their Memory," will take place on Sunday evening… The state memorial ceremony will take place on Monday afternoon on Mount Herzl beside the monument in memory of terror victims. The ceremony will be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Edelstein, Mor-Yosef, IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz and Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis. On Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m., a minute-long siren will be sounded throughout the country signaling the beginning of Memorial Day. At 11:00 on Monday, a two-minute-long siren will be sounded before state memorial ceremonies begin.

 

Each Memorial Day, there are typically three state ceremonies: a candlelighting ceremony, the laying of flowers on the graves of the fallen and the laying of Israeli flags with a black ribbon attached to them on each grave. The Families and Commemoration Department at the Defense Ministry is preparing for some 1.5 million people to arrive at military cemeteries throughout the country. A new Israeli application called "We will Remember Everyone" will allow visitors to navigate through the military cemetery on Mount Herzl and to receive information about the fallen soldiers buried there by scanning the gravestone. The application is part of an initiative called "Memorialize." The initiative, including the idea and execution of the application, was done as a volunteer project by David Ansbacher, CEO of Otzarot, a company that specializes in educational tourism using innovative technology.

 

On Thursday evening at an event for bereaved families called "Life Afterwards," in which people showcased art that they created as a way to deal with loss, Ya'alon said, "This exhibition gives us a glimpse of a unique and touching way to deal." Peres met with the head of the Families and Commemoration Department at the Defense Ministry, Aryeh Moalem, Yad Labanim Chairman Eli Ben-Shem and Bereaved Families representatives ahead of Memorial Day. One representative said, "Israeli children do not know stories of heroism from the war." To which Peres responded, saying, "The heroes of Israel's wars endangered their lives to defend the nation, and we must remember them for the good of our country."

                                                                       

 Contents
                                        

NOT HOME ALONE: FOREIGNERS CAME

TO ISRAEL'S RESCUE IN 1948  

Andrew Esensten                      

Ha’aretz, Jun. 15, 2012

 

Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion called them "the Diaspora's most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel," and in recent years the volunteers from 58 countries who fought for Israel during its War of Independence have sought greater recognition for the crucial role they played in the struggle for a Jewish homeland. A new addition to the core exhibition at Tel Aviv's Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, represents a modest step in that direction, said several of the volunteers, now in their late 80s and early 90s, at the opening of the exhibit earlier this month (The exhibition continues to be open in 2014—Ed.). The exhibit is entitled "By Land, By Air and By Sea: Volunteers from Abroad in Israel's War of Independence."

 

"Machal is one of the glorious chapters in the annals of modern Jewish history," said Stanley Medicks, 86, using the Hebrew acronym for Mitnadvei Chutz Le'aretz, or overseas volunteers. "I find that Beit Hatfutsot is the ideal place to tell the remarkable, heroic story of what we did in 1948." Medicks was born in Nairobi to Polish parents, served in the 72nd Infantry Battalion and later founded a branch of the World Machal organization for UK and Scandinavian veterans. He told Ha’aretz that he petitioned the museum for years to recognize Machal and, after finally getting approval for an exhibit, raised the NIS 120,000 necessary to mount it from donors around the world, including the American Veterans of Israel.

 

Approximately 4,500 Machalniks – men and women, Jews and non-Jews – served in the Israel Defense Forces and its forerunners (the Haganah, Palmach and other underground organizations ) between 1947 and 1949. Most of them were recently discharged World War II veterans who put their lives on hold to travel to Israel and offer their desperately needed military expertise. Some, like Murray Greenfield, participated mainly out of Zionist fervor and a sense of Jewish solidarity, especially in the wake of the Holocaust. "We failed our fellow Jews during the Holocaust," said Greenfield, 85, who was recruited at a synagogue in New York for the clandestine mission to resettle European Jews in Mandate Palestine known as "Aliyah Bet." "You cannot sit back and think things are going to happen," Greenfield said. "You've got to make them happen."

 

While Machalniks served in all branches of the Israeli military and held key positions of command, often despite speaking little Hebrew, they may have had the greatest impact as members of the Israel Air Force. Nearly all of the IAF's aircrew and technical personnel were overseas volunteers who helped buy and smuggle planes, train Israeli pilots and lead bombing missions. Harold "Smoky" Simon, a veteran of the South African Air Force, served as the IAF's chief of air operations and flew 24 missions in 1948. His logbook, which is on display in the exhibit, contains details of raids on Arab cities. "When we really wanted to start showing our muscle, we attacked Damascus," recalled Simon, 92, who is the chairman of World Machal. "We flew in a DC-3 Dakota aircraft and we loaded her with 16 80-kilogram bombs, boxes of incendiaries and crates of empty bottles, which created a terrifying noise when they fell to the ground. The planes didn't have bomb racks in the early days, so we had a category of 'bomb-chucker,' young Israelis who carried the bombs on their laps and pitched them when we were over the target."

 

The exhibit features handmade models of the planes flown by Simon and his comrades, as well as black-and-white photographs from the war and line drawings of Machalniks by celebrated Israeli artist Nachum Gutman. A short documentary plays on one wall of the exhibit, which is located in the "Return to Zion" section of the core exhibit. A number of the Machalniks interviewed expressed muted disappointment with how the exhibit turned out, though they said they took pride in the fact that future visitors to the museum, including newly enlisted IDF soldiers, will know something of Machal's history.

 

"What is missing that you will get from talking to every single one of us is the passion, the determination, the spirit of mission, the understanding of our place in this moment of history," said Zipporah Porath, 88, a New Yorker who arrived in Israel in 1947, intending to study at the Hebrew University, but who joined the Haganah instead and served as a medic during the Siege of Jerusalem. "This exhibition is only the beginning," said Medicks.

 

Shira Friedman, the exhibit's curator, explained that her goal was to incorporate the Machal experience into the larger narrative of Jewish volunteerism and heroism. She commended the Machalniks for pursuing their ambitious vision for the exhibit, even when it clashed with her own. "If they have one thing in common, it's that personality: I have a target and I'm going to conquer the target," said Friedman, who is part of the team that is completely redesigning the core exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot. (A museum spokesperson said the new exhibit is expected to open in 2014. )

 

As Friedman came to learn, the Machalniks are proud of their service and protective of their legacy. Their website, www.machal.org.il, contains exhaustive Machal archives and more than 200 personal narratives. They have organized smaller exhibits around the world, including at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City and on Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. In addition, they erected a Machal Memorial monument near Sha'ar Hagai in the Judean Hills to commemorate the 123 fallen volunteers and gather there every year on Israel's Memorial Day to honor their memory.

 

At the dedication of the memorial in 1993, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said of the volunteers: "You came when we needed you most, during those dark and uncertain days in our War of Independence. You gave us not only your experience, but your lives as well. The People of Israel and the State of Israel will never forget." Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, the IDF's chief education officer, said in remarks at the opening of the exhibit that the Machalniks left a powerful legacy that continues to be felt today. "The foundation that you laid in spirit and action brings to Israel hundreds of volunteers each year to serve in the IDF and participate in the critically important defense mission," said Shermeister. Simon, of World Machal, said he frequently gives "pep talks" to groups of volunteers from the United States, England, South Africa, Australia and many other places. "It's wonderful," he said, "that we're able to maintain the spirit and the tradition of Machal."

                                                                               

 Contents
                                  
              

WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN                  

Israeli Air Force Magazine

 

George Frederick "Buzz" Beurling was born in Montreal in December 1921 to an observant Christian family. By age 14 he was already flying and wanted to join the Canadian army but was rejected on the grounds that he didn't yet know enough about flying. As World War II broke out, a desperate need arose for brave and talented pilots. The Royal British Air Force agreed to enlist Buzz and he crossed the ocean to enlist as a Spitfire pilot. He was an excellent pilot, a fact reflected in his many accomplishments during the war: he shot down 32 Italian and German enemy aircraft, 27 of them in combat above the island of Malta. He is remembered as the Canadian pilot who shot down the most enemy planes ever.

He was considered a ‘lone wolf' and developed fighting methods that he later taught the Israeli Air Force. For example, Beurling found that by shooting cannon on the approximated flight path of an enemy plane, one could attack the plane without straightening one's tail, utilizing a side angle. Pilots that flew with Beurling said that he would be able to notice approaching planes before anyone else, and was capable of counting them. As others were unable to see what he was talking about, they thought that he was simply nervous or tense, but in the end he was always accurate.

He ejected from two planes and was awarded four citations, making him the most decorated Canadian pilot in history. He was severely wounded but recovered and returned to fly. Towards the end of the war he returned to Canada as a national hero whose exploits and adventures were documented in detail in the book "Spitfires over Malta", co-written with Leslie Roberts.

George and Rick's father studied Holy Scriptures and the education that the brothers received at home and their worldview about Israel and the Jewish people was very much influenced by faith. "We very much identified with the history of the people of Israel. Our father always said that one day Israel would become an independent state and we always waited for it to happen", remembers Rick. "I think that after Buzz's experience in World War II, together with the fact that Israel was about to become a nation, he ran to help. Even though he wasn't Jewish, he had a Jewish heart".

 

George Beurling was offered a large sum of money to join and fly in one of the air forces that fought during the Israeli War of Independence, but he, of course, rejected the offer. He turned to the Jewish community in Montréal and offered himself as a volunteer to serve in the young air force, but he was turned down due to suspicion that he was a spy or was working for an enemy country's military. He did not give up and turned to Sydney Solomon, a Jewish community leader who was involved in joint activities between Canada and Israel, and tried to convince him. "Sydney sat with us in the kitchen and told us that it was very difficult for them to believe my brother, because they thought that it was a trick or a type of bait", recalls Rick. Sydney was skeptical of George's motivations, asking why he would want to come to fly for the State of Israel and George, whose allegiance was unmatched, was insistent and answered Sydney's questions with passages from the bible. "He wanted to be part of creation of Israel, re-establishing the State of Israel", says Rick.

At the outbreak of the War of Independence, Leonard Yehudah Cohen, a British pilot that also fought in Malta and George Beurling volunteered in the Mach"al (volunteers from abroad) group in the young IAF. Both of them were supposed to join Squadron A, today known as "Flying Camel" squadron, which was at the time practically the entirety of the IAF. "I didn't have a chance to speak with him then", explained Rick with sadness. "Sydney told us that he explained to George not to let us know when the time came. One day someone picked him up off the street, he got into their car, and got on a plane and left. There wasn't a chance for him to speak with anyone".

Their first task was to bring a Norseman plane from Italy to Israel. On May 20th, 1948, Buzz and Leonard went on a test flight on the plane that was to be brought to Israel. During the test flight, the plane caught fire and they crashed in the Rome airport. Maj. Gen. Motti Hod, formerly commander of the IAF, was then a young pilot named Mordechai Fein. He too was supposed to be on the plane. The circumstances of the accident are still unknown, but the conventional wisdom is that someone sabotaged the plane before the flight took off, knowing that it was bound for Israel. In the beginning, Beurling was buried in a Catholic cemetery in Rome.

"My father replied to the telegram that the "Hagannah" sent as follows: Your request touches us in our hearts. George, who devoted his last days to fight for the establishment of the State of Israel needs to be laid to rest in the holy land". On November 9, 1950, George was laid to eternal rest with full military honors in a Christian cemetery in Haifa. "At a later time, they said that maybe it was a mistake to request to hold his body in Israel and that they would check the possibility of returning him to Canada, but my family insisted that he would stay in Israel because that is where he wanted to be", explained Rick proudly.

This wasn't the first time that the Beurling family had visited Israel, but it was the first time that they fit it together with Buzz's story through the IAF. "60 years might seem like a long time", said Rick, "but it did not seem that way from a wider perspective". Buzz, considered today a member of the "Flying Camel" squadron, is honored in the memorial room of the squadron. 60 years after his burial in Israel, the Fallen Soldiers Department of the IAF renewed its connection with his family and invited the Beurlings to come to Israel for an official visit on Israel's National Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. During the IAF ceremony on "Mountain of Pilots", Rick served as a representative of bereaved families from abroad. "This is an opportunity for me to remember my big brother as a brother, not necessarily as a hero", said Rick. "It is very gratifying to see how much care the Israelis demonstrated in honoring his memory. I think that he was a bigger hero here than he was in Canada. In Montreal, he has a street named after him and in the last few years it was decided to name a school after him – Beurling High School".

"On our wall at home hangs a certificate from Israel, on which it is written that 300 trees were planted in Israel in memory of George a few years ago", continued Rick. "Every year, the Consulate General of Israel to Toronto invites us to celebrate Israeli Independence Day with them. One time I received a ‘Legion of Honor' in the name of General Wingate from the Canadian Legion. I was very proud to wear the uniform and a hat with the Star of David on it. Three years ago, the Canadian Air Force Attaché to Israel presented golden wings to me in Buzz's name in the presence of the IAF. My family and I are very appreciative of the treatment that we receive here in Israel, still after so many years. We always said that there was no way the Jews would forget my brother".                                                                                                            [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

     

CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic

 

Tibi Ram: The Holocaust Survivor Who Fought in Every Israeli War (Video): IDF, Apr. 27, 2014 —During the Holocaust Ze'ev Tibi Ram lost his whole family. He survived Auschwitz, a labour camp, and Bergen-Belsen. After being separated from his mother and eventually finding her at the end of the war, she disappeared and Tibi never saw her again. His brother survived until the end of the war, but died shortly after. Now, Tibi gives lectures to soldiers about the holocaust and his extensive military experience. He is also the proud grandfather of an IDF soldier

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014—For me, at the age of almost 94, this evening presents an outstanding opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me along my life’s journey.

The Last Descendant – The Story of Those Who Can’t Speak: IDF Blog, May. 2, 2014 —The Last Descendants are those who came alone to Israel – the only place where they could live their lives without fear – because the rest of their family perished in the Holocaust. Later, these individuals lost their lives defending the State of Israel and the Jewish people, leaving behind no family and effectively ending their family legacy.

With New Films, Hollywood Finally Telling Story of Fledgling Israeli Air Force: Tom Tugend, JTA, Apr. 3, 2013—Some 65 years after a band of foreign volunteers took to the skies to ensure Israel’s birth and survival, filmmakers are racing to bring their exploits to the screen before the last of the breed passes away.

 

 

 

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

ISRAEL MILITARY: IN THE “SPIRIT OF MAHAL”, IDF GETS STRONGER DESPITE BUDGET CUTS & U.S. DEFENSE REDUCTIONS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org



                                           

Money, Politics and Israel's Defense: Shoshana Bryen,Gatestone Institute, Mar. 7, 2014— Early Wednesday, the IDF intercepted a shipment of Syrian-made M-302 rockets with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles).

'IDF More Advanced and Accurate Than Ever’: Kobi Finkler & Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 25, 2014— A senior IDF source discussed the encouraging advancements as well as the budget constraints of the army on Tuesday, exactly a week after an IAF airstrike hit Syrian army posts in response to an explosive placed on Israel's border.

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2013— For me, at the age of almost 94, this evening presents an outstanding opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me along my life’s journey.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Serious Side of Dressing Up: The Art of Camouflage (Video): IDF Blog, Mar. 16, 2014

‘Most Advanced’ Gaza-Israel Tunnel Is Found: Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, Mar. 21, 2014

Meet the Steel Cats: Preventing Terror on the Gaza Border: IDF Blog, Mar. 25, 2014

Israel Open to Joint Missile Defense With Jordan, Egypt: Dan Williams, Reuters, Mar. 10, 2014

 

                                               

MONEY, POLITICS AND ISRAEL'S DEFENSE                                            Shoshana Bryen                                                                                        Gatestone Institute, Mar. 7, 2014

 

Early Wednesday, the IDF intercepted a shipment of Syrian-made M-302 rockets with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles). The missiles, which apparently went through Iraqi airspace to Iran and then by ship to the Red Sea, were likely headed to Sudan. From there, they would have gone by truck through the (mostly unguarded) Sinai to Gaza, from which they would have been capable of reaching nearly all of Israel.

 

That makes this a very bad day for the annual "Obama slashes Israeli missile defense programs and Congress puts the money back" dance. For years, the Obama Administration has sent a budget to Capitol Hill that included steep reductions in prior year spending for cooperative U.S.-Israel missile defense programs. Congress complains loudly then puts in the money it believes the programs merit. With the release of the budget figures two years ago, Defense News noted: “The Obama administration's recently released budget request details a cut in funding to the "Israeli Cooperative," as the jointly developed Arrow and David's Sling programs are known, from $106.1 million in fiscal 2012 to $99.9 million in fiscal 2013. And since Congress more than doubled the administration's request last year to $235.7 million, President Obama's budget would more than halve the cooperative's funding. Moreover, this marks the third consecutive year that the administration has requested less funding and it will not be the last, according to its own budget projections. And, indeed, the 2013 request (for 2014 spending) was $96 million, to which Congress added $174 million. The 2014 request (for 2015 spending) is $96.8 million for the "Israeli Cooperative."

 

Although the bipartisan effort in Congress keeps the money at a relatively even level, this is a terrible way for the Obama Administration to do business: Israel has made excellent use of the money and accounts for it in a well-established manner – unlike, say, much larger appropriations for Pakistan or Afghanistan. The American defense establishment wants, needs and appreciates Israeli missile defense capabilities and innovation. Money spent in cooperation with Israel on missile defense greatly expands the reach of American R&D dollars. And perhaps most important: When the President is leaning hard on Israel to be forthcoming and flexible on issues of its own short and long-term security, the signal that missile defenses are expendable as cost-cutting maneuver sends the wrong signal to both friends and adversaries.

 

The President told reporter Jeffrey Goldberg in a widely disseminated interview: “The legitimate question for Israel would be making sure that their core security needs are still met as a framework for negotiations led to an actual peace deal. [American interlocutors] have come up with a plan for how you would deal with the Jordan Valley, how you would deal with potential threats to Israel that are unprecedented in detail, unprecedented in scope.”

 

It might seem ungracious to point out that the highest echelon of Israel's defense and political establishment reject the fundamental American premise: that a multinational force, rather than the IDF, in the Jordan Valley will protect Israel. Furthermore, the plan is time-defined. With the disintegration of state boundaries around Israel and the rise of ungoverned or under-governed spaces that spawn jihadist groups of varying allegiance, size, and lethality, what happens when the end point is reached but the threats remain either within the West Bank or beyond?

 

The President was not unmindful of the larger problems: “You have the chaos that's been swirling around the Middle East…Syria…Lebanon…Gaza. And understandably, a lot of people (in Israel) ask themselves, 'Can we afford to have that potential chaos on our borders, so close to our cities? …There would still be huge questions about what happens in Gaza, but I actually think Hamas would be greatly damaged by the prospect of real peace.”

 

Does the president really believe that Hamas, the Palestinian franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood – supported, oddly, by Iran – would throw in the revolutionary towel if Israel makes a deal with Mahmoud Abbas for the West Bank? "Oh, okay," Ismail Haniyah, Hamas's boss in Gaza might say, "Abbas got a rump state for which he had to pay with a fixed Israeli border, no right of return and recognition of Israel as a Jewish State (Kerry parameters). I guess there's nothing for us to do but give up our Charter, our arms, and plans for the elimination of the Zionist entity, not to mention Fatah, and do the same. Never mind the Brotherhood, and never mind Iran." Not likely.

 

What worries Hamas in Gaza is the elimination of its sources of weapons supply; the possibility that Egypt will enforce the closure of the smuggling tunnels from Sinai; Israel's ability to intercept weapons shipments (not all, not all the time, but a lot of them); and the fact that Israel's entire defense calculus shifted the moment Iron Dome proved its worth. Israel no longer has to respond to every hostile act by Hamas. It takes the hair-trigger off the situation when the Israeli government can tell the public, "We can defend you from rockets; we ARE defending you; and we will determine how best to do that."

 

What is true for Gaza is true for Syria, Lebanon, and even for Iran. It should be a high priority for the Administration to ensure that Israel does not feel the need to engage in hostilities with the neighbors based on the agitation of an anxious populace. Missile defense buys time through reassurance for sound strategic reasoning, and the Administration should appreciate – and fund – that.

 

Even The Washington Post has come to understand that the President's management of foreign policy is:    based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which "the tide of war is receding" and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances – these were things of the past. … [Some leaders] will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.

 

As long as that is true in Iran, Syria, Russia, Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, Israel will have to rely on its military and intelligence capabilities to defend its people. President Obama has a well-known bias against missile defenses – our own and everyone else's. So perhaps the President is just having and eating his cake: while he knows Congress will change it, HIS budget doesn't support missile defense. While it is a poor choice on the part of the Administration to game that money, the so-far stalwart support of a Congress that understands that both Israel's security and our own require missiles defense is welcome.

                                                                         

                                                                       

Contents
                                        

'IDF MORE ADVANCED AND ACCURATE THAN EVER’                        

Kobi Finkler & Ari Yashar                 

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 25, 2014

 

A senior IDF source discussed the encouraging advancements as well as the budget constraints of the army on Tuesday, exactly a week after an IAF airstrike hit Syrian army posts in response to an explosive placed on Israel's border. "All of the national infrastructure is in the IDF's scopes," reported the source. "The army is preparing for the threats of the enemy, and for all scenarios demanding an immediate attack without time to prepare."

 

Speaking about the IDF's capabilities, the source noted "we are armed today with the most effective, advanced and, most importantly, precise weapons, that are much faster than in the past…If in the (2006) Second Lebanon War a time frame of half an hour was needed to conduct an air strike to take out an immediate threat, today that time frame stands at a mere two minutes," revealed the source.

 

IDF acquisitions ensure that the army will only continue to improve, according to the source. "We are about to acquire a new cannon, which not only fires at a rate four times faster than previous cannons, but also its precision and destructive power allow the army to respond immediately to threats, and also to drastically minimize the number of fighters in the cannon battery and unit," emphasized the IDF source.

 

"We're a very effective army," acknowledged the official. "You can compare the number of fighters under the Israeli air force's brigadier general as opposed to the same general in Western armies to understand how effective we are."

 

The senior captain subtly criticized IDF budget cuts, noting "the budget sword raised against the army forces us constantly to make creative technological solutions that can make operational activities cheaper while conserving human resources, such as in the new cannon. We're losing every fifth person in the standing army, and that isn't easy."

 

While efforts are being made to streamline the IDF and its chain of command, the source emphasized the importance of a strong presence on the ground. "It's true there is accurate fire, and quality information," noted the IDF official, "but still it's clear that the topic of ground maneuvers was and remains the greatest preparation need in the army." Without controlling the ground the IDF will never win a war, reports the source. "Without the exposed chest of the regiment commander standing opposite the terrorist and killing him, we won't be able to finish the fighting, and therefore the need for ground maneuvers is essential."

 

In closing, the source noted "we need to reach a situation where the amount of time fighting is reduced to minimize the damage to the home front as much as possible. That's our mission and we are preparing for it intensively, even in these days of resource cuts and reserve duty day cuts."                                                                                       

                                                                                                        Contents
                                  
              

THE SPIRIT OF MAHAL LIVES ON              

Smoky Simon                                                                                Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014

 

On Tuesday night, the South African Zionist Federation (Israel) hosted the 2014 TELFED Gala Dinner and Lifetime Achievement Award Celebration. The evening brought attention to South Africans’ contributions to the State of Israel and honored two exceptional South African olim: Smoky Simon and Morris Kahn. Approximately 300 members of the community attended, as did South African Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane. Simon and Kahn presented moving and informative speeches, sharing remarkable histories that fascinated the audience. Below is an adapted version of Simon’s speech.

For me, at the age of almost 94, this evening presents an outstanding opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me along my life’s journey. First and foremost, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty, which behooves me to recite the Shehehiyanu prayer. Secondly, to my family. To my wife Myra, who has been at my side for 66 years, and to our four children – Philippa, Saul, Dan and Aliza, who have given us great pleasure. We now have 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, of whom we are exceedingly proud. By the way, Myra is a veteran of two wars – she was trained and flew as a meteorologist in the South African Air Force in World War II, and she served as the first instructor in meteorology in the Israel Air Force in the War of Independence. My two sons Saul and Dan were fighter pilots in the IAF.

Three events have had a life-changing impact on my existence. Firstly, in January 1941, I volunteered to serve in the war against Nazi Germany. I was trained as a navigator-bombardier and served in the South African Air Force and Royal Air Force for five years in many theaters of that cruel war, from which I thankfully emerged alive and unhurt.

Secondly, in May 1948, I volunteered together with Myra to fight in the impending war against the Arabs, and I can state without hesitation that this was my finest hour and the most thrilling experience of my life.

There can be no doubt that the Holocaust, the Declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, and the War of Independence were the absolute pinnacles of 2,000 years of Jewish history – a history of exile, oppression and injustice. On May 15, 1948, six Arab Armies attacked Israel – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kaukji’s Army of Liberation. Britain had supplied Egypt, Iraq and Jordan with aircraft, tanks and artillery.

France had supplied tanks and artillery to Syria and Lebanon. The Egyptian Air Force had a fleet of 62 frontline British Spitfire aircraft plus a squadron or two of Italian Macchi fighter aircraft. Israel did not have a single combat aircraft nor a single anti-aircraft gun. There was a total and overwhelming imbalance of troops and military equipment in favor of the Arabs. Britain, the US and the Arabs were convinced that the war would be over within a few weeks.

On May 14, the Jordanian Army, led by British officers, overran the Etzion Block – 240 military and civilians were killed, 420 were taken prisoners- of-war, and the kibbutz was burnt down. Jerusalem was under siege, and there was a tremendous shortage of water, food and military equipment. The road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem had been cut off by the Arabs. Tel Aviv was under constant attack from the Egyptian Air Force and suffered tremendous casualties. In its attempt to capture the British Fortress at Latrun, which had been handed over by the British to the Jordanian Army, the Israeli forces sustained tremendously heavy losses. The Egyptian Army had overrun the kibbutzim in the Negev, which had fought courageously with hand grenades and rifles against tanks and armored vehicles, and by May 29 the Egyptian Army had penetrated into Israel right up to Ashdod, 30 km. from Tel Aviv, and if Tel Aviv had fallen, the war would have been over.

Against this very somber background, the Israel Air Force was born in the heat of battle. We started flying in small civil aircraft – which had been smuggled out of South Africa. The crew consisted of a pilot and a “bomb-chucker,” who held a 20-kilo or a 25-kilo bomb plus incendiary bomblets on his lap, which he would drop manually on the Arab targets. Massive efforts were being conducted to recruit World War II air force veterans to join the nascent IAF, and at the same time, an incredible and heroic operation of smuggling aircraft into Israel was taking place. This was perhaps the biggest and most noble and ethical smuggling operation in history.

On Friday afternoon of May 14, at the very time that Ben-Gurion was declaring the establishment of the State of Israel, the late South African Boris Senior as pilot and myself as navigator with an Israeli aerial photographer flew in one of the Bonanzas smuggled out of South Africa on the IAF’s very first operational mission for the purpose of reporting to army headquarters on the strength of the invading Jordanian forces. The Jordanian Army was the first Arab army to attack Israel, and on that flight we saw the devastation which had been wrought on the Etzion Bloc.

In parallel to the arrival of the smuggled aircraft, combat air crews which had been recruited from abroad were coming into Israel. These volunteers were known as “Mahal,” which is a Hebrew acronym for “Mitnadvei Hutz La’aretz,” meaning “volunteers from abroad.” During the war, a total of 426 combat flying crews (including 81 from South Africa) served in the IAF – pilots, navigators, bombardiers, flight engineers, air gunners, radio operators, aerial photographers. These World War II veterans contributed their invaluable experience and skills in support of Israel’s war effort. In June 1948, I was appointed chief of air operations of the IAF. By the grace of God, on May 29, on the very day that the Egyptian Army had reached Ashdod, the IAF’s first four Messershmitts, which were smuggled out of Czechoslovakia, became operational.

The Egyptian Army was of course not aware that Israel had just acquired combat aircraft, and suddenly four Israeli fighter aircraft attacked the Egyptian Army with bombs, cannons and guns. The Egyptians were stunned and destabilized, and for several days and nights, the Israel Air Force maintained continuous attacks and the Egyptians never advanced beyond Ashdod. By July 1948, 70 percent of Israel’s territory was occupied by the Arab armies, but the tide of war was starting to change in Israel’s favor.

The final drive against the Egyptians took place in December 1948 to January 1949. By all accounts, it was a brilliant campaign under the command of Gen. Yigal Alon with Yitzhak Rabin as chief of operations. The Egyptians were driven out of the Negev and into the Sinai Peninsula. And then came a United Nations Security Council directive that a final cease-fire in the war would take effect on January 7 at 16:00 hours.

Israel’s victory in the War of Independence has no parallel in military history. Up to this point, I have focused on the Mahal component in the IAF, in which I served, but let me add that this was only a part of the Mahal story. There were in all 4,800 Mahalniks (including 832 from South Africa) who came from 59 countries to fight for Israel – men and women, Jews and non-Jews. The Mahalniks included men like Mickey Marcus, who had been a colonel in the US Army in World War II. He was appointed to command the Jerusalem Front, and also commanded the building of the Burma Road, which relieved the siege of Jerusalem. Paul Shulman (an American) was the first commander of the Israel Navy. Ben Dunkelman, a highly decorated Canadian officer in World War II, was the commander of the 7th Brigade, which liberated the Lower and Upper Galilee. Mahalniks held positions of command and leadership in most branches of the armed forces.

What a rare privilege it had been for me to have served as chief of air operations during this critical and dramatic period in Israel’s history. In 1968, I was elected chairman of World Mahal. We had a number of very successful Mahal reunions in Israel, and we kept in close touch with Mahal Associations abroad, which regretfully have now mostly faded away. Most of the Mahalniks who are still alive are indeed a highly endangered species. I recently launched Mahal’s final assignment by undertaking to expand and to increase the facilities of the Michael Levin Center for Lone Soldiers in Tel Aviv, where Mahalniks from abroad, together with Israeli lone soldiers, can relax and mingle with each other. Happily the tradition of Mahal lives on. There is a new intake of Mahalniks into the IDF each year, who serve for a period of 18 months. I have the gratifying experience of giving talks to these new volunteers prior to their induction into the Army. It is truly heart-warming to know that to this very day, Jews from the Diaspora are willing to risk their lives in defense of the State of Israel.

After my two-and-a-half years of service in the Israel Air Force, Myra and I returned to South Africa, and in 1962 we came on aliya with our four children. I had the same trepidations and uncertainties as most olim as to whether I would be able to earn a living in Israel for my family. Having worked in South Africa as an agent for the Sun Life of Canada for 10 years, I entered the life insurance field in Israel. In 1965, I made the best business decision of my life. I invited a guy by the name of Moshe Wiesel to join me as a partner in my insurance agency, and our partnership has endured for 49 years…                                                             

[To Read the Full Article Click the Link –Ed.]    

                            

On Topic

 

The Serious Side of Dressing Up: The Art of Camouflage (Video): IDF Blog, Mar. 16, 2014—In brush, sand or snow, IDF soldiers definitely know how to dress up. As people throughout Israel find costumes for Purim, IDF soldiers put even the most elaborate ensembles to shame.

‘Most Advanced’ Gaza-Israel Tunnel Is Found: Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, Mar. 21, 2014 —The Israeli military announced on Friday that it had uncovered a sophisticated tunnel that stretched hundreds of yards into its territory from the Gaza Strip and could have been used to attack or kidnap Israelis.

Meet the Steel Cats: Preventing Terror on the Gaza Border: IDF Blog, Mar. 25, 2014—The IDF Mechanical Engineering Company of the Northern Division in Gaza faces many challenges.

Israel Open to Joint Missile Defense With Jordan, Egypt: Dan Williams, Reuters, Mar. 10, 2014— A U.S. general proposed on Monday that Israel upgrade its anti-missile systems to include neighboring Jordan and possibly Egypt, and an Israeli official cautiously welcomed the idea.

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org