07 Aug Cuban heroes of Israel’s War of Independence honored
In 1948, a group of young Cuban Jews answered the urgent call of Israel, which was then a young nation fighting for it’s survival, by sailing to the Jewish State and volunteering to help in its fight for independence. There were more than 20 Cubans who volunteered to help Israel. All these heroes, especially the last survivors, were honored 70 years later at this recent luncheon that was organized by Hadassah Greater Miami’s Inter-American Chapter.
Living honorees who attended the luncheon commented on their honor.
Sabetay Yahia, who lives in Miami Beach, was happy to have his family together at this event while being honored and was also grateful for Hadassah for its efforts.
“They [Hadassah] are wonderful people and they did a good job on this. I’m very happy to be part of this.”
Yahia explained his and the other honorees’ inspiration to volunteer to help Israel in its War of Independence.
“We were all part of the same group and the same school in Cuba, and we all had the same thought to help Israel when the times comes, so we knew we had to do something for Israel and we did it.”
Mordechai Maya, who lives in Miami, said, “It’s a big honor that they’re doing this for us.”
“What we did was part of Israeli history.”
Elias Tacher, who lives in Miami, thought it was an unexpected surprise to be honored in this way. When asked what he thinks this honor means, Tacher responded, “That we, the Jewish people, are strong, and that no matter what happens, we”ll always be together, we’ll always be strong and we’ll always succeed.”
Lior Haiat, consul general of Israel in Miami, presented plaques to the living honorees. Before presenting the plaques, Haiat told the attendees that the State of Israel is a huge miracle and that big miracles are made from small heroes that make those miracles possible.
“It’s not very common and it doesn’t happen all the time that you get to be in the presence of real heroes,” Haiat remarked while praising the honorees.
Haiat told the honorees as he presented the plaques, “As a diplomat, as an Israeli and as an officer in the Israeli army, I salute you, I thank you and I thank Hadassah for organizing this event.”
This presentation was met with thunderous applause from the attendees. Cuban volunteers who are no longer alive were also remembered at the event.
Ruth Bichachi of Miami Beach, the widow of one of the deceased honorees, Israel Bichachi, thinks her husband would’ve been proud to see what Hadassah did in honoring these heroes.
“I’m very proud of my husband that he went to fight for Israel,” she said. “He was very proud that he went to fight for Israel.”
Raul Moncarz, a member of the board of directors of Temple Beth Shmuel – Cuban Hebrew Congregation in Miami Beach, said he was pleased to attend the luncheon and to have his synagogue take part in it.
“When I first heard about this event, I said that we need to participate because this is a key element of our heritage not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren,” Moncarz said. “This makes us proud that young men went to Israel to fight for Israel.”
The luncheon took place at Miami Shores Country Club.