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How South Africans (Jews and Christians) took risks to enlist to defend the nascent Israel against annihilation by Muslim armies

Volunteers from Abroad enlistees defended
Israel in War of Independence 1948-49
The War of Independence, in which Israel was attacked by six invading Arab Armies, was undoubtedly Israel’s most fateful war, as Israel’s very survival was at stake.”

The word “MACHAL” is an acronym for the Hebrew words “Mitnadvei Chutz L’Aretz”, meaning “Volunteers from Abroad”, and the word “MACHALNIKS” means the members of Machal. Approximately 4,700 Machalniks from 56 countries – men and women, Jews and non-Jews, volunteered to help Israel in its “War of Survival.”

804 South Africans enlisted to defend Israel against Arab invasion against her independence in May, 1948.
They left their studies, their families and homes to fight for a cause they felt passionate about.  

In 2012, in connection the premiere of the documentary "804" with the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, an event was held in Los Angeles  with some South African Machalniks to recognize their contributions.

Israel's independence was defended by 804 South Africans of 3,500 total diaspora volunteers in 1948.  Mrs. Sharit Shapiro Krengel discusses the history of the documentary "804" she co-produced.


 S. African Jewish volunteer in Israel's defense against Arab attackers,
, Hyman Kurgan, reveals why he fought.

Los Angeleno, Lee, discusses with 804's French director, Stephanie Ronnet, why and how he  volunteered to emigrate Holocaust "displaced persons" from Europe to Israel


Testimonials from Norma Todes, wife of Israel volunteer defender, Helman Todes, and their cousin, Myra Monk, who emigrated to California.

South African volunteers (both Christians and Jewish) were killed while defending Israel from Arab onslaught.

Machalniks also resettled Holocaust refugees from Europe into Israel during and after the War.

To learn more history, please point your browser to https://www.machal.org.il/

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