Monday, January 14, 2008

Betarim and the Six Days War

For many Betarim, the Six Days War was a watershed.

Recent participants in the Machon L'Madrichei Chutz program had all been at Amatzia, right on the border, and the returning madrichim to North America passed on their experiences. Ben Rappaport, a recent oleh from Brooklyn, lived there.

As soon as the tension period broke out, Betar took the lead among all North American Jewish youth and organized a volunteer movement. One Betari, me, Yisrael Medad, even found himself in a foxhole, awaiting the Jordanian advance:

On the day the war broke out, I travelled down to Tel Aviv after spending the previous night at Mevo Betar with the 'gang' of Betarim, including Benny Ben-David of Mizrachi HaTzair, learning extreme first-aid measures, and at the Metzuda picked up two volunteers to take them back to Amatzia (I will remember their names soon).

So, one of the first projects I propose is reviewing that short period:

1. How did the volunteers get organized? Who was in charge?
2. Any great stories while in the States?
3. Who actually came over? Where'd they end up? What did they do?
4. What did the Betarim who couldn't come do in NY and other cities?
5. Pictures?
6. Newspaper clippings?
7. What happened afterwards?


Risa Tzohar said...

I stood in Times Square with a shoebox and collected money. Bill Cosby gave me $2 in front of "Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not".

Batya said...

In Great Neck, we had a cleanup day. People paid us to do all sorts of things and the money went to some Israel fund. There was also a big united Great Neck rally, with all the rabbis, and I was an usher.

Ben said...

It was great to see Winkie and many other Betarim come to Israel. I believe it hit the newspapers in Israel.
Of course there are many memories that stick out.
One was of course the morale boost for the whole country that Betarim came to Israel and several that came to Amatzia.
The one photo that I so regret I did not take was of a 5 year boy, Illan Greenblatt, sitting at a small table in the Moshav’s hut/armory. Under a small light bulb he was loading bullets into a machineguns belt.
Another sight was seeing the night’s horizon around Jerusalem alight with various colors’ of red, orange, and white smoke glowing as the battles for Jerusalem was at its height.

Unknown said...

about two weeks before the war broke out my friend phil don from the bronx called me up and asked what i was doping the next day nothing special i answered so he asked how would you like to come to israel. i said okay and 2 days we were on a an elal plane to israel. the plane was empty except fpr our group of ten when i say empty i mean empty of people the plane was full every seat with gas masks. president shazar was suppose to join our flight we than waited for him in paris and in the end we arrived without the president but on shabbat much more to tell will write when i have more time.
benny ben david

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