The Christian Zionist Officer Who Helped Lay the Foundations of the IDF

April 19, 2016 | Myrna Strapp
About the author:

When, in the midst of World War I, Britain acceded to Vladimir Jabotinsky’s lobbying and created a Jewish volunteer unit to join in the fight against the Ottomans, it appointed Colonel John Henry Patterson as its leader. Patterson, who was born in Ireland to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, sympathized strongly with Zionism and was an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. Veterans of the unit he commanded later helped form the core of the Haganah. Patterson died in California in 1947, but it was not until 2014 that his wish to be buried alongside his men in Israel was fulfilled. Myrna Strapp, the attorney who made the re-interment possible, speaks about Patterson’s life and her battle to have his remains brought to Israel. (Interview by Yishai Fleischer; audio, 32 minutes.)

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