The story of General Mickey Marcus Part 2:
American born Mickey Marcus, was amazed to see Jews fighting for their country. He joined in! Hi everyone, I am Ron Cantor and you are listening to the podcast: The Miracle of Modern Israel. Before we get started, I want to send you my book, The 15 most important facts about the Israeli Palestinian Conflict free of charge. Just go to roncan.net/Israel48. This podcast is sponsored by Up-to-Zion Israel tours. Checkout uptozion.net to get information on one of our upcoming life-changing tours to Israel.
This is part 2 of the Mickey Marcus story, the rebirthed Israel’s first General. When we ended part 1, Mickey had returned to the United States in frustration. Israeli commanders appreciated him, the man they affectionately nicknamed Colonel Stone, but were reluctant to follow him completely.
He continued to advocate for the new Jewish State, while in the U.S.. All the while, Ben Gurion, who was about to become Israel’s first Prime Minister, hoped Marcus would return. His hopes were realized in early May, just days before the British would leave and Israel would declare independence.
Upon his returned everyone noticed a change. He was no longer assisting others as a militarily advisor. This was HIS war. He was fighting for HIS nation. With the Galilee, northern Israel, under control there were two issues facing Israel.
The road to Jerusalem was blocked, essentially putting the Jews of Jerusalem under siege. The second matter was the southern Negev desert. With nearly two dozen isolated communities and the Egyptian army advancing, things looked bleak for the tank-less, plane-less Israeli army. As he promised, Marcus arrived to boost morale and provide a strategy. He told them to get aggressive.
“Act with what you’ve got. Shoot the planes down with rifles, attack the columns with small mobile units, hit-and-run attacks in surprise night time raids. Jeeps will do the job, till we can get tanks. Remember,” he encouraged them, “David did it with a slingshot!”
Marcus led the Jews to victory, pushing back the Egyptian assault. David, as in David Mickey Marcus had defeated Goliath. Now it was time to focus on Jerusalem. 100,000 Jews were under siege.
As we will learn in our episode on the Burma Road, their hopes depended on building an alternate bypass, south of the Jerusalem Tel Aviv Road. And, they had to do it under the noses of the Arab armies in the middle of the night. When others said it could not be done, Marcus said, “We got across the Red Sea, didn’t we?” Interestingly, this was part of Operation Nachshon, named after the first Israelite to ender the red sea.
Before the road was passable by large trucks, supplies were brought to Jerusalem by hand or by donkey, then by jeep and by truck. Working tirelessly, the road was finished before the truce of June 11th came. The siege was broken, and the Jews controlled West Jerusalem.
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One of his biographers, Ziporrah Porat wrote: “Rivka, a fearless young Palmach fighter was assigned to be the driver of Mickey Marcus’s jeep. On a trip to Hulda, she recalled saying to Mickey: ‘You know you could get killed in a war like this. What made you come here?’ His eyes flashed, he thrust out his wrist and said dramatically: ‘See these veins? The blood of Abraham flows through them. That’s what brought me here.’
“For the first time in his life, Mickey found Jews fighting as Jews to determine their own fate and he felt it was a privilege to join them.”
On May 28th Mickey was appointed to the rank of Aluf or General, Aluf Stone had finally gained the trust of the Israeli commanders. But then tragedy would strike. On June 11th, after the siege had been broken and the truce was about to begin General David Mickey Marcus was fatally shot in a mishap.
Ironically it was Marcus who have given the orders that anyone who could not state the password should be shot. However, at 3:50 AM, Marcus, who didn’t speak Hebrew was walking in the courtyard of the Notre Dame Monastery, when a young guard asked him for the password. He didn’t understand and then the guard shot Israel’s first general hours before the war ended. Many believe that without the optimism, military smarts and leadership of General Mickey Marcus, Israel would not have won the war, and I would certainly not be broadcasting from the restored nations of Israel.
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