Dunkelman joined the Machal (foreign fighters for Israel) (Hebrew: " ) in 1948 at the onset of the First Arab-Israeli War and was active in helping the fledgling Israeli Army break out of Jerusalem and find a road to Tel Aviv. The Burma Road—named after a Second World War Burma supply route—was a makeshift route from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv. Israeli soldiers, including Dunkelman, drove a convoy at night along a little-used route to reconnect the two cities. Later in the war, commanding the 7th Brigade, he captured Nazareth and northern Galilee. After Dunkelman had left the Israel Defense Forces in 1949 to seek work as a businessman, he kept in contact with the armed forces of Israel through such organizations as the Jewish War Veterans of Canada, the 7th Brigade Veterans Fund, American Veterans of Israel, the Association of Jewish War Veterans, and the Mahal Association.
Scope and Content
Series consists of reports, clippings, correspondence, photographs, and maps and documents recording Ben Dunkelman's involvement in the First Arab-Israeli War. The series branches into the following topics in this order: Machal; the 7th Brigade; Operation Hiram; Operation Dekel; the Burma Road; the Israel Defence Forces; a Profile of Ben Dunkelman; and Arab-Israeli War veterans.
Israel-Arab War, 1948-1949
Some records are fragile.
See fonds 2, series 6 for more information on the war. Dunkelman wrote an autobiography, Dual Allegiance, based on his experiences in the First Arab-Israeli War and the Second World War.
File consists of an article published on 11 February 1949 in The Evening Telegram (Toronto). The author, Margaret Aitken, writes about Dunkelman and another Jew, Maurice Pearlman, who both decided to fight for Israel in the Arab-Israeli War.
File consists of news clippings related to Dunkelman's role in the Arab-Israeli War, and to his brother-in-law, Morton Wilner, who was married to Dunkelman's sister Zelda. The clippings come from such newspapers as The Globe and Mail, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Day-Jewish Journal.
File consists of letters between Ben Dunkelman and David Bercuson, as well as a clipping from the Canadian Jewish News related to the Canadian machal. The clipping, written by Sheldon Kirshner, is a review of David Bercuson's new book The Secret Army. The book focuses on the machal and relates to Dunkelman's role in the Arab-Israeli War.
At the beginning of the First Arab-Israeli War in 1948, Arab forces controlled the roads between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Jewish forces were stationed. Dunkelman assisted in finding an alternative route between the two cities, which was called the Burma Road. Operation Maccabee on 1 May 1948 was a plan to use air strikes against Arab forces in order to assist Jewish convoys travelling along the Burma Road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Scope and Content
File consists of two copies of a map of a section of the Burma Road, a report on Operation Maccabee, and a 1986 historical article about the Burma Road.
See fonds 2, series 6 for more information on the Burma Road.
File contains three items: one nine-page report containing information about the upcoming Operation Dekel, such as the number of enemy forces and organization plans; one letter to Dunkelman from Uri Givon, a researcher studying the 7th Brigade and Operation Dekel; and three pages of notes Dunkelman made in response to this letter.
File consists of a photocopied letter from Meyer Weisgal to Rose Dunkelman about Ben's marriage to Yael. The letter refers to the surrender of Nazareth during Operation Dekel, a document Ben had signed.
File consists of an article by Eric Margolis in the Toronto Sun dated 16 February 1989. The article refers to Ben Dunkelman's refusal to drive the Arab population out of Nazareth after his conquest of Nazareth during Operation Dekel in 1948.
File consists of one magazine clipping and one letter related to Dunkelman's decision to disobey orders to force Arabs out of Nazareth during the Arab-Israeli War. Sherry Kalb translated the article from the magazine Ha-olam Haze for Dunkelman.
File consists of two maps and one report. One map is hand-drawn and depicts the plan for Operation Hiram, and one map shows Haifa and part of northern Galilee where Hiram took place. The report is in Hebrew and contains 28 pages.
File consists of four articles related to Operation Hiram: one in the magazine Bamahane, two in the magazine Marhot, and one excerpted from the 1986 book Face to Face with the Nazi Enemy. The Bamahane article and the book excerpt contain photographs of Dunkelman.
Mul ha'oyev ha'Nazi (Face to Face with the Nazi Enemy: Fighters Tell their Story) was written by Avraham Ingber, et al. (Tel Aviv: Association of Disabled Veterans of the War with the Nazis, 1986).
File includes copies of two reports Dunkelman submitted to Israeli command in January 1949: four copies of the report dated 3 January 1949 and three copies of the report dated 24 January 1949. The reports suggest changes to the administration of the Israel Defence Forces. In addition, the file contains undated notes and rough charts relating to the structure of Israeli military command during the Arab-Israeli War.
File consists of two profiles of Ben Dunkelman relating to his activities in the Arab-Israeli War. One, written by Frank Rasky, appears in Lifestyles magazine and the other, written by Phil Fine, appears in The Canadian Jewish News. The latter article also refers to Yael Dunkelman.
File consists of two letters. One from Lewis Bend, President of The Royal Canadian Legion's General Wingate Branch, invites Dunkelman and his wife Yael to the branch's President's Ball. Dunkelman replies in the second letter that he and Yael will be unable to attend.
File contains a letter Dunkelman in his role as the National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada wrote to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Dunkelman urges Trudeau to protect Canadian Jews from an Arab boycott. The file also includes a biography Dunkelman used when representing Jewish organizations.
File contains two copies of minutes of the executive meeting of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada on 13 March 1977, which Dunkelman attended. The file also contains related correspondence and a 7-page newsletter.
File consists of one letter and one telegram, both from Dunkelman to Barney Danson. The letter congratulates Danson on becoming the first Jewish Canadian cabinet minister and Defence Minister. The telegram invites Danson, on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada, to speak at a synagogue in Toronto just before a convention of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada.
File consists chiefly of correspondence and notes relating to a 1973 Seventh Brigade reunion in Israel which Ben Dunkelman attended. The correspondence includes letters from Golda Meir, the Israeli Prime Minister, as well as from Yossie Mann, who invited Dunkelman to the reunion. Also included in the file are single copies of the magazines Haolan Haza (This World), Bamachane G'danya, and Bamachane. The first of these contains an article about Yitzhak Sade, a Palmach commander during the Arab-Israeli War; the second, published by the youth wing of the IDF, contains general army information; and the third, published by the IDF in an independence day edition, includes an article about Shlomo Shamir and the Battle of Latrun during the Arab-Israeli War.
File contains correspondence between Dunkelman and Joseph (Yossie) Mann relating to the 7th Brigade. The correspondence also relates to Dunkelman's autobiography and to donations he made to the Brigade's Veterans Fund.
Records are in good condition, but fragile.
See fonds 2, series 6 for more information about Dunkelman's autobiography Dual Allegiance.
File contains correspondence related to trips Dunkelman took to Israel in the 1970s. The file consists of correspondence with Avigdor Kahalani, Arik Kerman, Baruch Erez, Yehuda Werber, Micha Kaufman and Menachem Zohar. Much of this correspondence refers to the 7th Brigade. There is also a reference to Dunkelman's upcoming book, Dual Allegiance.
File consists of 13 photographs depicting Dunkelman at a convention of the Association of Jewish War Veterans at which he was a speaker. The photographs also show Yael Dunkelman, Barney Danson, Phil Givens, and Min Givens.
File contains correspondence, a 1958 issue of the Official Newsletter of the Mahal Association, and a questionnaire relating to machal veterans. The questionnaire is called The South African Mahal Research Project.
File contains several copies of an American Veterans of Israel newsletter, along with correspondence between Harry Eisner and Dunkelman. Eisner was president of the American Veterans of Israel in 1979.
File contains correspondence on the subject of machal and American Jewish war veterans. The file also includes newsletters from the American Veterans of Israel, along with correspondence related to the Jewish War Veterans of the United States and the Jewish War Veterans of Canada. In addition, there is a small directory of New York members of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States.
File consists of a letter to Ben Dunkelman from lawyer Robert Hall in connection with the Foreign Enlistment Act of Canada. A photocopy of the act is enclosed. The act relates to potential penalties Canadians face if they decide to fight for a foreign army, like Dunkelman did during the Arab-Israeli War. Hall urges Dunkelman to examine paragraph 14 of the Act, which refers to fines and imprisonment.