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Purity of Arms

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Editorial on Machal in Palestine Post  E-mail

(Forerunner of the Jerusalem Post)
NOVEMBER 22, 1948

The Israeli Press had discreetly muted its voice in the interests of the volunteers themselves, but now with the prospect of final victory on the horizon, the Palestine Post broke its silence on November 22nd 1948 with an editorial – MACHAL.

It said: "The volunteers from abroad have come to fight for Israel, because it is the birthright of every Jew to share in this venture, even if he wishes to return to the country in which he was born and to live there after the fight is ended.

Although the services of some of these men, experts in their own fields, were very desperately needed, no bright inducements could be offered them here, for the Israeli Forces are new and poor, indifferently equipped and very short of all the comforts of life; and the pay is the pittance that a citizen army pays when almost every able-bodied man is in the service.  They came, and they played an heroic and invaluable part.

There is not a unit of the Israeli army that is not proud of its Machal men, and there is not a squadron of the Air Force where Machal does not supply a significant part of both fliers and ground engineers.  There is not one part of the Army that was indispensable to victory, and that also applies to Machal, but without these men and women, the battle would have been longer and harder, and the losses much greater.

Not all of the volunteers speak Hebrew but that has proved no barrier to their fighting prowess or military skill, but it has proved for some a barrier to the full comradeliness of an Army in the field, and the understanding of all that goes on about them.

As a body the Yishuv knows and values them, but it is a fact that as individuals many have felt homeless and unrecognized.

It is for the Yishuv to remember that these of her soldiers are in need of a special welcome at all times because they have no homes here to which to return on leave, and to let them see Israel fully so that they may come to know it as a country, not just to die for, but to live in."