We honour the memory of too many members of Tzahal who at too early an age gave their lives in defence of the State of Israel. We also honour the memories of the victims of terror. We should also remember the 11 Canadian Machal volunteers who gave their lives in the 1948 War of Independence. Former Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion said that the “greatest contribution the Jewish Diaspora ever made to Israel was in providing the Machal volunteers.” They were:
• George (Buzz) Beurling of Verdun, Que. Canada’s top World War II fighter pilot. Killed near Rome, May 20, 1948, in a crash of an airplane being readied for its ferry flight to Israel. Buried in Haifa Military Cemetery, non-Jewish section.
• Harvey Cohen and Ed Lugech, first cousins, of Toronto. Served in Palmach Yiftach Brigade. Participated in the battles of Nebi Yusha and Malkiyeh. Missing and believed waylaid by Arab irregulars near Sarafand late June 1948. (Update per Maurice Moshe Sadeh: they were lost in the battle of Malkiyeh, on the Lebanese border, May 15,1948).
• Reuben Schiff of Toronto. Served on the Aliya-Bet ship Paducah. Killed July 11, 1948, near Abu j’Ab, while looking for his shipmate and Palmach comrade Lou Ball. Buried at Nachlat Itzhak.
• Sidney Rubinoff of Toronto. Served with the Palmach in battles of Nebi Yusha, Malkiyeh, Operation Danny, and capture of Lydda and Ramleh. Wounded at Latrun July 17, 1948, and died en route to hospital. Buried at Nachlat Itzhak.
• Sidney Leisure of Toronto. Served in the 7th Brigade, 72nd Battalion. Killed Sept. 7, 1948, during Operation Hiram in battle for Tamra Hill in the Galilee. Buried at Nahariya.
• Leonard Fitchett of Vancouver. Ex-RCAF pilot. Served in 103 Squadron. Downed in his Beaufighter by anti-aircraft fire on Oct. 20, 1948, while attacking Egyptian-held Iraq el Sueidan police fortress. Buried in Haifa Military Cemetery, non-Jewish section.
• Wilfred Canter (pilot) of Toronto; Willy Fisher (navigator) of Winnipeg; Fred Stevenson (co-pilot) of Vancouver. The three RCAF veterans served in 103 Squadron. During a night supply run to Sdom, on Oct. 24, 1948, their C-47 exploded in the air after an engine caught fire. Canter and Fisher are buried at Rehovot. Stevenson is buried in Haifa Military Cemetery, non-Jewish section.
• Ralph Moster (pilot) of Vancouver. Killed Dec. 7, 1948, with three others when their Grumman Widgeon crashed into the Sea of Galilee during a training flight. Buried at Nachlat Itzhak.
This list was compiled by the late Eddy Kaplansky, Machal pilot and historian.
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Endowment fund for Jewish education
In reference to Rabbi Jay Kelman’s column, “Four questions about Jewish eduction” (April 4), about funding for Jewish schools, or the lack thereof, it brings to the forefront an issue relevant to everyone in the community and the need for a solution.
I’ve thought about this and wondered if there isn’t a very simple solution to this issue. Namely: the creation of an endowment fund in the same way that universities such as Yale and Harvard have huge funds that provide financing for capital projects, research and scholarships. Their endowment funds are managed by full-time teams that create wealth from the initial principal, investing in all types of market vehicles. The funds have ballooned so large that the schools couldn’t even spend the money they have, even if they wanted to. Compared to the state of Jewish education, couldn’t two or three or 10 major Jewish philanthropists team up together to create a professionally managed fund so that the Jewish-education funding crisis could be virtually eliminated? Would this solution not be (a) the most financially viable for donor and school? This, because school and donor receive and share the created wealth from the fund. The fund’s principal (in an ideal situation, by confirming Yale and Harvard’s example) is not touched and ever increases its base through wise and professionally managed investing. And (b), is it not an enormous fulfilment of ensuring our communities, future health and commitment to our Jewish values?
Why can’t this be done and why aren’t our efforts directed towards this type of campaign, which has proven immensely successful in other areas of our world?