Volunteers from abroad made a timely and critical difference. Many of them, Jews and non-Jews alike, were secular in religious practice and could not even speak Hebrew, but they nonetheless selflessly offered their lives and faced the loss of citizenship in the United States and Canada for serving in a foreign military.
A Wing And A Prayer is the story of how this relatively small number of men contributed their knowledge and skill, which had often been gleaned from previous service during World War II in Allied military and support forces, and enabled the Israeli military such as it was to snatch victory from certain defeat. Of course, the religiously oriented insist, perhaps correctly, that it was God’s hand that provided the very individuals and materiel, much of it originally produced for the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, at the precise moment in history to save the Jewish people.
The video builds a comprehensive background and supports the historical content with current and previously recorded personal interviews with the men who actually performed the feats. Of note is that Dr. Ralph Lowenstein, a veteran of the 1948 conflict and Director of “The Museum of American and Canadian Volunteers In Israel’s War of Independence” at the University of Florida in Gainesville, provides many insights into the historical situation. It is inside the Hillel Building and in Norman H. Lipoff Hall.
The only failings this reviewer noted was that some of the stock footage utilized shows the wrong type of airplanes, a tendency of uniformed editors that is hardly unique to this production. Such discrepancies would usually only be noted by aviation experts and may be easily forgiven. Another shortcoming is that the accompanying music volume is low at times. A third imperfection is that the sound quality of some of the incorporated interviews, a few having been filmed years ago, is less than perfect.
Boaz Dvir succeeds in bringing an obscure but signal period of history out of the shadows. Even with the aforementioned minor imperfections, A Wing And A Prayer is well worth viewing and purchasing. Those possessing Nancy Spielberg’s 2014 movie Above and Beyond will also relish Dvir’s complementary work.
A Wing And A Prayer, narrated by actor William Baldwin, is presented by WPBT in Miami, Florida. Copies of the documentary may be purchased through the station by telephoning (800) 222-9728.