It is a common theme that Arabs and Jews who fought in 1948 express: a sense that the world supported the enemy, and that the British, as the rulers of Mandatory Palestine, sat back and let the other side do as it wished. "The British were there but they didn't give us any protection," says Horev. "It was a battle of the roads, of the highways, and of communications. We suffered from a total embargo."
Beginnings of a new Jewish state
Both of his parents had immigrated here from Warsaw, in 1919, two years after the Balfour Declaration stating Britain's support for the creation of a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine, previously a province of the Ottoman Empire. They came as Zionists who hoped to build a new state in their old homeland, but also to escape anti-Semitism. Had they not left, his parents later realized, they would likely have been killed by the Nazis, like many of their relatives who stayed. Of Poland's prewar Jewish population of 3.3 million Jews, more than 90 percent were killed, according to figures from Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority.
Horev was born in Jerusalem in 1924, and at the age of 17, he left high school to join the Palmach.
"We worked to finance our training, so we would work two weeks a month and train two weeks a month," he says. By 1943 he was commissioned as an officer, and soon promoted to platoon commander and then company commander.