|Machal Memorial Service At Sha’ar Hagai On Wednesday 22nd April, 2015|
This year's service was indeed memorable. Zippy Porath did her usual splendid job as Master of Ceremonies, and the participants included not only 1947-49 Machalniks, but their children and grandchildren, as well as lone soldiers.
Ami Spira of the Lone Soldiers Center lowered the flag to half-mast accompanied by our regular bugler, Larry Brandt. Roger Mendelzweig (France) accompanied by Amit Eytan, granddaughter of Harold Floom, a Canadian Machalnik, lit the eternal flame. Solly Ben-Ami (South Africa) and Arieh Czeret (UK) laid the wreath on behalf of Machal, followed by Major Yoel Levi laying the wreath for the IDF.
Myra Simon, a Machalnik from South Africa, and wife of Machal's Chairman Smoky Simon; Josh Flaster, Director of the Lone Soldiers Centre in Tel Aviv and himself a Machalnik from 2006, and Shani Doron, granddaughter of Simon Nowikov (a South African Machalnik) read the Names of the Fallen and the countries from which they originated.
Joe Woolf (South Africa) read the story of Louis Hack, a South African Machalnik who served and fell fighting in the 72nd Infantry - his son David told the story in Hebrew; Murray Greenfield related the story of Bill Bernstein, the second officer on board Aliyah Bet ship "Exodus" who was killed by the British, when they boarded the ship. Ruth Stern (South Africa) and her son Gideon relayed, in English and Hebrew, the story of UK volunteer Sylvia Beyrack who served and fell fighting in the Haganah.
Rabbi Judith Edelman-Green, who conducted the religious part of the service, in a brief speech compared the role of the Machalniks and their altruism in the War of Independence to the story of Pharaoh's daughter who saved Moses. She said: "Machalniks did holy work, with their great ingenuity and bravery, they pulled the rest of the country, newly arrived Holocaust survivors among them, out of the sea of attack. They inspired others. We are very moved to see that this love of humanity continues to this day, that volunteers are still coming and still willing to work for the good of others".
Nava Walker, granddaughter of American Machalnik Phil Levine led the singing of Hatikva. Sadly, Philip Harris, who in previous years sang Adon Olam and led the Hatikva, passed away a few months ago.
Mr. Itzhik Ochana, representing the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption was invited by the Ministry of Defense to attend our memorial service and gave a short address.
Chairman of World Machal, Smoky Simon, who attended the event in spite of a broken hip, gave a brief and moving address.
We were greatly pleased to see so many 1948 Machalniks join us for this year's memorial service, despite their physical difficulties, and the windy weather.
Dorron Kline, Joint CEO of the South African Zionist Federation, who works closely with Machal and the Lone Soldiers Organization, joined us on this memorial day. See photo below of the South African Machalniks who were present.
As Smoky said in his address: "I hope that with God's help we will all be blessed with good health for the future".