(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
“For several days, we were busy with preparations for the storming of the besieged fort. We tried to determine how long the fuse cord needed to be, to ensure that the explosives would go off just as the jeep crashed into the concrete wall of the building. Under cover of darkness, one of the soldiers crawled towards the fences and planted a white stick to indicate the point at which the driver should jump out of the explosives-laden jeep. We placed a large crate of dynamite in the jeep and attached the fuse. Then we tied the steering wheel with rope so that it wouldn’t turn once the driver had bailed out, and we applied fixed pressure to the accelerator pedal. Then the operation got underway and someone lit the explosive fuse cord. As the jeep began to move, we quickly took cover in the foxholes here, just where the path to the fort is today.”
This first-hand account describes not a recent military operation, but one of the toughest battles of Israel’s War of Independence, which, thanks to the exploding jeep, culminated in the breaching of the thick concrete wall of the British Iraq Sweidan fort. The attackers swarmed into the building, where they fought a decisive battle that enabled them to take possession of it and wipe out the “Falluja pocket” where the invading Egyptian forces were holed up. All this took place on November 9th, 1948.
Eighty-five-year-old Dennis Rudnick was one of the remarkable people who took part in that battle. Today he lives in Sydney, Australia, and recently he took a trip back in time and revisited his Israeli past, which happened to coincide with one of the most tempestuous periods in the country’s history. Nowadays, Dennis continues to devote his energies to helping the State of Israel, and to intense activity on behalf of KKL-JNF Australia in particular.
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