Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic
Jewish Legion (Hagdud
Ha'ivri, Gdud Ha'ivri)) Definition
Jewish Legion ( Hagdud
Ha'ivri, Gdud Ha'ivri) - Volunteers in the British Army organized by
Ze'ev (Valdimir) Jabotinsky
who initiated the idea, signed up 500 volunteers and with the help of
Colonel John Henry
Patterson eventually persuaded the British to form first the
Zion Mule Corps
and then the 38th - 42 battalions of the Royal fusiliers. They served with distinction on several fronts and helped the
British conquer Palestine from the Ottoman Turks.
was among the many volunteers in the Jewish Legion
The Mule Corps was disbanded in 1916
after service in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, and Colonel Patterson, who was ill, was billeted back to England,
where he later served in the Irish Fusiliers for a time. He was called up to lead the Jewish Legion in 1917. Both Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor who were officers, were recognized for their valor. The Jewish
Legion consisted of Jewish volunteers from around the world, including the US, but the core of included many men like Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor, who fled Turkish Palestine during WW I.
Jabotinsky was decorated for his role in
fording the Jordan River. General Chaytor told the Jewish troops: "By forcing the Jordan fords, you helped in no small
measure to win the great victory gained at Damascus."
|Soldiers of the Jewish
Legion at the West Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem in December 1917, after liberating Jerusalem as part of the
forces commanded by General Allenby
Soldiers of the 38th Fusiliers Battalion,
one of the components of the Legion, were paraded in the Whitechapel Road, led by
Colonel Patterson, in February of 1918 before they were shipped off to
Palestine. They met a tumultuous and joyous reception among the Jews of London,
as well as generating amazement among other bystanders, as related in this
article about the parade of the Jewish
Legion in London./P>
Jewish Legion on parade under
Col. Patterson in the Whitechapel Road, February 22, 1918.
It is falsely
stated in several histories that the Jewish Legion never saw service in Palestine. It is true that British commanders
were often anti-Semitic and tried to keep the Jewish Legion out of the fighting. Patterson and the 38th Battalion
were kept out of the fighting in Palestine until June of 1918, when they arrived from Egypt and were stationed in Sarafend camp. They were then sent to relieve the Grenadier Guards in Jaljulya, and then attached to the 60th division
and sent to the Jordan valley, where they formed a key pivot of the British line along the Melhallah rift. On September
19, 1918, the battalion crossed the river at Umm Es Shert. They advanced and held Es Salt in what later became
Thousands of Palestinian Jews joined the Legion in 1918, but the anti-Zionist
British military administration disbanded the Legion in 1920, leaving only the 38th Battalion, stationed in Palestine.
Colonel Margolin took over the 38th Battalion, renamed the Judeans, following Patterson's retirement. Margolin led
the Battalion against Arab rioters in Jaffa in 1921, whereupon the Battalion was disbanded. Jabotinsky was arrested for possessing a pistol after the
Nebi Musa riots of 1920, and was sentenced to 15 years in jail, but later pardoned. Legion volunteers helped to form the
nucleus of the
The list of those who served in the Jewish Legion includes many famous Zionists:
Gershon Agron, Mayor of Jerusalem.
Yaacov (Jacques) Behar, Zionist Activist in Brazil and Argentina.
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, second Israeli President.
Yaakov Dori, first Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.
Levi Eshkol, third Israeli Prime Minister.
Eliayahu Golomb, founding member of the Haganah.
David Grun (or "Green"), later Ben-Gurion,
head of the Zionist executive, first Prime Minister of Israel.
Dov Hoz, Zionist activist, Haganah fighter.
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, a founder of the Haganah and
leader of the Revisionist movement.
Julius Jacobs, Zionist Executive Secretary; killed in King David Hotel Bombing of 1946.
Dov Yosef (Joseph), Governor of Jewish Jerusalem during the 1948 siege, Minister of Finance, longtime Labor MK.
Eliyahu Kaminetsky, Haganah and Hashomer fighter; father of
Berl Katznelson, Zionist philosopher and activist.
Arieh Lubin, Israeli artist.
Abraham Melnikoff, Israeli sculptor.
Professor Gideon Mer, Physician, veteran of Zion Mule Corps, Jewish Legion and British Army in WWII. Served as medic in
Israeli War of Independence.
Nehemiah Rabin, father of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak
Edwin Herbert Samuel, 2nd Viscount Samuel; CMG son of Herbert Samuel 1st Viscount Samuel.
Ze'ev Feinstein, later Shefer, high-ranking Haganah leader, Knesset Deputy Speaker.
Moshe Smilansky, Israeli journalist and author; great uncle of author S. Yizhar
Eliezer Sukenik, Israeli archaeologist; father of Yigael Yadin
David Tidhar, Israeli author.
Joseph Trumpeldor, later killed at Tel Hai.
Synonyms and alternate spellings:
Hagdud Ha'ivri G'dud Ha'ivri
Further Information: Significant
Anniversaries: Jewish Legion, Colonel Patterson, 6-Day War
Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:
'H - ('het) a guttural sound
made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that
have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch,
especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.
ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch"
in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against
the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."
u - usually between oo as in spoon
and u as in put.
a- sounded like a in arm
ah- used to represent an a sound made by
the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative
'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic
ayin, a guttural ah sound.
o - close to the French o as in homme.
th - (taf without a dot) - Th was
formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there
is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and
Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.
q- (quf) - In transliteration of
Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding
words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for
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