Not all of Israel’s heroes were Jewish. Many gentiles volunteered for the Air Force, ground forces, and the refugee ships in the fight to establish Israel as a state (3% of the Machal were non Jews). Duke Labaczewski was interviewed in his home about his time as a Machal during Aliyah Bet as part of the crew on the "Hatikvah." Duke, a lifelong Catholic, grew up speaking yiddish with his friends in the lower east side of New York.
Duke told us, “My mother said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I want to go. I want to help Mikey to get his people safely into Palestine.’ She said, ‘Do what your heart tells you to do.’”
We are thankful for his bravery and heroism, and honored to feature him in our project.