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Foreign FightersTransnational Identity in Civic Conflicts$
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David Malet

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199939459

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199939459.001.0001

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The Israeli War of Independence (1947–1949)

The Israeli War of Independence (1947–1949)

(p.127) 5 The Israeli War of Independence (1947–1949)
Foreign Fighters

David Malet

Oxford University Press

The Israeli War of Independence was the first major modern instance of a transnational ethnic diaspora coming to the assistance of kinsmen in an ethnic conflict. Facing an overwhelming military disadvantage against professionally trained and equipped Arab armies, leaders of the Zionist defense group Haganah in Palestine worked to recruit experienced World War II veterans both before and after the declaration of the state of Israel. Recruits were warned of a final, post-Holocaust eradication of the Jewish people should the state fail. Subsequently, Israeli governments of all stripes have lauded the contribution of MACHAL volunteers as the reason for their victory. The effectiveness of MACHAL also led to counter-recruitment of a transnational, largely secular Army of Salvation to preserve Palestine as an Arab country.

Keywords:   Israeli-Arab war, Israeli war of independence, Machal, Haganah, Ben Gurion, Nakba, Arab Liberation Army, Army of Salvation

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