TO: THE EDITOR OF THE METRO 5th July, 2010
SUPPLEMENT OF THE JERUSALEM POST
The honour and tribute which is being paid to Lou Lenart by the U.S. Marine Corps in Washington on 6th July was indeed pleasing news for Lou’s “MACHAL” comrades.
The name “MACHAL” is the Hebrew acronym for “Volunteers from Abroad”. The declaration of the State of Israel by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on 14th May 1948, and the War of Independence (May 1948-January 1949) were the pinnacle of 2,000 years of Jewish history. On 15th May, 6 Arab armies attacked Israel – Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Arab Army of Liberation. During the war, 4,500 volunteers from 58 countries, mainly World War II veterans, came to help in the defense of Israel. With their World War II experience and expertise, they played an absolutely pivotal role in defeating the six invading Arab armies – a feat unparalleled in military history. The Machalniks served and excelled in 14 branches of the IDF.
95% of the 425 combat flying crews in the Israel Air Force were Machalniks, mainly from the Anglo Saxon countries. They flew the B-17s, Avia S-199s, C-46s, Beaufighters, Spitfires, Dakotas, Constellations, Harvards, Norsemen, P-51s, all of which had to be smuggled into Israel in the face of a U.N. arms embargo, whilst Britain had supplied Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq with abundant stocks of aircraft, tanks, artillery, etc.
Lou Lenart was an outstanding Machalnik. On 29th May 1948 he led the attack by four Avia S-199s against the Egyptian Army. They dropped their bombs and fired their cannons in the teeth of withering 37mm anti-aircraft fire from the Egyptians, and they stopped the advance of the Egyptian forces 16 miles from Tel Aviv. This daylight attack was rapidly followed by night attacks on the Egyptian forces.
Lou’s fellow-Machalniks share in his moment of glory that awaits him on 6th July.
The Machal Story is told on our website: www.machal.org.il
Chairman, World Machal