The Machal­niks: Birth of an Air Force

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

Jew­ish World War II air­men Mike Kaplan and Paul Schatz, plot to fly weapons to the vir­tu­al­ly unarmed Jews liv­ing in Pales­tine, to defend them­selves against five Arab nations who vowed to anni­hi­late them when the 1948 Unit­ed Nations Par­ti­tion goes into effect.

Fac­ing fines, prison, and loss of their cit­i­zen­ship for break­ing an Arms Embar­go, they pur­chase a fleet of sur­plus car­go planes and assem­ble a vol­un­teer group of Amer­i­can pilots, called Machal­niks, the Hebrew acronym for Vol­un­teers from Abroad.

Under F.B.I. and State Depart­ment sur­veil­lance, and their air­craft about to be con­fis­cat­ed, the Machal­niks whisk the planes out of the coun­try. Reach­ing Czecho­slo­va­kia, Shatz and Kaplan begin a clan­des­tine smug­gling oper­a­tion, fly­ing muni­tions into Israel.

Begin­ning days after Israel’s dec­la­ra­tion of State­hood, with the only four com­bat planes the Jews pos­sess, Kaplan and the Machal­niks bat­tle the Arabs for air supe­ri­or­i­ty. With the fate of a nation beneath their wings, they risk their lives in air to air com­bat, and give birth to the Israeli Air Force.

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