This is an extraordinary account of one of the most unusual units ever to have fought in the ranks of the British army. ‘The Judeans’ were a battalion of Jewish soldiers raised during the Great War specifically to serve in Palestine, which, then as now, was a politically and racially sensitive area. Set agains the background of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which pledged British support for establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, this is the account of the Judeans by its outspoken (non-Jewish) Commanding Officer, Col. J. H. Patterson, who is palpably proud of having led the Judeans, which he rightly describes as a ‘unique unit’ whose formation was ‘unprecedented in our annals’. As Patterson recognises, the Judeans were Zionists, fighting not only for the British cause against the Ottoman Turks who then held sway over the Holy Land, but also ‘for the restoration of the Jewish people to the Promised Land’. Patterson’s account of the victyorious 1918 campaign that swept the Turks out of what is now Israel, Palestine and Jordan, is shot through both with his pride in his men, when he goes as far as claiming that the campaign ‘was actually pivoted on the sons of Israel who were once again fightinbg the enemy, not far from the spot where their forefathers had croosed the Jordan under Joshua’. Patterson is also – unusually, given the high degree of anti-Semitism then prevalent in Britain’s officer class – highly critical of his fellow officers for discriminating against the Judeans, and other Jewish settlers in Palestine. This book is a rare insight into a remarkable episode in Anglo-Jewish histlory, and should interest anyone wishing to know more of the background to current conflicts in the Middle East. It is illustrated with 22 photographs of officers of the Judeans and Palestinian scenes, including Biblical sites.
WITH THE JUDAEANS IN THE PALESTINE CAMPAIGN
Rare account by the C.O. of the Judeans – a unit of Jewish Zionists within the British army who helped drive the Ottoman Turks out of Palestine in 1917-18.