|Smoky Simon's address on the opening of the Stanley Medicks Machal Room|
SUNDAY 4TH MAY 2014
As Chairman of World Machal, and to my utmost regret, I have been compelled to cancel my attendance at today’s Opening due to severe medical problems.
1. World Machal decided to add the Stanley Medicks Machal Room to the Michael Levin Centre for Lone Soldiers in Tel Aviv. The wall panels in the room depict the story of Machal from Aliyah Bet (1946-48), through to the War of Independence (1948-49), the Sinai Campaign in 1956, the 6-Day War in 1967, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the first Lebanon War in 1982, and right up to the present day.
2. Stanley, who passed away in June 2012 was a “mensch” in the very best sense of that expressive Yiddishe word. He volunteered to fight in World War II in Ethiopia and Somalia against the Italian Forces who were allied to Nazi Germany. He threw in his lot with the Jews in Palestine in the impending war against the Arabs. He came from Kenya together with a batch of South African volunteers in August 1948, and he was a part of the 832 Machalniks who volunteered from Southern Africa (South Africa, Rhodesia, and Kenya).
3. Stanley was posted to the 72nd Infantry Battalion of the 7th Brigade as a Platoon Commander. The Brigade was commanded by Brigadier Ben Dunkelman, a highly decorated Canadian Jew in World War II. The 7th Brigade was involved in many military skirmishes that culminated in “Operation Hiram” which took place at the end of October 1948 when it liberated the Upper and Lower Galilees.
4. Stanley’s platoon included recruits from South Africa, Europe, Canada, USA, Costa Rica, and India. Their weapons were mainly Czech-made rifles and German machine guns, as well as Israeli grenades and sken guns.
5. After “Operation Hiram” the Brigade went through a period of intensive training, and Stanley’s platoon was sent to holding positions facing the Syrians at Kibbutz Mishmar Hayarden. The fighting phase of the war with Syria ended in March 1949 and the 72nd Battalion was disbanded.
6. After his discharge from the army, Stanley helped to build the sewage system in Mamila, Jerusalem, and there he married his first wife, Monica, an English journalist who had volunteered to fight in the underground movement, the Irgun Tzvai Leumi, as an intelligence officer. Stanley and Monica decided to live in Nairobi. Subsequently, they moved to London where Stanley started a second-hand car business in Camden Town.
7. In 1988 Stanley formed the British and European Machal Association and enrolled over 300 volunteers. Under Stanley’s leadership this Machal Association was very active and established a strong relationship with the Israeli Military Attaches in London. It was at Stanley’s initiative that with the help of the Jewish National fund (Keren Kayemet) a beautiful Machal Memorial was built in the Yitzhak Rabin Forest to honour and commemorate the 123 Machal volunteers who died in Israel’s War of Independence. This Memorial was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Yitzhak Rabin.
8. In 2012 Stanley participated in the opening of the Machal Exhibition which he had instigated in the Museum of the Jewish People (Bet Hatfutsot) in Tel Aviv.
9. Stanley is survived by his long-term partner, Marion, and his children Elana and Ashley, as well as grand-children and great-grandchildren.
10. Stanley will always be remembered as a great fighter, an impeccable gentleman, and a proud Jew.