Nov. 13, 2017
Israel as a Strategic Asset of the West – Col. Richard Kemp (Jewish Political Studies Review)
- In 1938, the Jews in what was then Mandatory Palestine established the village of Hanita, on the Lebanese border, against the wishes of the ruling British. Two years later, in 1940, the very same British authorities asked the Jews of Hanita for help as they planned to invade Syria to prevent the Vichy French government there from allowing a German army to build up there. Bridges over the Litani River were vital for the operation, and the Jews were asked to capture and hold those bridges to prevent their destruction by the Vichy forces.
- Fifty young Jewish farmers from Hanita held the bridges for seven hours and repulsed ten mass attacks before regular Australian troops arrived. This was the operation in which Moshe Dayan lost his left eye, and his forces suffered over 50% casualties. The Israeli pioneers proved to be a vital strategic asset to Great Britain, as did the Jewish Legion of the British Army, which helped defeat the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Megiddo in 1918.
- In World War II the British Eighth Army included 30,000 Jewish volunteers, many of whom carried out extraordinary acts of heroism and devotion to duty in the face of horrific adversity.
- Moreover, the Jews of Palestine contributed much more to the Allied war effort than all of the Arab nations combined. The British army was supported in Palestine by 200,000 Jewish industrial workers and farmers and thousands more doctors, dentists and nurses. 7,000 factories and vast acres of agricultural land were placed at the disposal of British Empire Forces.
- In 1981, an Israeli strike destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction in Baghdad, an attack that was condemned at the time but was later recognized as being an important factor in enabling the U.S.-led coalition to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. In 2007, the Israeli Air Force destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor in Deir ez-Zor region, preventing the Assad regime from acquiring atomic weapons or transferring nuclear material to Hizbullah and Iran.
- After 9/11, Western nations found themselves increasingly dependent on Israel’s vast operational and counterterrorism experience, incomparable intelligence resources and highly developed technological sophistication.
The writer is former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.