After 70 years, and considerable effort by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, the volunteer veterans of Israel’s War of Independence were finally, officially, thanked by the State of Israel.

A citation was presented by Major General Michael Edelstein, Israel Defense Attache to the U.S., in the Jewish Chapel of the United States Military Academy at West Point to the American Veterans of Israel Legacy Corp. Receiving the citation were Ralph Lowenstein, Si Spiegelman, Paul Kaye, Harry Bieber, and David Sodorski.

Lowenstein was 18 and drove a half-track in the battle to liberate Jerusalem and returned to the U.S. to serve in Korea. Spiegelman, then 18, was an infantryman in the north of Israel and returned to the U.S. to serve in Korea. Kaye became one of Israel’s first elite Frogmen.

I did not attend the ceremony but was given special, unexpected, recognition by the president of the American Veterans of Israel Legacy in his opening remarks.

“In the past two years AVILC has seen three important projects completed: the tribute to the Exodus 1947 in the Haifa port, the Machal Memorial in Jerusalem and the issuance of the Machal Citation by the IDF. We commend and greatly appreciate the efforts of Jerry Klinger, President of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation and a member of our AVILC board, for his leadership and persistence that brought us these successful outcomes.”

Republished from San Diego Jewish World.

*Klinger is president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.