Edythe Schindler Klein, a journalist and fiction writer, now in residence at Galloway Ridge, has vivid memories of May 14, 1948, when the State of Israel was established.

That’s because she and her husband, Irvin Schindler, an airline pilot, were involved in the creation of the first Jewish state in thousands of years.

In 1947, the Schindlers were invited with other aviation experts by David Ben Gurion to purchase and deploy aircraft, hire pilots, and establish air routes. Subsequently, her husband led a highly successful effort to purchase aircraft in the United States and ferry them with considerable risk to Israel during the War of Independence.

Edythe, also a licensed pilot, had joined him in owning and operating Service Airways, a charter airline which was then converted into the Panamanian Airlines. (It was later converted to El Al, Israel’s national airline.)

The experience of establishing the airline and the problems of living in Israel when it had “nothing” cannot be exaggerated, Edythe says. “It was a very difficult time. Besides the constant threat of an Arab invasion, there was no food because many Arab farmers had departed for Jordan and Egypt.” Meanwhile, thousands of refugees, who had wandered across Europe for more than a decade, arrived. (In the first three years following the war, some 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel.)

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