|Smoky Simon's address at the World Machal Memorial Service, 5th May 2014|
(READ BY ZIPPY PORATH)
As Chairman of World Machal, and to my utmost regret, I have been compelled to cancel my attendance at today’s Memorial Service, due to severe medical problems.
My wife Myra (also a Machalnik) and my son Saul who were regular attendees at our memorial services will be with me at Ichilov Hospital today, but my family will be represented by my granddaughter Shelly Tick who completed her IDF service two years ago.
I have served at the helm of World Machal since 1968 – for 46 years. My office has been the ‘home page’ for World Machal. With the indispensable help of Doreen (Miss Machal) we kept in touch with Machal Associations abroad, with individual Machalniks, and with the children and grandchildren of Machalniks who wanted to know about their Machalnik parents and grandparents. Thanks to the diligent and enthusiastic support of Machalnik Joe Woolf we have a reliable database of the 4,800 Machalniks who served in Aliyah Bet, the IDF Ground Forces, the Israel Air Force, and the Israel Navy, during the period 1946-49.
In the last decade I realized that the Machalniks were “an endangered species” and in the last five years we have become a “highly endangered species”. Fortunately, we have left “our footprints in the sand”. We have Machal exhibits in the Ammunition Hill Museum in Jerusalem, in the Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot) in Ramat Aviv, and in the Stanley Medicks Machal Room in the Tel Aviv Lone Soldiers Centre. In the USA we have exhibits in the American Jewish Historical Society, Miami University, the Jewish University in Los Angeles, and in Milwaukee.
There are dozens of books on the Machal story, articles, videos, DVDs, and the latest addition is Nancy Spielberg’s film “Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israel Air Force”. This exciting and enthralling documentary will be entered into a film festival later this year.
I’ll conclude this address with a reminder of some of my words to my fellow Machalniks at the opening of the Machal exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot in May 2012:
“You came, you fought, you conquered. You played a pivotal role in Israel’s glorious victory against six Arab armies in the War of Independence. There is no parallel in military history.
There are 58 Muslim States and 86 Christian States in the world and there is going to be one Jewish State – the State of Israel – until the end of time”
The Lord will give strength unto his People, the Lord will bless his People with peace.