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Purity of Arms

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Memories Early Period (1940's )  E-mail




Left to right:

1.  Unknown Ethiopian Jew.  He may be Israel Jacob, President of the Dire-Dawa congregation who came to several events in Addis Ababa, Abyssinia during 1941.

2.  Lance Corporal M. Ben-Arie, born in Palestine,  lived in Cape Town, SA.

3.  Polish Jew, name unknown, who came to Addis Ababa in 1932.

4.  Chaplain / Major Simon "Simi" Weinstein from Oudtshoorn, SA.  Was an organizer of recruits for the Machal and later became involved with the SA Jewish Federation in Israel and World Machal.

5.  German Jew, name unknown, who came to Addis Ababa in 1933.

6.  Percy Berger, born in Kupishok, Lithuania, living in Cape Town, SA




My experiences as a volunteer nurse  (an extract)
during the Israel War of Independence 1948-49.

By Ruth Stern

Early in 1948, the excitement of recruiting people to go over and assist Israel, was spreading by word of mouth across South Africa. I was at the S.A. Zionist
Federation in Johannesburg sitting in the  office of Simie Weinstein, the former chaplain of the South African Expeditionary Forces in East Africa. He had taken time to speak to me although he was extremely busy organizing volunteers to serve in the war that had broken out against the fledgling State of Israel.

“Ruth,” Simie Weinstein smiled,” I’m always pleased to see you, but my dear, this is about war and not for you. Right now we are preparing to send people  with military training to Israel.” “It is remarkable that the call to the South African ex-servicemen’s league had aroused an uncanny flame  of identification, especially from those who hadn’t been oriented to Zionism. The general response for volunteers from so many unexpected sources had been heartwarming.” Simie looked at his watch.

I realized that Simie, in his quiet and unassuming way, was being polite. He was aware that I had spent  the year 1946 in Palestine (then under the rule of the British Mandate) one of the 30 participants in the first course for Zionist youth leaders and now I had come to see him about returning to serve as a volunteer in the war. Despite my recent experience, his fatherly attitude to me hadn’t changed as he kindly tried to dissuade me.