Weird Ways Israel Won its War of Independence

On this week’s History of Israel Explained, we’re heading back to 1948 and Israel’s War of Independence. While modern-day Israel is a force to be reckoned with, in its early days, its military might was pretty much non-existent.

Back then the Israeli army primarily consisted of a bunch of barely trained Holocaust survivors who waged war with outdated, ineffective and hardly functioning weapons. Actually, “weapons” is probably too strong a word for most of the equipment they were using, which included the (in)famous Davidka…

Above all odds, though, this makeshift army performed heroic – some would say miraculous – feats, including the creation of Israel’s own Burma Road. These feats turned the tide in the war and guaranteed the existence of the fledgling State of Israel amid a sea of hostile neighbors.

In time, Israel went from a scrappy underdog with a rag-tag army (albeit one with the world’s support) to a strong regional superpower and military leader that is now seen as a Goliath rather than a David.

But is this viewpoint fair? Did Israel gain support in the early days because no one expected it to survive? Does a strong country still deserve world support? Should we always root for the underdog?

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