Heroic Chapter in Israel's History . . . Fascinating
Story of Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate and His
Wife, Lorna Wingate, Dedicated Christian Zionists
"To the defenders of Yemin Orde. 7.5.48.
"Since Orde Wingate is with you in spirit though he cannot
you in the flesh, I send you the Bible he carried in all his
from which he drew the inspirations of his victories. May
covenant between you and him, in triumph or defeat, now
For six more days and 'nights the defenders of Ramot Naftali held
out, repelling all the Arab attacks. Meantime, our
He was the creator of the Night Squads who defended the Jewish settlements against Arab attacks. Salad and liberated the Jewish settlements of the Galilee, among them
He defied his superiors in the British army and the mandatory power by joining Jewish forces when also Romot Naftali.
colonies needed to be protected, by laboring as a halutz with shomrim, by guiding the protectors of
Israel and assisting them in building up the forces that served as a foundation first for Hagana and
Orde Charles Wingate — Bible Student Who Loved
Israel and Dedicated His Life to Zionist Idea
An important anniversary has just been observed—the 25th of the death of Orde Charles Wingate.
It provides an opportunity to recall the gift of a noble Christian to the Zionist idea, to the hope for
then for Israel's defense forces.
General Uri Yaffe recorded an episode in Jewish history not to
When the 36-year-old British officer who was serving in Palestine met with 50 Jews in the ho the
s among the mos fascin ating
of Dov Joseph, in Jerusalem in May of 1939, he began his speech, proposing firm action toward
building of a Jewish national home, by first pronouncing in Hebrew the 127th Psalm, "Im eshkakhekh— be forgotten. The entire Wingate record i Israe l. Lorna Wi ngate
If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem ..." By that time he had already created the Night Squads. He introduced ' chapters ed
of husb and. For a ti me she and
an d to Zionism
l. At one time she was expected to se
the men who later were to lead Israel in the defensive efforts to the skills
her so n lived in Israe
' a hero ' s
like it. They transferred him to Burma where he die
of Israel "Ha-Eretz" and he wished to fight for Jewish rights only in Palestine. But his superiors ruled
Wingate's name has been recorded in the Wingate Children's Vil-
otherwise and he was transferred; when he came to a group of Night Squad members he first spoke lage in Israel and in the Wingate Institute in Natanya where athletic
in English, to those who did not know Hebrew, and then he said in Hebrew:
activities are conducted and the sports that are popular among Israelis
and the country I love. I suppose you know why. I ant transferred because are encouraged. Teachers for physical education are trained there, and
"I am sent away from you
you that I will come back, and if I youth sports groups use the Orde Charles Wingate Physical Education
we are too great friends. They want to hurt me and you. I promise
Institute as their chief source of pride and inspiration.
cannot do it the regular way, I shall return as a refugee."
He did not return, but his spirit lives on. His young widow did come back, and she brought
Christopher Sykes had written a splendid biography of Wingate.
to Israel as a gift his Bible. A deeply moving story has been related in this connection.
The reader learns there how Wingate became known as Ha-yedid, how
General Lin Yaffe was one of the Israeli heroes who had known Wingate, who received the Bible
had deFed the British on the basic principle of the justice of the
ft li fn the
from Lorna Wingate. He related his experience in his description of the defense
Naftali hills in Upper Galilee in the spring of 1948. Ramot Naftali first was settled in 1947 by World Zionist case and how he inspired the future defenders of Israel
In the Wingate service file is to be found an appraisal of him
War II veterans who formed the Yemin Orde group in memory of the Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate.
by his superior officers who had written:
Arab marauders threatened Ramot Naftali in 1948, when the British troops withdrem, from
"Orde Wingate, D.S.C. A good soldier, but as far as Palestine is
and left the Jewish settlers undefended. As armored Arab troops descended upon the settlement, there
Places the in-
was a frantic appeal for help to Rosh Pinna, where Uri Yaffe was located with the Jewish defenders concerned he is a security risk, and not to be trusted.
country. Not to be
who knew they had to redeem Safad, and then the entire area would be secure. They made use of an old terests of the Jews above the interests of his omen
permitted to enter Palestine again."
Piper Cub, and temporarily they repulsed the Arab attackers from Ramot Naftali.
It was, of course, a true appraisal: Wingate was determined that
At this point, General Yaffe's story needs retelling for an undertsanding of Lorna Wingate's role
as a Great Britain's honor was not to be besmirched, that his country's
in this specific incident. Here is the Yaffe story. It begins with his resort to the old Piper plane
pledge to the Jews for the establishment of the Jewish National Home
defensive weapon in behalf of Ramot Naftali:
was not be dishonored. Now his name links with a possible effort to
salve the conscience of the British. Didn't Winston Churchill say
of him when he passed away:
When we were directly over the Arab vehicles I dropped the remaining three bombs. Only now I
"There was a man of genius who might well have become also
and I aimed
second, and made off. We returned twice, flying low,
landed exactly where I had intended a man of destiny."
had the guts to glance behind me. I saw that the three bombs had
For the Jewish people he was a man of destiny. It was in the
their armored vehicles after them.
to. The Arabs took fright and scattered in all directions, leaving
period when General Yaakov Dostrovski (Dori) was in charge of
It was late when we returned to Rosh Pinna.
Hagana, later becoming Israel's chief of staff, and still later president
"There is a visitor to see you" Shoshana said.
of the Technion. At that time, Wingate was the chief trainer of Hagana,
"A visitor at this hour? Who is it?"
and when he opened the course for military defense tactics he told
the young Israelis in a Hebrew speech:
"Lorna Wingate?" I asked in amazement. "Wingate's widow?"
'We are establishing here the foundation for the armny of Zion ...
"Yes, she wants to see you."
Difficult times have come, and all lovers of freedom must unite and
I entered the Staff
Ramot Naftali. Among them was a young
prepare themselves to stand in the breach. Your people, whose
ficers, impatient for my return and about the fate of
I am, has suffered more than- any other. If it fights, it will achieve its
good-looking woman. On seeing nie, she rose to her feet and
independence in its own land."
"Commander liri Yaffe?"
Is it any wonder that he defied his own commanders to embrace
"My name is Lorna Wingate."
a just cause? Is it any wonder that other British noblemen, Josiah
"Home do you do, Madam," I said, "I am one of the greatest admirers of your late husband."
Wedgwood among them, similarly challenged their own government not
"Thank you," she replied, and continued: "I have heard of a group of ex-soldiers settling at Ramot to abandon Jewry and to adhere to the pledge for the realization of
Naftali who have called the village after my husband. I want to visit the settlement and make their acquain-
the Zionist idea?
When we speak of the hasidei umot ha-olarn—the righteous among
I could find no words to answer her. Should I tell her about the real situation at Ramot Naftali?
the peoples of the world—we think of and mean those who, like the
Should I tell her that I had only just returned from there, that the settlement was surrounded by Arabs
Wingates, never forget scriptural prophecy nor do they deny justice
and that it might fall any minute?
"Madam," I said, "Ramot Naftali is in the front line of attack. The Arab forces are pummeling to Israel.
incessantly at it. Only a few minutes ago we repelled five armored cars trying to break in."
We honor these men and we recall the name of Orde Charles Win-
"Yes, I have heard that," she said, "but I've been told that you have a small Piper plane here. gate with deep gratitude for his help, on the 25th anniversary of
I want to reach Ramot Naftali if amity for a brief visit. I want to shake the defenders by the hand."
wish," I said at last.
"I respect your wishes and your courage, but ice cannot grant your
"But I've come all the way from England!"
to fly in it. Besides, the
Arabs will be trying to shoot it down. We can't possibly shoulder such responsibility."
"I understand." she said after a brief silence.
She opened her bag and took out a small and much-fingered book.
"This Bible belonged to any husband Orde," she said. "He always carried it in his pocket in time of
found encouragement, faith
peace and in time of war, at the front and behind the lines. In this book he
and solace. Please hand over this book to the defenders of Ramot Naftali."
I was overcome with emotion as I took the book from her.
coat pocket, al-
"I'll do my utmost to comply with your request," I said. putting the book into my
though I hadn't the slightest idea at the time home I could fulfill her wish.
"Do, please." Lorna Wingate added, "it would be a sort of token of appreciation from
to these gallant defenders."
She drew a sheet of paper and a pen from her bag and wrote a short message to the members of
Ramat Naftali. I took the letter and placed it togeher with the Bible into my pocket, and she left.
The same evening. another message came from the commander of Ramnot Naftali: "Ask permission
to retreat. The enemy has returned to attack. We have dead and wounded. There is no possibility to
out." I radioed back: "Ill a few hours' time I shall bring reinforcements to you. Take the wounded out
to the highway and we'll transfer them from there. We must not abandon
At midnight I set out from Rosh Pinna at time head of two squads. We made our tray to the moun-
the way was open. We
crawled up to the perimeter fence and entered through the breaches. The local commander was waiting
for us, his clothes torn and ragged, his face unshaven and his eyes red for want of sleep. He reported
briefly on the situation. I asked him to summon all the people who could be relieved from their posts
for a few minutes.
"Comrades," I said, when some 30 men assembled. "I am fully aware of your plight. Ramnot
settlements in the Galilee are
Naftali is fighting for its existence, but you are not the only ones. All our
now conducting a life amid death struggle. Our forces are shortly to launch an attack on Safad. When we
you. The squad I have
capture Salad we'll be able to divert part of our forces in order
brought with me will remain with you. That is all we are able to do for you for time time being, but in the
present situation it's not to be sniffed at. Ramot Naftali must not fall."
At 3 a.m. I set out on the return journey to Rosh Pinna, my escort squad with me. I was ac-
companied by the local defenders up to the fence amid was about to set out when I remembered.
"I've almost forgotten," I said. "I have a present for you."
The lads eyed nie in astonishment. I drew the small Bible from my coat pocket and said: "This Bible
His wife Lorna Wingate came espe-
belonged to Orde Wingate, the man after whom you named your group.
England to iunid it over to you. I couldn't allow her to visit you personally, but I promised that
the book would reach you. here it is."
I handed the Bible over to the local commander, who seemed embarrassed and didn't know what
to do with it. Finally he put it into his pocket and replied in a hoarse and weary voice:
"Thanks. This is a precious gift indeed. I hope we shall prove worthy of it . . . "
my pocket, and lit may pocket torch.
"And here's a letter for you," I added,drew time letter from
The defenders of Ramot Naftali stood around me, and in the dim light I read Lorna Wingate's letter to
Lorna Wingate's note that ac-
companied the presentation of
ORDE CHARLES WINGATE
her husband's Bible.
'The Miracle of Israel' — a George Pierrot Show
Every couple of years, George Pierrot brings to TV and as part
of World Adventure Series a show dealing with Israel. He does it
again on Jan. 18, with William Stockdale's "The Miracle of Israel"
Pierrot's ability to select good travelogues, Stockdale's reputation
as a good observer, an excellent photographer and a fairminded com-
mentator on the country and people he describes, assure in advance
a real good show.
The advance description of what the Adventure Series customers
are to witness in the Stockdale report promises an interesting after-
noon on Jan. 18 and we await anxiously the new view by a
Jewish observer of "The Miracle of Israel."
2—Friday, January 16, 1970
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS