Hebrew Women Join the Forces: Jewish Women from Palestine in the British Forces during the Second World War

TitleHebrew Women Join the Forces: Jewish Women from Palestine in the British Forces during the Second World War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsGranit-Hacohen, Anat
Number of Pages418
PublisherVallentine Mitchell
CityPortland, OR

During WWII some 3,600 Jewish women from Palestine volunteered to serve in the British armed forces in the Middle East. For the first time ever Jewish women joined the army, wore uniform, left home to defend their homeland and to support the Jewish people around the world. The Council of Women s Organizations, headed by Hadassah Samuel, spearheaded the recruitment. This recruitment was in defiance of all conventional male thought. Not least because these women were joining the British Army a foreign and colonial army and this created a unique situation that cast gender and nationalist issues in a new light, these subjects are tackled here for the first time. Using archival research and 60 last voice interviews, Granit-Hacohen tells the story of these women: their reasons for enlistment; their social background and status; the arguments over recruiting them at all. Their military roles are analysed from a gender perspective. She also discusses the locations where they were stationed and the nature of their service there; their relations with their British colleagues; their involvement with illegal activity as members of underground organizations and the Jewish and national identity which they developed during their service. Although this female initiative was conceived in the spirit of equality, and the women who served developed positive views on the roles of women in society during their service, after the war there was disappointment as to the lack of change to how women were treated in Palestinian, and later, Israeli society

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