The British cabinet gives the OK for enlisting Jews from Palestine as ground crew members in the RAF

WW2 was already raging when negotiations began in London for the establishment of a Jewish fighting unit in the British army. Zionist leaders wanted the creation of Jewish air squadrons, besides the Jewish ground units that were to be established. The request for Jewish pilots was denied, initially, but on February 2nd 1940 the British cabinet decided to allow, in principle, the enlistment of men from Jewish Palestine into the RAF, as ground crew members.

Following this decision, the RAF High Command turned to the Jewish Agency (‘Sokhnut’) and requested its assistance in recruitment. The response was far beyond what had been expected: by early August 1940, the number of volunteers reached 1,330 men, 1,244 of whom were Jews. They served as managers of equipment stores, electricians, vehicle mechanics, carpenters, photographers, technicians, wireless operators and in general service roles.

During the war, the number of Jews from Eretz Yisrael who joined the RAF increased to double the initial rate. Some of the men enlisting were engineers who had been studying in Britain and now joined the RAF as technical officers.

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