Respectfully, I suggest that you edit a responsive “letters” section as feedback from your readers. B’nai B’rith Magazine publishes news and editorial items which strongly concern the Jewish public. You stimulate a critical readership whose responses deserve to be made public.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Editor’ Note: We normally do include letters to the editor in the print version of the magazine. This did not happen with the fall issue due to space constraints. In such circumstances, or if we have more letters than we have room to publish them, they will appear online. We welcome all feedback from readers, whether by e-mail to email@example.com or by postal mail.
Secret Flight of the Machal Airmen
It was with much interest and appreciation that I read the article “Secret Flight of the Machal Airmen” in the fall 2012 issue. My brother, Ralph Moster, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, was one of the volunteers in what became the War of Independence in 1947-48 in Palestine. At the age of 23, he was a veteran of Canada’s Royal Air Force of World War II. Having grown up in a strong Zionist home, he determined to offer his services to the struggling Jews and was permitted by the government to go to Palestine, ostensibly to be a farm worker. Until a plane became available, he served with distinction in the Palmach with the future archaeologist Ygdal Yadin. Once he was able to fly, his outstanding record and diligence earned him the rank of Commander of the Air Force in southern Palestine which covered the Negev and Tel Aviv areas. At one time he didn’t sleep for four days and four nights, due to his aircraft’s bombing enemy positions at night and preparing plans daytime for evening bombings.
In his last letter home, he wrote that while he was due a leave, he felt he was desperately needed there and that what he was contributing to victory for his people had raised their morale considerably. He observed that the “Arabs would never beat us, because we know what we are fighting for.” He praised the Jewish people—the Jew in Palestine, he wrote, is an altogether new type of Jew—young, strong, healthy, with the main objective being to see the nation of Israel grow. “All we live for here,” he emphasized, “is to be free.”
While he was testing a new plane over the Kinneret, the plane malfunctioned and crashed. Ralph drowned and his body was found a week later. He was buried with full military honors in Tel Aviv with Air Force personnel and military police forming a guard of honor. The Air Force command turned out to pay their last respects to a devoted son of Israel. In that last letter, he wrote, “This is where I want to be.” And, indeed, that is where he is.
Julius B. Moster
Los Angeles, Calif.
I recently received your copy of the fall issue of your very informative magazine. Being a former pilot of WWII, I could not help seeing a picture of a former German fighter, a Me109BF, with our Israeli Magen David on its wings and fuselage. I was aware of our use of any plane we could obtain. My hat is off to those brave and great pilots who made up the Machalniks.
My hobby most of my 90 years has been the story of the men, the planes, etc. that made up WWI and the air war.
Leon Frankel is one of the gentlemen pictured in the photo. Lt. Frankel was the highest ranking ace in the German Air Force during WWI. The German high command was not very happy that a “Jew” was the top ace. Frankel was farmed out to Anthony Fokker’s company plant to train German pilots while the pet of the high command, Manfred von Richtofen, was given time to exceed his number of victories. Unfortunately, Frankel was shot down and killed later on.
Hitler ordered that all vestiges of Jews be erased from public places. Some of the top German aces of WWI joined in having a new monument made bearing Frankel’s name, and his remains were buried in Friedhof (cemetery) along with the other great aces dear to the Luftwaffe.
Again, thank you for your excellent magazine.