From Dublin, Ireland, Tom Carew
points out that 2007 is the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Jewish Legion, in time to participate in the liberation of Palestine. It is also the 140th anniversary of the birth of its commander, Colonel John Henry Patterson, and the 60th anniversary of his death. Patterson was an avid supporter of Zionism and commanded the battalion strength Zion Mule Corps, which preceded the Jewish Legion.
It is also the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War
. We hope that all of these events will be commemorated in a fitting way.
Part of the Zion Mule Corps served with distinction at Gallipoli and later, the Jewish Legion participated in the liberation of Palestine. Patterson fought against anti-Semitism to give his men their due and gain the respect that the Jewish recruits had earned for their bravery under fire.
The Jewish legion fathered the Haganah
, which fathered the IDF
. Many of the people who served in the legion went on to become famous in the history of Zionism:
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 Rafael Eitan.
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 Rabin.
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.
The distinguished careers of Jewish Legion soldiers are indicative of the importance of this significant event - the foundation of the first Jewish military force in nearly 2,000 years, and the man who led this force and defended it against racist detractors, Colonel Patterson, deserves to be honored as well.
In those early days, Jews and Arabs worked together to liberate their lands from the Turks. Perhaps now, Jews and Arabs can work together against the threats of Islamist extremism from Al-Qaeda and Iran.
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