"NOW THE WORLD WILL NOT BE HERE"
6 March 1947 The USSR Foreign Ministry adviser Boris Stein conveyed to the First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinsky a note on the Palestinian issue: “So far, the USSR has not formulated its position on the question of Palestine. The transfer of the question of Palestine by Britain to the United Nations represents for the USSR the opportunity for the first time not only to express its point of view on the question of Palestine, but also to take an effective part in the fate of Palestine. The Soviet Union cannot but support the demands of the Jews to establish their own state on the territory of Palestine. ”
Vyacheslav Molotov, and then Joseph Stalin agreed. May 14 Andrei Gromyko, permanent representative of the USSR to the UN, voiced the Soviet position. At the special sessions of the General Assembly, he, in particular, said: “The Jewish people suffered exceptional calamities and sufferings in the last war. On the territory dominated by the Hitlerites, the Jews were subjected to almost complete physical extermination - about six million people died. The fact that not a single Western European state was able to ensure the protection of the elementary rights of the Jewish people and protect it from violence by the fascist executioners explains the Jews' desire to create their own state. It would be unfair not to reckon with this and deny the right of the Jewish people to carry out such a desire. ”
Joseph Stalin acted as the "godfather" of the State of Israel
“Since Stalin was firmly determined to give the Jews his own state, it would be foolish for the United States to resist!” Concluded US President Harry Truman and instructed the “anti-Semitic” State Department to support the UN “Stalinist initiative”.
In November, 1947 adopted resolution No. 181 (2) on the establishment of two independent states in Palestine: Jewish and Arab immediately after the withdrawal of British troops (14 in May 1948). On the day of the adoption of the resolution, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Jews were distraught with happiness , took to the streets. When the UN made a decision, Stalin took a long time smoking a pipe, and then said: “Everything, now there will be no peace here.” “Here” is in the Middle East.
Arab countries did not make a UN decision. They were incredibly outraged by the Soviet position. The Arab Communist Parties, which are accustomed to fighting against “Zionism - the agents of British and American imperialism”, simply became confused, seeing that the Soviet position had changed beyond recognition.
But Stalin was not interested in the reaction of the Arab countries and local communist parties. It was much more important for him to secure, in spite of the British, diplomatic success and, if possible, join the future Jewish state in Palestine to the world camp of socialism being created.
For this, in the USSR a government was prepared “for the Jews of Palestine”. Solomon Lozovsky, a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), a former deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs, the director of the Soviet Information Bureau, was to become the prime minister of the new state. Twice the tank hero David Dragunsky, the Hero of the Soviet Union, was confirmed to the post of Minister of Defense; Grigory Gilman, the senior intelligence officer of the Soviet Navy, became the naval minister. But ultimately a government was created from an international Jewish agency led by its chairman Ben-Gurion (who comes from Russia); and the “Stalinist government”, which was already ready to fly to Palestine, was dissolved.
The adoption of the resolution on the partition of Palestine served as a signal for the beginning of the Arab-Jewish armed conflict, which lasted until mid-May 1948 and was a kind of prelude to the first Arab-Israeli war, which was called the “War of Independence” in Israel.
The Americans imposed an embargo on supplies weapons to the region, the British continued to arm their Arab satellites, the Jews were left with nothing: their partisan detachments could be defended only by homemade rifles and rifles and grenades stolen from the British. In the meantime, it became clear that the Arab countries would not allow the UN decision to enter into force and would try to destroy the Palestinian Jews before the proclamation of the state. The Soviet envoy in Lebanon, Malt, after talking with the Prime Minister of this country, reported to Moscow that the head of the Lebanese government expressed the opinion of all Arab countries: “If necessary, the Arabs will fight for the preservation of Palestine for two hundred years, as it was during the crusades ".
Weapons poured into Palestine. Began sending "Islamic volunteers." The military leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, Abdelkader al-Husseini and Fawzi al-Qawqadji (who had recently served the Fuhrer faithfully), launched a broad offensive against Jewish settlements. Their defenders retreated to the coastal Tel Aviv. A little bit more, and the Jews will be "thrown into the sea." And, undoubtedly, this would have happened if it were not for the Soviet Union.
Along with weapons from the countries of Eastern Europe, the military-Jews who had experience of participation in the war against Germany arrived in Palestine.
STALIN PREPARES PLACDARM
By Stalin’s personal order, at the end of 1947, the first batches of small arms began to arrive in Palestine. But this is clearly not enough. February 5 representative of Palestinian Jews through Andrei Gromyko earnestly asked for increased supplies. After hearing the request, Gromyko, without diplomatic dodge, busily asked whether it was possible to ensure the unloading of weapons in Palestine, because there is still almost 100-thousandth British contingent there. This was the only problem that the Jews in Palestine had to solve; everything else was assumed by the USSR. Such guarantees have been received.
Palestinian Jews received weapons mainly through Czechoslovakia. And first, trophy German and Italian weapons were sent to Palestine, as well as those produced in Czechoslovakia at the Škoda and ChZ factories. Prague earned it well. The airfield in České Budějovice was the main reloading base. Soviet instructors retrained American and British volunteer pilots — veterans of the recent war — into new cars. From Czechoslovakia (through Yugoslavia) they then made risky flights to the territory of Palestine itself. They brought with them disassembled aircraft, mainly German fighter jets "Messerschmitt" and English "Spitfire", as well as artillery and mortars.
One American pilot said: “The machines were loaded to the eyeballs. But you knew - if you sit down in Greece, they will take the aircraft and the cargo. Sit in any Arab country - just kill. But when you land in Palestine, poorly dressed people are waiting for you. They have no weapons, but they need them to survive. These will not allow themselves to be killed. Therefore, in the morning you are ready to fly again, although you understand that each flight may be the last. ”
Deliveries of weapons to the Holy Land are often overgrown with detective details. Here is one of them.
Yugoslavia provided the Jews with not only airspace, but also ports. The first to launch was the Borea transport under the Panamanian flag. 13 May 1948. He delivered to Tel Aviv guns, shells, machine guns and about four million rounds of ammunition - all this was hidden under the 450-ton load of onions, starch and cans with tomato sauce. The ship was already ready to moor, but then a British officer suspected smuggling - and under the escort of British warships "Borea" moved to Haifa for a more thorough inspection. At midnight, a British officer glanced at his watch. “The mandate has ended,” he told the captain of Boreas. - You are free, continue your journey. Shalom! ”Boreas became the first ship to unload in a free Jewish port. Following from Yugoslavia, other transport workers with similar "stuffing" arrived.
Andrei Gromyko, USSR Permanent Representative to the UN, actively promoted the idea of “the right of the Jewish people to create their own state”
Not only future Israeli pilots were trained in Czechoslovakia. In the same place, in Ceske Budejovice, tank crews and paratroopers were trained. One and a half thousand infantrymen of the Israel Defense Forces were taught in Olomouc, another two thousand in Mikulov. Of these, a unit was formed which was originally called the Gottwald Brigade in honor of the leader of the Czechoslovak Communists and the leader of the country. The brigade was transferred to Palestine through Yugoslavia. The medical staff was taught in Velk-Strébné, radio operators and telegraph operators in Liberec, and electricians in Pardubice. Soviet political leaders conducted political studies with young Israelis. At the “request” of Stalin, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria refused to supply weapons to the Arabs, which they did immediately after the end of the war purely for commercial reasons.
In Romania and Bulgaria, Soviet specialists trained officers for the Israel Defense Forces. Here, the preparation of Soviet military units for transfer to Palestine to help Jewish combat units began. But it turned out that the fleet and aviation will not be able to provide a rapid landing operation in the Middle East. It was necessary to prepare for it, first of all, to prepare the receiving side. Soon, Stalin understood this and began to build a "Middle East bridgehead." And already prepared fighters, according to the memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, were loaded onto ships for shipment to Yugoslavia in order to save the "brotherly country" from Tito overrun.
OUR PERSON IN HAIFE
Along with weapons from the countries of Eastern Europe, the military-Jews who had experience of participation in the war against Germany arrived in Palestine. Secretly sent to Israel and the Soviet officers. There were great opportunities for Soviet intelligence. According to the testimony of state security general Pavel Sudoplatov, "the use of Soviet intelligence officers in combat and sabotage operations against the British in Israel was already launched in 1946." They recruited agents from Jews who were leaving for Palestine (mainly from Poland). As a rule, these were Poles, as well as Soviet citizens, who, taking advantage of kinship ties, and in some places forging documents (including nationality), traveled through Poland and Romania to Palestine. The relevant authorities were well aware of these tricks, but received a directive to turn a blind eye to it.
By order of Lavrenty Beria, the best officers of the NKVD-MGB were seconded to Palestine
True, to be precise, the first Soviet "specialists" arrived in Palestine shortly after the October Revolution. In the 1920-ies, on the personal orders of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the first Jewish self-defense forces "Israel Shoikhet" was created by the resident of the Cheka Lukacher (the operational pseudonym "Khozro").
So, the strategy of Moscow envisaged strengthening of secret activities in the region, especially against the interests of the United States and Great Britain. Vyacheslav Molotov believed that it was possible to carry out these plans only by concentrating all intelligence activities under the control of one department. An Information Committee was set up under the USSR Council of Ministers, which included the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Ministry of State Security, as well as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces. The committee was directly subordinate to Stalin, and was headed by Molotov and his deputies.
At the end of 1947, Andrei Otroshchenko, head of the Middle and Far East Komiinform for information, convened an operational meeting at which he announced that Stalin had set the task: to ensure the transition of the future Jewish state to the camp of the USSR’s closest allies. To do this, it is necessary to neutralize the ties of the population of Israel with American Jews. The selection of agents for this “mission” was assigned to Alexander Korotkov, who headed the illegal intelligence department in Komiinform.
Pavel Sudoplatov wrote that he singled out for the secret operations three Jewish officers: Garbuza, Semenov and Kolesnikov. The first two settled in Haifa and created two agent networks, but did not take part in sabotage against the British. Kolesnikov was able to arrange for the delivery of small arms and faust attacks from Romania to Palestine.
Sudoplatov's people were engaged in a specific activity - they were preparing the same springboard for a possible invasion of the Soviet troops. They were most interested in the Israeli military, their organizations, plans, military capabilities, ideological priorities.
And while in the UN there were disputes and backstage talks about the fate of the Arab and Jewish states on the territory of Palestine, the USSR began to build a new Jewish state with Stalin’s shock pace. Started with the main thing - with the army, intelligence, counterintelligence and police. And not on paper, but in practice.
Jewish territories resembled a military district, raised by alarm and urgently embarked on a combat deployment. There was no one to plow, everyone was preparing for war. By order of Soviet officers, people from the required military specialties were identified among the settlers, delivered to bases, where they whipped up checks by the Soviet counterintelligence line, and then were urgently taken to ports where ships were unloaded secretly from the British. As a result in Tanks, just delivered from the side to the pier, a full crew landed and drove military equipment to the place of permanent deployment or directly to the place of battle.
The special forces of Israel was created from scratch. Direct participation in the creation and training of commandos took the best officers of the NKVD-MGB ("Stalin's falcons" from the detachment "Berkut", 101-th intelligence school and control "C" by General Sudoplatov) who had operational and sabotage experience: Otroshchenko, Korotkov, Vertiporoh and dozens of others. In addition to them, two generals from the infantry and aviation, the vice-admiral of the Navy, five colonels and eight lieutenant colonels, and, of course, junior officers for immediate work in the field, were urgently seconded to Israel.
David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir
Among the "younger" were mostly former soldiers and officers with the corresponding "fifth column" in the questionnaire, who expressed a desire to repatriate to their historic homeland. As a result, Captain Halperin (born in Vitebsk in 1912) became the founder and first head of the intelligence service Mossad, created the Shin Bet public safety and counterintelligence service. The history of Israel and its special services "honorary pensioner and faithful heir to Beria," the second man after Ben-Gurion, entered under the name of Iser Harel. Officer Smersh Livanov founded and directed the external intelligence of the Nativ Bar. He took the Jewish name Nehimia Levanon, under which he entered the history of Israeli intelligence. Captains Nikolsky, Zaitsev and Malevany "put" the work of the special forces of the Israel Defense Forces, two officers of the Navy (the names could not be established) created and trained the naval special forces unit. Theoretical training was regularly supported by practical exercises — raids on the rear areas of the Arab armies and sweeps from Arab villages.
Some of the scouts got into piquant situations, if they happened in another place, serious consequences could not be avoided. Thus, one Soviet agent infiltrated the Orthodox Jewish community, and he did not even know the basics of Judaism. When this was discovered, he was forced to admit that he was a professional security officer. Then the community council decided: to give comrade proper religious education. Moreover, the authority of the Soviet agent in the community has grown dramatically: the USSR is a fraternal country, the settlers reasoned, what secrets could there be from it?
Immigrants from Eastern Europe willingly made contact with the Soviet representatives, told everyone they knew. The Jewish military especially sympathized with the Red Army and the Soviet Union; they did not consider it shameful to share secret information with Soviet intelligence agents. The abundance of information sources created a deceptive sense of their power among the staff of the station. “They,” we quote the Russian historian Zhores Medvedev, “intended to secretly rule Israel, and through it also influence the American Jewish community.”
The Soviet special services were active in the left and pro-communist circles, as well as in the right underground organizations LEHI and ETSEL. For example, a resident of Beersheba Chaim Bresler in 1942-1945. he was in Moscow as part of the LEHI representative office, was engaged in the supply of weapons and trained militants. He kept photographs of the war years with Dmitry Ustinov, the then Minister of Armaments, later the USSR Minister of Defense and a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU, with prominent intelligence officers: Yakov Serebryansky (he worked in Palestine in 1920-ies with Jacob Blumkin), State Security General Pavel Raikhman and by other people. The acquaintances were quite significant for the person included in the list of Israel’s heroes and Lehi veterans.
Tel Aviv, 1948 year
"INTERNATIONAL" PELES KHOROM
At the end of March, the 1948 of the Palestinian Jews unpacked and assembled the first four captured Messerschmitt-109 fighters. On this day, the Egyptian tank column, as well as the Palestinian partisans were just a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv. If they had captured the city, the Zionist case would have been lost. There were no troops capable of covering the city at the disposal of Palestinian Jews. And they sent all that was to the battle - these four planes. From the battle back one. But seeing that the Jews had aircraft, the Egyptians and Palestinians were scared and stopped. They did not dare to take the virtually defenseless city.
As the date of the proclamation of the Jewish and Arab states approached, the passions around Palestine were heated in earnest. Western politicians vied for Palestinian Jews not to rush to proclaim their own state. The US Department of State warned Jewish leaders that if the Arab armies attacked the Jewish state, they should not count on the help of the United States. Moscow, on the other hand, insistently advised them to proclaim the Jewish state immediately after the last English soldier left Palestine.
Arab countries did not want the appearance of either a Jewish state or a Palestinian one. Jordan and Egypt were going to divide Palestine, where in February 1947 lived 1 million 91 thousand Arabs, 146 thousand Christians and 614 thousand Jews, among themselves. For comparison: in 1919 (three years before the British Mandate) 568 thousand Arabs, 74 thousand Christians and 58 thousand Jews lived here. The balance of power was such that the Arab countries did not doubt success. The Secretary General of the Arab League promised: "It will be a war of extermination and a massive slaughter." The Palestinian Arabs were ordered to temporarily leave their homes in order not to accidentally come under fire from the advancing Arab armies.
Moscow believed that the Arabs who did not want to remain in Israel should settle in neighboring countries. There was another opinion. He was voiced by the Permanent Representative of the Ukrainian SSR in the UN Security Council Dmitry Manuilsky. He proposed to "resettle Palestinian refugee Arabians in Soviet Central Asia and create an Arab Union republic or an autonomous region there." Funny, isn't it! Moreover, the Soviet side had the experience of mass migrations of peoples.
On the night of Friday 14 May 1948, under the salute of seventeen guns, the British High Commissioner of Palestine sailed from Haifa. The mandate has expired. At four o'clock in the afternoon, the State of Israel was proclaimed in the museum building on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv (the names of the names also included Judea and Zion.) Future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, after persuading ministers to vote for the declaration of independence, promising the arrival of two million Jews from the USSR within two years, read the Declaration of Independence prepared by “Russian experts”.
The mass wave of Jews waited in Israel, someone with hope and some with fear. Soviet citizens - retirees of the Israeli secret services and the IDF, veterans of the Israeli Communist Party and former leaders of numerous public organizations in unison argue that in rumors about "two million future Israelis" were really spread in postwar Moscow and Leningrad and other major cities of the USSR. In fact, the Soviet authorities planned to send so many Jews in the other direction — to the North and the Far East.
The Soviet Union 18 May first recognized the Jewish state de jure. On the occasion of the arrival of Soviet diplomats, about two thousand people gathered in the building of one of the largest cinemas in Tel-Aviv “Esther”, and about five thousand people stood on the street, listening to the broadcasts of all performances. A big portrait of Stalin and the slogan “Long live friendship between the State of Israel and the USSR!” Were hung over the table of the presidium. The choir of working youth sang the Jewish hymn, then the anthem of the Soviet Union. The Internationale sang the entire hall. Then the choir sang "March of the Gunners", "Song of Budyonny", "Get up, the country is huge."
Soviet diplomats said in the UN Security Council: since the Arab countries do not recognize Israel and its borders, Israel may not recognize them.
LANGUAGE ORDER - RUSSIAN
On the night of May 15, armies of five Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as "seconded" units from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and a number of other states) invaded Palestine. Amin al-Husseini, the spiritual leader of the Muslims of Palestine, who was at the same time as Hitler with World War II, addressed his followers with the admonition: “I declare holy war! Kill the Jews! Kill them all! ” "Ein Brera" (no choice) - this is how the Israelis explained their readiness to fight even in the most adverse circumstances. Indeed, there was no choice among the Jews: the Arabs wanted no concessions on their part, they wanted to exterminate them all, in effect declaring a second Holocaust.
The Soviet Union "with all the sympathy for the national liberation movement of the Arab peoples" officially condemned the actions of the Arab side. In parallel, instructions were given to all security agencies to provide the Israelis with all necessary assistance. In the USSR, began a mass propaganda campaign in support of Israel. State, party and public organizations began to receive a lot of letters (mainly from citizens of Jewish nationality) with a request to send them to Israel. The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (EAC) was actively involved in this process.
Immediately after the Arab invasion, a number of foreign Jewish organizations appealed personally to Stalin with a request to provide direct military support to the young state. In particular, special emphasis was placed on the importance of sending "Jewish volunteer pilots on bombers to Palestine." “You, a person who has proven his insight, can help,” said one of the telegrams of American Jews addressed to Stalin. “Israel will pay you for the bombers.” It was also noted here that, for example, in the leadership of the “reactionary Egyptian army” there are more than 40 English officers “in the rank above the captain”.
On the night of May 15, armies of five Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as "seconded" units from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and a number of other states) invaded Palestine
The next batch of “Czechoslovak” planes arrived on May 20, and after 9 days a massive air strike was delivered to the enemy. From that day on, the Israeli air forces seized air supremacy, which greatly influenced the victorious conclusion of the War of Independence. A quarter of a century later, in 1973, Golda Meir wrote: “No matter how radically the Soviet attitude towards us has changed over the next twenty-five years, I cannot forget the picture that seemed to me then. Who knows, we would have survived if it were not for the weapons and ammunition that we could buy in Czechoslovakia? ”
Stalin knew that Soviet Jews would apply to Israel, and some (necessary) of them would receive a visa and leave to build a new state there according to Soviet curves and work against the enemies of the USSR. But he could not allow the mass emigration of citizens of a socialist country, the victorious country, especially its glorious warriors.
Stalin believed (and rightly so) that it was the Soviet Union that saved more than two million Jews from inevitable death during the war years. It seemed that the Jews should be grateful, and not put a speck in the wheel, not lead the line contrary to the policies of Moscow, not to encourage emigration to Israel. The leader was literally enraged by the message that the Jewish officers 150 officially appealed to the government with a request to send them to Israel to volunteer to assist in the war with the Arabs. As an example to others, they were all severely punished, some were shot. Did not help. With the help of Israeli agents, hundreds of servicemen fled from groups of Soviet troops in Eastern Europe, while others used a transit point in Lviv. At the same time, they all received fake passports for fictitious names, under which they later fought and lived in Israel. That is why the archives of the Mahal (Israeli Union of Soldiers-Internationalists) have very few names of Soviet volunteers, certain Israeli researcher Michael Dorfman, who has been working on the problem of Soviet volunteers for 15 years, is sure. He confidently declares that there were a lot of them, and they almost built the “ISSR” (Israeli Soviet Socialist Republic). He still hopes to complete the Russian-Israeli TV project, which was interrupted due to a default in the middle of the 1990s, and in it “tell a very interesting, and perhaps sensational history of the participation of Soviet people in the development of the Israeli army and special services” , in which "there were many former Soviet soldiers".
The general public is less aware of the mobilization of volunteers to the Israel Defense Forces, which was conducted by the Israeli embassy in Moscow. Initially, the staff of the Israeli diplomatic mission assumed that all the mobilization activities of demobilized Jewish officers were carried out with the approval of the USSR government, and the Israeli ambassador Golda Meerson (from 1956 - Meir) sometimes transferred Lavrentiya Beria personally to the Soviet officers who went to Israel. However, later this activity was one of the reasons for Golda’s accusation of treason, and she was forced to leave the post of ambassador. When she managed to leave for Israel about two hundred Soviet soldiers. Those who did not have time, were not repressed, although most of them were demobilized from the army.
How many Soviet soldiers left for Palestine before and during the War of Independence is not known for certain. According to Israeli sources, 200, thousands of Soviet Jews, used legal or illegal channels. Of these, "a few thousand" are servicemen. In any case, the main language of “international communication” in the Israeli army was Russian. He also occupied the second (after Polish) place in the whole of Palestine.
The first Soviet resident in Israel in 1948 was Vladimir Vertiporoh, who was sent to work in this country under the pseudonym Rozhkov. Vertiporokh later admitted that he was going to Israel without much confidence in the success of his mission: firstly, he did not like Jews, and secondly, the resident did not share the leadership’s confidence that Israel could be made a reliable ally of Moscow. Indeed, experience and intuition did not deceive the intelligence officer. Political accents abruptly changed after it became clear that the Israeli leadership had reoriented its country's policy of close cooperation with the United States.
Leadership led by Ben-Gurion from the moment of the proclamation of the state feared a communist coup. Indeed, such attempts were, and they were cruelly suppressed by the Israeli authorities. This included the shooting of the landing ship Altalena, later called the Israeli cruiser Aurora, on the Tel Aviv roadstead, and the uprising of sailors in Haifa, who considered themselves followers of the sailors of the battleship Potemkin, and some other incidents that did not hide their goals - the establishment of Soviet power in Israel on the Stalin model. They blindly believed that the cause of socialism was winning all over the world, that the “socialist Jewish man” was almost formed, and that the conditions of war with the Arabs had created a “revolutionary situation”. Only an order “strong as steel” was needed, one of the participants in the uprising spoke a bit later, after all, hundreds of “red fighters” were already ready “to resist and oppose the government in arms”. The epithet of steel is not accidentally used here. Steel was then in fashion, like all Soviet. A very common Israeli surname Peled means Hebrew for Stalin. But the “crying” of the recent hero of “Altalena” followed - Menachem Begin called on the revolutionary forces to turn their weapons against the Arab armies and together with the supporters of Ben-Gurion to defend the independence and sovereignty of Israel.
INTERBRIGADES IN JEWISH
In a continuous war for its existence, Israel has always evoked sympathy and solidarity from Jews (and non-Jews) living in different countries of the world. One example of such solidarity was the voluntary service of foreign volunteers in the ranks of the Israeli army and their participation in hostilities. It all began in 1948, immediately after the proclamation of the Jewish state. According to Israeli data, approximately 3500 volunteers from 43 countries then arrived in Israel and took direct part in the hostilities as part of the units of the Israel Defense Forces - Qwa Hagan Le Israel (abbreviated AOI or IDF). By source countries, volunteers were divided as follows: about 1000 volunteers came from the US, 250 from Canada, 700 from South Africa, 600 from the UK, 250 from North Africa, and 250 from Latin America, France and Belgium. There were also groups of volunteers from Finland, Australia, Rhodesia and Russia.
These were non-random people - military professionals, veterans of the armies of the anti-Hitler coalition, with invaluable experience gained on the fronts of the recently concluded World War II. Not all of them had a chance to live to win - 119 foreign volunteers died in the battles for the independence of Israel. Many of them were posthumously awarded the next military rank, up to the brigadier general.
The history of each volunteer is read as an adventure novel and, unfortunately, is little known to the general public. This is especially true of those people who, in the distant 20s of the last century, began an armed struggle against the British with the sole purpose of creating a Jewish state in the territory of Mandatory Palestine. In the vanguard of these forces were our compatriots. It was they who in 1923 created the militant organization BEITAR, which was engaged in military training of fighters for Jewish troops in Palestine, as well as for the protection of Jewish communities in the diaspora from Arab gangs of rioters. Beiter is an abbreviation of the Hebrew words Brit Trumpeldor ("Trumpeldor Union"). So she was named in honor of the officer of the Russian army, George Knight and hero of the Russian-Japanese war, Joseph Trumpeldor.
In 1926, BEITAR joined the World Organization of Zionist Revisionists headed by Vladimir Zhabotinsky. The most numerous combat formations of Beitar were in Poland, the Baltic countries, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Hungary. For September 1939, the command of ETSEL and BEITAR planned to carry out the operation “Polish troops” - up to 40 thousands of BEITAR soldiers from Poland and the Baltic countries were to be deployed on ships from Europe to Palestine in order to create a Jewish state on the conquered bridgehead. However, the outbreak of the Second World War canceled these plans.
The division of Poland between Germany and the USSR and its subsequent defeat by the Nazis dealt a heavy blow to the BEITAR formations - along with the entire Jewish population of occupied Poland, its members were in the ghetto and in the camps, and those who found themselves on the territory of the USSR were often targeted by the NKVD for excessive radicalism and arbitrariness. The head of the Polish BEITAR, Menachem Begin, the future Israeli prime minister, was arrested and sent to serve time in the Vorkuta camps. At the same time, thousands of Beitarov heroes fought in the ranks of the Red Army. Many of them fought as part of national units and formations formed in the USSR, where the percentage of Jews was especially high. In the Lithuanian division, the Latvian corps, in the army of Anders, in the Czechoslovak corps of General Svoboda there were whole divisions in which commands were submitted in Hebrew. It is known that two pupils of BEYTAR, sergeant Kalmanas Shuras from the Lithuanian division and the supervisor Antonin Sohor from the Czechoslovak Corps were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for their exploits.
When the state of Israel was created in 1948, the non-Jewish part of the population was exempted from compulsory military service on an equal basis with Jews. It was believed that non-Jews would not be able to fulfill their military duty due to their deep kinship, religious and cultural ties with the Arab world, which declared a total war against the Jewish state. However, already during the Palestinian war, the IDF voluntarily joined hundreds of Bedouins, Circassians, Druzes, Muslim Arabs and Christians who decided to permanently link their fate with the Jewish state.
The Circassians in Israel are the Muslim peoples of the North Caucasus (mainly Chechens, Ingush and Adygs) living in villages in the north of the country. They were called upon both to the IDF combat units and to the border police. Many of the Circassians became officers, and one rose to the rank of colonel of the Israeli army. “In the Israeli war of independence, Circassians joined the Jews, who were then only 600 thousands, against 30 millions of Arabs, and have never changed union with Jews since then,” said Adnan Harhad, one of the elders of the Circassian community.
PALESTINE: ELEVENTH STALIN STRIKE?
Discussions are still going on: why did the Arabs need to invade Palestine? After all, it was clear that the situation at the front for the Jews, although it remained quite serious, nevertheless improved significantly: the territory allotted to the Jewish state of the United Nations was already almost completely in the hands of the Jews; Jews seized about a hundred Arab villages; Western and Eastern Galilee was partly under the control of the Jews; the Jews achieved a partial lifting of the blockade of the Negev and unblocked the “road of life” from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The fact is that every Arab state had its own calculation. King Abdullah of Transjordan wanted to capture all of Palestine - especially Jerusalem. Iraq wanted to get access to the Mediterranean through Transjordan. Syria dug in on Western Galilee. The influential Muslim population of Lebanon has long been eagerly looking at Central Galilee. But Egypt, although it did not have any territorial claims, rushed with the idea of becoming a recognized leader of the Arab world. And, of course, besides the fact that each of the Arab states that invaded Palestine had its own basis for the “march”, they were all attracted by the prospect of an easy victory, and the British were skillfully supporting this sweet dream. Naturally, without such support, the Arabs would hardly have agreed to go for open aggression.
The Arabs lost. The defeat of the Arab armies in Moscow was regarded as a defeat for England, and they were extremely happy about it, they believed that the positions of the West had been undermined in the entire Middle East. Stalin did not conceal that his plan was brilliantly carried out.
The Armistice Agreement with Egypt was signed on 24 in February of 1949. The front line of the last days of the fighting has turned into a truce line. The coastal sector of Gaza remained in the hands of the Egyptians. No one disputed control over the Negev by the Israelis. The besieged Egyptian brigade withdrew from Falluja with a weapon in hand and returned to Egypt. All military honors were rendered to her, almost all officers and most of the soldiers received state awards as “heroes and winners” in the “great battle with Zionism”. On March 23, an armistice was signed with Lebanon in one of the border villages: Israeli troops left the country. With Jordan, an armistice agreement was signed on Fr. Rhodes 3 April, and finally, 20 July in a neutral territory between the positions of the Syrian and Israeli troops signed an armistice agreement with Damascus, according to which Syria withdrew its troops from a number of areas bordering Israel with Israel, which remained a demilitarized zone. All these agreements are of the same type: they contained mutual obligations of non-aggression, defined the demarcation lines of the truce with the special reservation that these lines should not be regarded as “political or territorial borders”. The agreements did not mention the fate of the Arabs of Israel and the Arab refugees from Israel to neighboring Arab countries.
Documents, figures and facts give a certain idea of the role of the Soviet military component in the formation of the State of Israel. No one helped the Jews with arms and immigrant soldiers, except the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe. Until now, in Israel, one can often hear and read that the Jewish state survived the “Palestinian war” thanks to the “volunteers” from the USSR and other socialist countries. In fact, Stalin did not give the green light to the volunteer impulses of the Soviet youth. But he did everything to ensure that within six months the mobilization capabilities of the sparsely populated Israel could “digest” a huge amount of the supplied weapons. The young people of the “nearby” states - Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, to a lesser extent, Czechoslovakia and Poland - comprised the recruiting contingent that allowed the creation of a fully equipped and well-armed Israel Defense Forces.
In general, 1300 km2 and 112 settlements under the UN resolution were placed under Israeli control by an Arab state in Palestine; 300 km2 and 14 settlements under the UN decision were intended for the Jewish state under Arab control. In fact, Israel occupied a third more territory than was provided for in the decision of the UN General Assembly. Thus, under the terms of the agreements reached with the Arabs, three quarters of Palestine remained behind Israel. At the same time, part of the territory allotted to the Palestinian Arabs came under the control of Egypt (Gaza Strip) and Transjordan (from 1950 - Jordan), in December 1949 annexed the territory, which was called the West Bank. Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Transjordan. A large number of Palestinian Arabs fled from war zones to safer places in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as to neighboring Arab countries. Of the original Arab population of Palestine, only about 167 thousand people remained in Israel. The main victory of the War of Independence was that already in the second half of 1948, when the war was still in full swing, one hundred thousand immigrants arrived in the new state, which managed to provide them with housing and work.
In Palestine, and especially after the creation of the State of Israel, there were extremely strong sympathies for the USSR as a state that, firstly, saved the Jewish people from extermination during World War II, and, secondly, provided tremendous political and military assistance to Israel in his struggle for independence. In Israel, humanly loved "Comrade Stalin," and the vast majority of the adult population simply does not want to hear any criticism of the Soviet Union. “Many Israelites idolized Stalin,” wrote the son of the famous intelligence officer Edgar Broyde-Trepper. “Even after Khrushchev’s report at the Twentieth Congress, many state institutions continued to adorn Stalin’s portraits, not to mention the kibbutzim.”