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Purity of Arms

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Machal Memorial Service At The Machal Monument Yitzhak Rabin Forest, Sha’ar Hagai, On Yom Hazicharon, Monday, 15th April, 2013  E-mail





Rabba Judith Endelman-Green and the Guard of Honor


This year, despite the death of many Machal comrades and the inability of others to be present, more than 200 people attended the Memorial Service. A group of about 15 Yeshiva students were brought to the Service by the daughter of a Machalnik from the USA (Philip Levine), and some Machalniks were accompanied by their children and grandchildren.


The M.C.’s of the Service were Zippy Porath (USA) and Ruth Stern (South Africa). Two visitors from the UK, Mrs. Laura Blank, widow of Machalnik Bernard Blank, and Michael Brecker, lowered the flag, while our bugler Larry Brandt played the Israeli Reveille (Taps). Fanny Aybes (France) and Hymie Josman (South Africa) lit the memorial flame, and Joe Leibovitz (South Africa) together with Georges Gasman (France) laid the wreath on behalf of Machal. As in the past, Major Yoel Levi, Head of Machal and Nachal in the IDF, presented a wreath on behalf of the IDF, and also arranged for the Guard of Honor, comprising 12 young Machalniks from abroad who are currently serving in the IDF.


Mike Amir (Australia) and Avi Grant (UK) read out the Names of the Fallen and the 22 countries from which they came. This year emphasis was placed on reciting not only the list of the Fallen but reminding us all that each and every name represented a Machalnik with a personal story. A brief account of the unique contribution of several outstanding Jewish and non-Jewish Machalniks was mentioned along with their names. Joe Woolf, Machal’s Chief Researcher, chose to relate the stories of the four women who fell: Esther Cailingold (UK); Sylvia Beyrack (UK); Deborah Epstein (Uruguay); and Leah Rosenzweig (France).


Smoky Simon, Zippy Porath and Ruth Stern, with Guard of Honor in the background



Rabba Judith Endelman-Green, who conducted the religious part of the Service, gave a most interesting allegory of Shema Yisrael and Machal in her address (see below), which was followed by Sheila Barak (UK) reading out Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) and Moshe Amiram (Argentina) reading the same Psalm in Hebrew and in Spanish.


Phillip Harris (UK) sang Adon Olam and led the participants in singing Hatikva. Murray Greenfield (USA) presented a brief and moving summary of the heroic services rendered by Aliyah Bet in pre-State Israel. Following the ceremonies veteran Machalniks were invited to meet up with the young Machalniks of today (the Guard of Honor), and share their stories with them.


At this point, several Machalniks from abroad arrived, after having attended the Israel Air Force Remembrance ceremony which honored their service to Israel in 1948. Leon (Sonny) Ospovat (South Africa), Michael (Mitch) Flint (USA), Zan and Noreen Swartzberg (South Africa) are currently in Israel with Mitch Flint’s son Mike who is filming a production on the Israel Air Force (“Angels in the Sky: The Birth of the Israel Air Force”).


L-R Back: Noreen/Zan Swartzberg (South Africa); Solly Ospovat (South Africa); Reuven Narunsky (South Africa); Mitch Flint (USA);

L-R Front: Harry Shaer (South Africa 1956); Smoky Simon (South Africa); Joe Woolf (South Africa)


A very special guest was also present, retired General Robert (Bob) Magnus,a 4-star General in the US Marine Corps, accompanied by Meredith Loveman.


Regrettably, Stanley Medicks, Head of UK and Scandinavian Machal, was not well enough to attend this year’s Service. Smoky read out some words written by Stanley in an article he wrote entitled “The Vanishing Volunteer”:

Sixty-five years ago, these bright-eyed, heroic, idealistic Machalniks were proud of having done the right thing at the right time. Today, those who are still with us – in their eighties and nineties – are still proud of what they achieved. They still love Israel and pray for the Jewish State’s security and survival”



We are commanded with a religious imperative and a command of the conscience to remember, to continuously remember. You, the heroes and heroines of Machal who survived, and those who fell, you are an inspiring example of "Shema Yisrael".To hear the call of the people and of history and so does the one of Eternal Mercy. Here, young men and women hear the call of the People of Israel in its hour existential need, and acted, rushed to come, without preparation, and without proper equipment, to fight for the Independence of Israel. An example of this is Harold Floom , a volunteer of Machal from Winnipeg, Canada, who was a flight engineer. He was particularly proud of their battle against the Egyptian Army, in the Faluga Pass, when Harold engineered to cut holes in the bottom of cargo planes in order to throw bombs down out of the bottom simple plane and, in fact, Machal was able to stop the attack in this improvised way. This was also just a short time after their Passover holiday, and they took its message of "Freedom" and brought it in to fruition.

Before the reading of Shema Yisrael the following words are found in the order of the prayer, "And bring to us the blessing and peace from the four corners of the world, and bring us to independence with dignity in our Land."

The soldiers of Machal stand as a lesson to all of us on how to be a human being, a Jew, a Zionist. As immigrants, one may ask, what is the added meaning of living in the Land of Israel? To live in Israel demands from the new immigrant or the volunteer, to fulfill his or her potential as a Jew.

"Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David."Isaiah 55:3

Give ear or in other words"Shema Yisrael."And also the continuation, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might." And we, in return, hear you; we will bend our heads and open our hearts, and will know how to act and how to contribute.