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British Commanders Join Tribute to World War I Jewish Legion on Anniversary

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The “incredible self sacrifice” of the individual Israeli soldier in battle is the main reason for Israel’s victories, the Chief of Staff of Israel’s armed forces, General Yitzhak Rabin, declared at a dinner here marking the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Jewish Legion which fought with Lord Allenby to liberate Palestine from the Turks in 1917. General Rabin shared the dais with Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, and General Sir. Richard Gale, both former chiefs of the Imperial General Staff and Raymond Schmittlein, former French Minister. Herman Michelson presided.

Praising the “human element” in Israel’s Army, General Rabin said “we have had to fight for the Jewish State all the way but we have never cultivated physical force as a goal. To us it is a last resort.” He said that “it is a source of pride that our men retain their integrity and humanity in battle. If I were asked to identify the main reason for our victory, I would say it was the human element, the man at arms, the individual soldier. It is true to say that the Jewish fighting man is among the best in the world.”

Field Marshal Templer said that in commemorating the Jewish Legion, “we must single out some of its individual soldiers who have also made their mark in other ways: David Ben-Gurion, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, Levi Eshkol, Col, Eliezer Margolin, Captain Josef Trumpeldor. It is also worth recalling that the father of the present Chief of Staff, Nehemia Rabin, served in the Legion. Today, the Israel Army is a continuation of that force and Israel has every right to be proud of her achievements.

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