A New Memorial to Australia’s Jewish War Heroes

Aug. 15 2018

The Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) has been widely considered the finest fighting force to take the field during World War I. In May 1918, command of Australian forces in Europe was given to General John Monash—a Jew. But Monash was not the only Australian Jew to distinguish himself on the battlefield. The Jewish Community Center in Canberra has just completed a memorial to the country’s Jewish war dead, as Katie Burgess writes:

A new national war memorial was unveiled [on Sunday] to remember the 341 Jewish servicemen who laid down their lives fighting for Australia, 100 years to the day since Monash was knighted on the battlefield. . . . Around 9,000 Australian Jewish men and women have served in Australia’s defense forces since the Boer War. Around 1,800 of those served in World War I.

Monash, an engineer and tactician of Prussian Jewish heritage, was the most famous of the Jewish servicemen who fought in the Great War. By the end of the war, Monash had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general and was knighted by King George V outside Villers-Bretonneux in the south of France. But despite this, Monash was denied the rank of field marshal in part because of his Jewish heritage. . . .

But . . . Monash [was] by no means the only exceptional Jewish military leader. There’s Lieutenant Leonard Maurice Keysor, who was awarded a Victoria Cross during the battle of Lone Pine in August 1915 [during the Gallipoli campaign]. For 50 hours he smothered bombs that landed in his trench or threw them back at Turkish soldiers, in some cases catching them mid-flight before lobbing them back at the Turks. Sergeant Issy Smith also won a Victoria Cross for carrying a wounded man 750 feet to safety under machine-gun and rifle fire during the second battle of Ypres [in 1915]. . . .

Then there are the heroes who did not make it back home. . . . Adolf [Hoffman] is one of the servicemen honored on the [memorial’s] cenotaph. The twenty-two-year-old navigator and bombardier died when his Lancaster bomber was shot down over Belgium on ANZAC Day [April 25] in 1944.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Canberra Times

More about: Australia, History & Ideas, Jews in the military, Military history, World War I

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jager File

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics