Aircraft acquisition for Israel in its
darkest hours of need
On 29 May 1948, two weeks after five Arab states had declared war and invaded Israel, a UN embargo on arms shipments to the Middle East was imposed. Despite the fact that the US had recognised Israel, US government officials, apparently without reference to the president, enforced this embargo zealously, with FBI raids within the US. US officials accepted without challenge that the UK claim that it was continuing to exports arms and military equipment to the Middle East, including bombers to Egypt, on the basis of long-term contractural arrngements. In addition the UK supplied arms and training to the army of Eastern Palestine aka Jordan. (In 1946 that part of the mandate territory of Palestine east of the Jordan River was redesignated as Jordan by the UK, and without any authority from the UN removed from the Mandate.) Through the War of Independence the UK supplied officer and top leadership to the Jordan Legion; British officers lead the Arab forces that captured the Old City of Jerusalem, expelled all the Jews residing there, and commenced the destruction of the seventeen synagogues within the Old City. The Hurva Synagogue, located close to the Western Wall, dating from the early 18th century, was dynamited by troops under the command of Glubb Pasha (Lieut. General John Bagot Glub) on June 5, 1948, and not rebuilt until 2017.
Despite this embargo, a limited number of aircraft were acquired by Israel in its earliest days. Amazingly, this included a small -- but highly valuable, number of planes from Australia.
Aircraft from Australia to Israel 1948+.:
Chanan Reich reported in his classic book that during the first crucial two years, 1948-9, 6 aircraft arrived in Israel from Australia. All sixare listed at the bottom of this web page. Suzanne Rutland has provided in an article in the Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal some further background.
Another 80 war-surplus planes from the Pacific Theatre were collected in Australia but blocked from export to Israel even in 1950.
It is worthy of note that the six planes from Australia acquired by Israel were in fact all purchased in Australia during a period that the UK government expressed support in principle for an embargo on arms shipment to the middle east, and blocked any such exports to Israel, but felt 'they had [to] "honour contractual obligations" to the Arab states', obliging the UK to expeditiously ship arms to the Arab countries seeking to destroy Israel.
Australian Registered Aircraft Clandestinely Sold to Israel