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The 3rd company in the 33rd battalion, Alexandroni Brigade
פלוגת האלוקים
Alexandroni.svg
Brigade insignia
Active 1948 - 1948
Country  Israel
Allegiance Israel Defense Forces
Branch Infantry
Type Reserves
Size Company
Engagements 1948 Arab–Israeli War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Ben Zion Helman
1948 Arab–Israeli War – Faluja pocket
Part of 1948 Palestine war
Date27'th–28'th December 1948
LocationFormer British Mandate of Palestine,Faluja pocket
Result Company lost, Egyptians hold their positions

God's Company is a nickname given to the C company in the 33'rd battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade in the IDF, roughly 100 men, outflanked and destroyed (67 casualties) by the Egyptian forces during attempting to conqueror Faluja pocket (operation Hisul). They were led by Ben Zion Helman who was denied an order to retreat saying "I will not leave, until the last of the wounded is evacuated".[1]". An Egyptian officer Gamal Abdel Nasser described their stand as a courageous stand and said he understand it after learning they took a tefillin with them into battle.[2][3] They were buried with a military funeral by the Egyptian forces (firing three times from a cannon).[4]

Kiryat Gat memorial for the fallen 67 soldiers of the God's company

Etymology

One of the sources says that the company gained the nickname God's company when a high-ranking officer witnessed them praying before going to eat after returning from a day of a battle,[3] another says it was nicknamed because they all survived many battles [5]

Background

The company consisted man from Bnei brak Ramat Gan and Givateyim,[5] and was one of the three religious platoons.[6] The company consisted 20 Holocaust survives with 5'th being Netzer Aharon (last survivors).[7] During a week when they have learned that there is no kosher dishes they had been eating only brine fish and bread.[5] Their actions and the Cooks affair (when the cooks had been order to make food on Shabat) in July 1948 led to the order how the IDF kitchens must be Kosher[7][8]

Battles

  • The company was one of the companies that conquered what is today known as Tel HaShomer.[9]
  • Battle of Tantura.[10][11]
  • Attempt to conqueror Iraq al-Manshiyya in the Faluja pocket. The company orders had been to conqueror Tel Sheikh Ahmad Eirni (An Antiquities Tel), during the battle an Egyptian force outflanked the company and destroyed it. The battle plan[12] was for the company totake the Tel while rest of the 33 battalion will take over the village, the 32'nd battalion will provide support and a company from the 35'th will close the path to the bridge.[13] On the morning of the 28'th the company charged the Tel while the Egyptian forces defended using machine guns and heavy artillery,[14] The third company was not aware that due to mudy terrain (the previous two days had heavy rain) the 35 battalion was late in one hour and retreated back. An Egyptian armored machine with Bern machine guns had been able to pass and outflank the third company.[13][15]

Bodies exhumation

Following the failure to conqueror Tel Eirni north of Iraq al-Manshiyya during operation Hisul the bodies of the fallen soldiers had been buried in four mass graves by the Egyptian forces.[4] Rabi Goren had been sent to identify the burial site and exhumation. According to Davar report the Rabbi received honorable military treatment from the Egyptian forces and the Egyptian forces assisted in the exhumation process.

In popular culture

  • During 2016, a Headstart project to fund a movie about the company had made.[16] a Movie named "The story of the religious company" had been made.
  • A memorial had been built in Kiryat Gat. A yearly ceremony is held in the city of Kiryat Gat to commemorate them.[17]
  • The Bnei Akiva youth movement designed a hiking trip to commemorate the fallen soldiers.[18]
  • Yehuda Amichai wrote a song about the battle in the Tel Gat song.

See also

References

  1. http://www.izkor.gov.il/HalalKorot.aspx?id=4714
  2. Israeli TV, "Such a Life" 1971, interviewing Rabbi Shlomo Goren along with witnesses to the event (in Hebrew)
  3. 3.0 3.1 67 dead, Who remembers "God's platoon" Maariv (NRG website, in Hebrew)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The bodies search affair". Davar. 18 Nov 1949. http://jpress.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI_Heb/SharedView.Article.aspx?parm=CzRg1ZXxmnsNeV487qhwrsvMcuMJNdOPj2oec86j5zNiNAT%2Fw6IvoM459VAESFvKYw%3D%3D&mode=image&href=DAV%2f1949%2f11%2f18&page=1&rtl=true. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Mabat , the story of the religious company in the 1948 war, March 3'rd 2016
  6. Netnal Lifer (11 May 2016). "God's company: a new movie about the company who perished during a one battle" (in Hebrew). Kippah magazine. http://www.kipa.co.il/tarbut/176/67535.html. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Eliezer Hayun (1 May 2017). "God's company from the death camps to the battle to the Death" (in Hebrew). Ynetnews. http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4956218,00.html. 
  8. Yedioth Ahronoth,Judaism and the State of Israel,page 97
  9. Shani Levi (11 April 2013). "We were 100 and I was the only one left, the story of Yakov Markovitch the last survivor from the third company which was erased during a single battle" (in Hebrew). Mako. http://www.mako.co.il/pzm-israel-wars/1948-war/Article-f321b526fd3fd31006.htm. 
  10. "Following the massacare in Tantura, we returned fire to the places that open fire upon us". Ma'ariv. 8 Nov 2002. http://www.ee.bgu.ac.il/~censor/katz-directory/00-02-04gilat-maariv-tantura.pdf. 
  11. "The story of Tantura" (in hebrew). Alexandroni Alumini. http://www.alexandroni.org/site.php?page=tantura. 
  12. "Operation hisul battle map". Alexandroni brigade. http://www.alexandroni.org/site.php?schema=hisul. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Operation Hisul". Alexandroni brigade. http://www.alexandroni.org/site.php?battle=hisul. 
  14. http://www.gal-ed.co.il/jerusalem-forever/info/hi_show.aspx?id=383
  15. http://www.yoaview.com/Yoaview/SITE/?action=showobject&sn=2_643
  16. https://www.headstart.co.il/project.aspx?id=17817
  17. "Yearly ceremony to remember the religious company from the 33'rd battalion". http://www.qiryat-gat.muni.il/%D7%98%D7%A7%D7%A1-%D7%94%D7%90%D7%96%D7%9B%D7%A8%D7%94-%D7%94%D7%A9%D7%A0%D7%AA%D7%99-%D7%9C%D7%97%D7%9C%D7%9C%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%A4%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%92%D7%94-%D7%94%D7%93%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%AA--%D7%92%D7%93%D7%95%D7%93-33-%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%98%D7%99%D7%91%D7%AA-%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%9B%D7%A1%D7%A0%D7%93%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%99. 
  18. http://bneiakiva.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/masa-morasha.pdf

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