web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



An American-Jewish Hero In Israel: Murray Greenfield

Murray Greenfield

Murray Greenfield

I sit here savoring a treasure. It is a book about Jewish-American and Jewish-Palestinian heroism in the 1940s – a little known story and one I nearly didn’t read.

The title is The Jews’ Secret Fleet: The Untold Story of North American Volunteers who Smashed the British Blockade of Palestine. The author, Murray S. Greenfield, is the founder of Israel’s Gefen Publishing House and of much else. Joseph M. Hochstein wrote it with him.

Here’s how the book came into my possession. Someone named Murray kept calling me. He said he wanted “I should interview him,” like I’d interviewed fellow pre-state activist David Gutmann, a”h, in these pages (“Israel’s Rebirth ‘A Boring Story to U.S. Jews,” April 2, 2010).

He called at a particularly hard time and I could not meet with him – but then he sent a messenger bearing this book. It was then that I realized this was a living hero of the Jewish people who wanted to meet me. Duty called. We met the very next day.

Murray was wearing a cap and a jacket-sweater that I recognized as belonging to another time, perhaps the 1930s or 1940s. He spoke in English and Yiddish. He was charming, witty, energetic, and a living repository of vital historical information.

When this 87 year-old Jewish-American grandfather was young, he was an “illegal” volunteer sailor, part of a group (1946-1948) that brought European Holocaust survivors to Palestine by sea. The boats and ships were barely seaworthy.

Few of the volunteers were experienced sailors, (Greenfield had been in the Merchant Marine). Few were Zionists. Some were not Jewish. Nevertheless, for idealistic reasons, they faced death-dealing storms, dispiriting seasickness, failed engines, failed water tanks, little food, poor sanitation, and a hostile British blockade.

Jewish-American businessmen bought these “rust buckets” under fake company names, had them refitted, flew Honduran or Panamanian flags, left New York, Baltimore, and Miami and sailed for European ports in Italy, Yugoslavia, Sweden, France, and Bulgaria. Then, after many bribes and last-minute disasters, and often under cover of darkness, they made for Haifa or Tel Aviv.

British planes and war ships and troops stalked them, fired on them, rammed them, gassed them, and boarded them. After hand-to-hand combat with the superior British forces, nine boats were captured in striking distance of Palestine. The Brits sent all on board to prison camps in Cyprus or to jail in Atlit. Savagely, vindictively, the British returned one boat, the famed Exodus, to Hamburg, Germany.

The ingenuity, boldness, idealism, and bravery of these “illegal” volunteer sailors and their Palestinian officers in HaMossad L’Aliyah Bet was beyond belief. It was a real David and Goliath story because they took on the cruel and mighty British fleet—and, despite losses, hardship, and unimaginable danger, they won, as the illegal boats and ships brought so many of the European Jews who survived the Holocaust into Palestine –well, mainly into British prison camps in Cyprus, but close enough.

And they drew world attention and, ultimately, sympathy by publicizing British heartlessness, the tragic plight of the post-concentration camp refugees, and the extraordinary derring-do of the volunteer sailors.

Murray inscribed his book to me:

Shalom Phyllis

We sailed for freedom.

Now, we settle for greater freedom.

  The Jewish Press: How did this all come about?

Greenfield: It was very secretive. Only few of us were Zionists but everyone wanted to do the right thing. A guy, he didn’t tell you his name, talked to you, very shh-shh and said: “We are getting the Jews out of Europe. You might get arrested or killed.” I asked: “What’s the pay?” There was no pay. They wanted people they could trust, who were doing this for the right reasons. I had to go.

About the Author: Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a professor emerita of psychology, a Middle East Forum fellow, and the author of fifteen books including “Women and Madness” (1972), “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003), and her latest, “An American Bride in Kabul” (2013). Her articles are archived at www.phyllis-chesler.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “An American-Jewish Hero In Israel: Murray Greenfield”

  1. The face of a hero

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.
Iron Dome: Israel Ends the Long Battlefield Reign of the Missile
Latest Indepth Stories
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.

Iron Dome intercepted over 1,000 rockets aimed at Israel with a success rate of over 90% in 2014

IDF lone soldier and Ohio native David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

We talked about the responsibility that comes with the pen, its potential to influence and inspire.

.

Amnesty International:The crippling of the power station was “collective punishment of Palestinians”

Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

More Articles from Dr. Phyllis Chesler
Murray Greenfield

Few of the volunteers were experienced sailors, (Greenfield had been in the Merchant Marine). Few were Zionists.

Dr. David Gutmann

Hundreds of boats tried to run the British blockade on the dangerous, open seas.

My good colleague Kay is wrong about the early demise of conspiracy theories and blood libels against the Jews.

“I am surprised those Zionists are not outside protesting,” says one woman.

“Miral” is a film that has garnered an inordinate amount of media attention. In interviews, the director, Julian Schnabel, defends his right to tell the Palestinian “narrative” for what he claims is the first time. He seems not to know that many others before him have specialized in this particular line of work.

Our beloved, miraculous Jewish state is under siege.

It was assumed that the ceaseless persecution of the Jews in exile would cease once we again had our own sovereign homeland, our own army, navy, and air force.

In 1947-1948 I lived in Boro Park where, against parental and rabbinic advice, I joined a Zionist group. By 1950 I was packing machine-gun parts for Israel in a home not far from the Young Israel. But what I did as a child does not compare to what my friend and colleague David Gutmann did for love of Zion at that very time on the dangerous open seas.

Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether “to be or not to be.” Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that “that is the question.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/an-american-jewish-hero-in-israel-an-interview-with-activist-and-entrepreneur-murray-greenfield/2014/07/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: