Draft90

From CleanPosts

Jump to: navigation, search





CHAPTER 90

When Mossad took delivery of Horst Wagner with all his supplimentary documentation there were many pointed questions that Judith found im- possible to answer, but such was her new fame, both nationally and internationally, that the intelligence service was severely con- strained. The Prime Minister himself, David Ben-Gurion, told Mossad to back off and in his ancillary role as Defense Minister he brevetted Judith to the rank of Segen in the Israeli Defense Force, equivalent to a junior lieutenant.

For the time being, as a brevet officer, she retained the pay of Sa- mal, or Sergeant, from her service in the reserves. But having been grasped by the clutches of the IDF officer corps she was compelled to undergo her first physical. In the main Judith was in excellent condi- tion. The doctors noted the ugly mass of keloid whip scars on her back, which limited her movement to a degree, and they noted the six digit tattoo on her forearm and they knew how she got the scars.

In 1952 there was a coup in Egypt deposing King Farouk, who had ruled his country since 1936. One of the coup plotters, a leftist revolu- tionary named Colonel Gamal Nasser steadily rose in influence to be- come the usual President-for-life. In 1956 Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, seizing control from the British. He closed the Straits of Tirin in the Red Sea, which effectively put the southernmost Israeli port of Eilat under a blockade. At the same time he refused to allow any ships bound for Tel Aviv or Haifa to transit the canal.

The United Kingdom and France laid plans to take the canal back by force. They were interested in getting Israel involved in this opera- tion. Israel was already leaning toward a tussle with Egypt, the ques- tion was simply when, not if. Cross-border fedayeen raids from the Gaza strip had never ceased in the eight years Egypt had occupied it.

The French began to arm the IDF, with special emphasis on the air force.

In the third week of October Nasser moved part of his army into Gaza, including a number of artillery pieces which were used to shell the Israeli settlements near the border, of which Judith's kibbutz of Yad Mordechai was the closest. But she wasn't there. Nasser also moved troops into the Sinai Peninsula, supplied with the latest Soviet mili- tary equipment.

Judith was debouched by Michael in much the same way she had been tak- en from the Isle of Wight to Yad Mordechai, or from Yad Mordechai to Argentina and thence to Tel Aviv, except this time she moved through time as well as space. Five years were shaved off her life. Judith arrived in 1956 at the still tender age of twenty-three.

When she reported to her unit she explained her absence from all the scheduled drills with a claim that she had been overseas hunting Na- zis. That was entirely sufficient. Her superior officers didn't even bother to verify the claim by requesting to inspect her passport, and indeed she had none.

On October 29, four Israeli World War II vintage P-51 Mustang fighter planes flew into the Sinai and cut, with their propellers, all the telephone lines connecting the Egyptian forces in Sinai to their home office in Cairo. On the same afternoon, 395 IDF paratroopers were dropped at Mitla Pass, only fifty miles from the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, a force commanded by Colonel Ariel Sharon crossed the bor- der and seized (through very hard fighting) three Egyptian positions along the 150 miles from Israel to the pass. Sharon then disobeyed orders to halt and proceeded to seize Mitla Pass, at a cost of just 38 Israeli lives.

On October 31 an Egyptian frigate fired two hundred shells into Haifa from the sea, but a French destroyer drove it off. Two Israeli de- stroyers then chased it down and opened fire, and later two Israeli warplanes damaged it with rockets. The Egyptian ship surrendered, and it was subsequently boarded and towed to Haifa.

Israel fought a fierce series of tank battles for Abu Ageila, and af- ter two days the Egyptians withdrew. From this position, Israel could supply its troops in the central Sinai without an attack from the rear.

On November 2 the IDF seized El Arish on the Sinai Mediterranean coast, which completely isolated the Gaza Strip. By that same evening, the Egyptian governor in Gaza surrendered. The Israelis penetrated to within ten miles of the Suez Canal and took possession of forty Sovi- et-made T-34 tanks and sixty armored vehicles which were left behind there.

Seren Judith Margolies's part in the war began at Eilat and ran down the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. The objective was to seize the guns at Sharm el-Sheikh and lift the closure of the Straits of Tiran. Her commander was Colonel Avraham Yoffe, and she was part of a motor- ized infantry brigade of 1,800 soldiers and 200 vehicles.

Their route was along a camel track that was never designed to be used by wheeled vehicles. At one point at Wadi Zaala they all had to break out their spades, dig their vehicles out of deep sand, and push them uphill.

At Dahab Oasis they had their first firefight against the camel-mount- ed troops of the Egyptian Frontier Force. They also were supplied with fuel from boats sent down the Gulf of Aqaba from Eilat. Meanwhile, a detachment of Ariel Sharon's paratroopers advanced in a pincer move- ment down the Gulf of Suez, nearly doubling the size of the Israeli assault force.

At Sharm el-Sheikh a huge battery of naval guns were positioned to block all shipping to Eilat. There, 1,500 Egyptian troops with their mortars and artillery held off the Israelis for four hours of intense fighting, and it was over the course of those four hours that Judith and the company she led put forth her supreme fighting effort. The big guns of the fort were disarmed by 9 AM that morning.

The water route to Eilat was opened once more. Israel had achieved all of her war objectives in just one week. Total IDF losses were 172 killed and 817 wounded.

Having lost the war, Egypt was compelled by the terms of the cease- fire to allow Israeli shipping to pass through the Suez Canal once more. Immediately, an Israeli destroyer squadron passed from the Medi- terranean to the Red Sea to support Yoffe, his battalion commanders, Judith Margolies, and all their infantry at the tip of the Sinai Pen- insula.

In recognition of her contribution to the victory Judith was elevated from brevet segen to the regular company grade rank of seren, or cap- tain, with the corresponding pay.

Not by word, correspondence, telegram, or phone call did Judith Margo- lies appraise her father in England of any of the things that she had achieved since she parted from him, nor any of the historic events that transpired daily around her.

Personal tools
Strangers In Paradise