“The Machal forces were the diaspora’s most important contribution to the state of Israel.” – David Ben-Gurion
Produced by Nancy Spielberg, Above and Beyond tells the little-known history of the scavenging and deal-making that supplied aircraft parts and planes for the men who turned the tide of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and established Israel’s now enviable air force.
In 1948 rumours began: the United Nations was going to establish Israel as the Jewish state, provoking an attack from five surrounding Arab armies. A group of World War Two pilots, American and South African, volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. These men were the “Machal”. Wearing German helmets, uniforms and parachutes, this ragtag band of brothers flew planes left behind in Europe by the German army and made of spare parts. (As one Machal member recalls, “The irony of it did not escape any of us.”)