On 23rd September 2013, HRDI had the privilege to organise a memorial service for the 900 brave Indian Soldiers who fought to liberate Haifa in Israel. The service was organised in the Synagogue at Humayun Road, New Delhi. General Jacob, His excellency, the Ambassador of Israel in India, Mr.Alon Ushpiz,Squadron Leader Chhina, Mr. Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament and other distinguished speakers and participants were present at the event.
Indian Heroism in Israel……the story unveiled!
The Battle for Liberation of Haifa from the Turks during the First World War was fought on 23rd September 1918. The Port of Haifa is strategically located and its capture was urgently required for landing supplies and armaments during the impending Arab-Israeli conflict. For the leaders of the Provisional Government of Israel, capturing Haifa was crucial.
During the battle for Haifa, two brave Indian cavalry regiments of the Indian army consisting of Jodhpur and Mysore lancers, exhibited exemplary cavalry skills and bravery, which finally culminated in the liberation of Haifa.A large number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in this region and nearly 900 Indian Soldiers are cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel.
The action of the Indian troops has been vividly recorded in the Official History of the War-Military Operations Egypt and Palestine, “No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign. Machine gun, bullets, over and over again, failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries”. This remains the only known incident in military history when a fortified town was captured by cavalry on the gallop.
Captain Bahadur Aman Singh Jodha and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anoop Singh and 2 Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition for their bravery in this battle.
Major Thakur Dalpat Singh MC is known in the annals of history as the Hero of Haifa for his critical role in the battle for Haifa.
Every year on September 23, the Indian Army commemorates “Haifa Day”. On this day in the year 1918, the Indian troops helped liberate the city following dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.
The Residents of the Israeli city celebrate Haifa Day every year to commemorate the role of the Indian army. In 2010, the Municipality of Haifa took a commendable decision to immortalise the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers by including the stories of their valiant efforts in liberating the coastal city in the school curricula as part of the History textbooks.
The Teen Murti Bhawan in India was built in 1922, “In the memory of the officers, non – commissioned officers and men of the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, composed of cavalry regiments from the Indian states of Hyderabad, Mysore and Jodhpur, who gave their lives in the great war of 1914 – 1919 in Sinai, Palestine and Syria”. The building gets its name from Teen Murti or the three bronze statues which were sculpted by Leonard Jennings. The names of the officers who died in the war are inscribed on the tall, white, stone-based obelisk.
Indian soldiers fought, died and played key roles in the liberation and Independence of Israel, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar. But their martyrdom and sacrifice is not well documented. Proper memorials have not been erected in these countries and not included in the school texts in India and in these countries. Nearly 8,000 Indian soldiers died during 1971 Bangladesh war.
Indian soldiers will be lauded in Israeli textbooks for freeing Haifa city
80,000 Jews from India migrated to Israel after Israel’s Independence in 1949. They are very successful as engineers, professionals, agriculturists, businessmen, military generals etc. They are proud of their Indian heritage.
They proudly say: “Israel is our Fatherland and India is our Motherland” and “Israel is in our blood but India is in our Heart.”