On this day, 24th March 1944 a gentile hero of Israel was killed in a plane crash.
In Romans 15:10, we are told ‘Rejoice gentiles with His people’. God has used many gentiles to assist the Jewish people, especially when they began to return to their ancient Homeland. One such gentile has his name gracing numerous streets, and educational institutions throughout Israel.
Orde Wingate was serving as a captain in British intelligence in British Mandated Palestine in 1936 at the height of the Arab Revolt. He soon came to admire the Jewish people and their determination to reclaim the land that had been promised to them by the God of Israel. He realised they needed help if the fledgling new nation was going to survive. He began training Jewish volunteers to serve in active defence units that came to be known as the Special Night Squads. They launched daring missions to protect Jewish communities from terrorists. Wingate drew on his deep love and profound knowledge of the Bible, employing strategy and tactics he had learned from studying the campaigns of Joshua, Gideon and King David. He organised special training courses and to Jews living in pre-state Israel, Wingate came to be known as “Ha Yedid,” meaning “the friend.”
However, as a result of his stand for the Jews, Wingate was recalled to England. Then with the outbreak of World War II, he fought with great success before he died in a tragic plane crash at 41 years old. In his short life, Wingate had won Britain’s Distinguished Service Order three times. More importantly, however, he won overwhelming gratitude of the people of Israel. When word of his death reached Jerusalem, a memorial service was organised for him and a special version of the prayer sung in memory of the dead, was even composed on his behalf.
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ICEJ Australia National Director