(left) A Jewish
Soldier in the British Army, Middle East, 1942, prior to the Brigade's formation. The
Hebrew writing on
the shell reads: "Greetings to Hitler".
(right) The flag mutiny of 1943, Benghazi, Egypt, in which a battlion of the
(which later became the Jewish Brigade) disobeyed British army regulations and flew the
"What were we doing? Guarding and training. Training and guarding, you know? And in those days we started to fight to establish a real fighting force. So we put our flag up on the roof of the barracks. Our British Colonel said to put it down. We put up a guard around the flag but nobody would take it off--and that's mutiny."
in Palestine, World War II put everything on hold. The hopes for a homeland--and a
willingness to fight
for it--quickly gave way to an intense desire to fight Hitler.
While many Jews in
Palestine joined the
British army, others held out. Led by Zionist leader Chaim Weizman in London and Jewish
David Ben-Gurion in Palestine, they pressed for an all-Jewish fighting force that
would carry its own
flag into battle against the Germans.
For reasons both political and
fueled by anti-Semitism in the British War Office, the British refused. Not until late
1944 did Winston
Churchhill override the objections of his War Office and Colonial Office to allow the
formation of His
Majesty's Jewish Brigade.
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