web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Lag B’Omer 1942, ‘Jewish Amazons,’ And The Pyramids

Pyramids and Lag B'Omer

Pyramids and Lag B'Omer

On the outskirts of Cairo, on a blistering hot afternoon in May 1942, British Army chaplain Rabbi Louis Rabinowitz ordered the driver of his military transport truck to pull over for a group of uniformed women who were hitchhiking.

“We want to go as far as the Pyramids,” one of the women explained.

“Her accent betrays that she is not English, and instantly I realize that they are the Jewish Palestinian A.T.S. [volunteers in the British armed forces], the first Jewish Amazons in history!” the rabbi recalled in his memoir. “With a grin, I lapse into Hebrew.”

“I shall be very glad indeed to take you,” the rabbi said.

It would be the most remarkable Lag B’Omer he would ever experience.

Thirty thousand Jewish men and 4,350 Jewish women from Mandatory Palestine volunteered to serve in the British Army during World War II. Although horrified by the British White Paper that cut off most Jewish immigration to the holy land, they were anxious to take part in the Allies’ war effort against the Nazis.

The women served in units known as the Palestine Auxiliary Territorial Service (A.T.S.) and some were assigned to British positions in Egypt where, along with their male comrades, they played important roles in bolstering the British fight to halt General Rommel’s advance across North Africa.

One of the most famous missions carried out by these Palestinian Jewish soldiers is described in the 1943 book The Forgotten Ally by the renowned journalist (and Christian Zionist) Pierre van Paassen. Twenty soldiers who were German Jewish refugees donned German military uniforms and, with their flawless accents, managed to infiltrate Nazi lines in western Egypt. When their true identities were discovered, the saboteurs opened fire on the enemy and, according to the sole survivor, managed to kill more than 100 Germans.

The women hitchhikers for whom Rabinowitz stopped were on their way to meet up with comrades at the pyramids for a Lag B’Omer celebration. They arrived to find dozens of young Jewish soldiers igniting a huge bonfire.

“Round and round they danced the Horah with increasing enthusiasm and tempo,” the rabbi recalled.

Standing there in the silhouette of the pyramids, Rabinowitz was moved to offer a d’var Torah with a message that uniquely linked past to present:

“I spoke of Bar Kochba and of Rabbi Akiva, of his disciple, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is so intimately connected with Lag B’Omer; of [Bar Kochba’s] war for Jewish independence; of the long and weary exile of the Jewish people; of the significant fact that from that time we had not until the present day seen Palestinian Jews enrolled and organized to fight for the freedom of humanity and their own future.”

But the connection to Pharaoh, builder of the pyramids, was even more significant, he said. Pharaoh, after all, had ordered the murder of all Jewish male babies for fear they would grow up to be soldiers who would turn against him; but he let the Jewish female babies live.

“What possible military value could there be in women?” the Egyptian ruler reasoned. Surely girls posed no threat of becoming Jewish fighters.

“And now, 4,000 years after,” Rabinowitz declared, “these Palestinian A.T.S. were showing, in no uncertain way, within sight of these Pyramids,” that they too could fight for the Jewish nation. These “Jewish Amazons,” as the rabbi proudly called them, were living proof of the failure of the enemies of the Jewish people.

“As I left them that evening,” he wrote, “my mind was filled with the vivid conviction – these mighty Pyramids will crumble to dust before the Jewish people will perish.”

JTA

About the Author: Dr. Rafael Medoff is the founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and coeditor of the Online Encyclopedia of America's Response to the Holocaust.


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.

No Responses to “Lag B’Omer 1942, ‘Jewish Amazons,’ And The Pyramids”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015
Arabs Beat Up Tourist on Temple Mount [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
David Menachem Gordon

David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR

Graffiti at Duma home that was torched in Samara.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

On-The-Bookshelf-logo

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

Saltsman-073115

“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”

Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!

In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3

The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

More Articles from Dr. Rafael Medoff
Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau

Morgenthau’s speech echoes history, reprising his father’s role of speaking truth to power: FDR

Ralph Nader

By using linguistic trickery, Nader is purposely looking to confuse the issue of anti-Semitism

An estimated 1.5-million Jewish men/women served in US, British, Soviet & Allied armies in WWII

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

The long ordeal of the Armenian Orphan Rug, held hostage to fears of angering Turkey, has finally ended. Or has it?

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

With generous support from the Egyptian Jewish community, the exiled family built a new life for itself in the Mafruza and Gabbari refugee camps near Alexandria.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lag-bomer-1942-jewish-amazons-and-the-pyramids/2014/05/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: