Thursday, May 15, 2008

Machal Reunion and "Israel Arab Reader"

I recently received a copy of the seventh edition of “THE ISRAEL-ARAB READER”
by Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin published by Penguin Books. Having spent much of the last 6 years doing a little to try to counter the tsunami of lies by anti Israel forces around the world, I felt that I was well acquainted with recent history.

Having now read this book with its chronological, comprehensive references to speeches, letters, articles and reports, it is quite clear how much information I had been missing. This is a great reference book for those who are trying to get the truth across to a skeptical media.

The book commences with the Bilu Group Manifesto in 1882 and this seventh edition now adds the last 7 years, including the Gaza withdrawal, the Hamas election victory and the 2006 Lebanon war.

This week I was honoured to be able to attend the last dinner of the world reunion of Machal volunteers, who helped Israel get through its war against the mass of Arab armies with their declared aim of eliminating Israel at birth.

Israel’s War of Independence, first began on November 30, 1947, the day after the United Nations adopted the resolution calling for the partition of the Land of Israel, and culminated on May 14, 1948, with the end of the British Mandate, the proclamation of the establishment of the State of Israel and the invasion of Israel by regular Arab armies. The second period began the very next day and ended with the signing of the last of a series of armistice agreements, the agreement with Syria, on July 20, 1949.

The military campaign conducted by the Haganah and, later, by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), endeavored to make the utmost of the human and economic potential of the Yishuv (the Jewish community in the pre-state Land of Israel) and of the Jewish people throughout the world. Their efforts were directed to mobilizing military equipment and manpower in Israel and from the Diaspora.

During this period approximately 3,500 overseas volunteers, mostly Jews,
but non-Jews as well from 43 countries, were also recruited and integrated into the military network. Most of the volunteers were recently discharged soldiers who had
served in the Allied armies during World War II. The name chosen, in the autumn of 1948, to designate this group was – “Machal”, an acronym of the Hebrew words, “Mitnadvay Chutz La’aretz”, “Volunteers from Abroad,” Overseas Volunteers, or Machalniks, as they came to be known.

Some of these Machalniks, mostly in their 80’s came to Israel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State and the stories told were fascinating, intriguing and emotional.

It was a great pleasure to be amongst these people who helped the state overcome the Arab armies at such a crucial time

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