When Israel fought its war for independence the world opinion was that they didn't stand a chance. The British authorities at the time forbade the manufacture or purchase of weapons, the Jewish underground fighters had limited experience for large scale battles and they were grossly out numbered.
Then something amazing happened. Jews from all over the world~men and women, young and old, with and without experience~began to make their way to the fledgling country. They wanted to help~in any way they could.
Mitnadvei Chutz L'Aretz Shortened to מחל (Machal) or in English~Volunteers! From the Machal Website:
The exact number of volunteers per country is still in some dispute, but the best estimate is that about 1,000 came from the United States with another 250 from Canada. Another 700 volunteered from South Africa, 600 from Great Britain, 250 from North Africa, 250 from Latin America, and still others from France and Belgium. There were also small contingents from Australia, the Belgium Congo, Rhodesia, Finland, and Russia. All told, Volunteers, both Jews and non-Jews and men and women, came from some 37 different countries to support the new Jewish State in her hour of greatest need.
This was the real spirit of the Jewish people, yet now, memories run short and many of the youth, and indeed the adults of our day have no knowledge of what it took for the Israeli flag to be raised over our country today. We must tell the story, we must insure that the youth of today realize how many heroes there are among the Jewish people~not just from the Bible, but from our recent history. We must all remain proud, and Never Forget!
You came to us when we needed you most,
during those difficult, uncertain days in our War of Independence.
You gave us not only your experience, but your lives as well.
The people of Israel and the State of Israel will never forget,
and will always cherish, this unique contribution made by you~
~the volunteers of Machal...Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, 1993
This Film by Toldot Yisrael Includes a Story from Vidal Sassoon...