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Escondido Cemetery Records. As a youth he was a member of his town's Young Israel Society and later of Habonim. To prepare himself for his new life, he took advantage of the Government's COTT scheme which trained demobilized soldiers for a trade. Alperstein, living the dream of Jewish redemption by self-labor, joined a builders' course. Abe and Riva Nurick left immediately for Kibbutz Ma'ayan Baruch on the Triumph motor-cycle which they'd brought with them and which later became the settlement's transport vehicle.
Hugo Alperstein first went to Jerusalem to find the girlfriend whom he had met in Egypt during the war. Within a few weeks, he joined the kibbutz and some months later succeeded in bringing his girlfriend there. The two were married at the kibbutz. Abe Nurick was made for kibbutz life. A son of the veld, a helper in his schoolboy days in his father's Upington butchery and farm, he had abandoned his university studies in to learn the building trade.
Now he became both the kibbutz builder and its expert on butchering meat. His service in the SAAF, with its 5-year tent-and-workshop life in Kimberley, North Africa and Italy, also turned out to be excellent preparation for the raw life of pioneering. He took Hugo Alperstein under his wing and they began to work together on the settlement's building projects. Before the war he had taken no interest in Jewish affairs, and was far removed from contemporary Zionist-minded youth. It is possible that a visit to Palestine on one of his air force leaves transformed the young fighter-pilot into the obsessed year-old, dreaming only of joining Kibbutz Ma'ayan Baruch.
He was now afire with Zionism. At lunch time he would walk over from the trade school to the nearby University of the Witwatersrand to attend meetings of the Students Zionist Association. His friend, Shaul Bar Levav Levinson , an early volunteer, described how intensely interested Eddie was in all he heard.
He arrived at Ma'ayan Baruch in October , an urbanite with well-chosen suits and ties, books, a fine collection of classical records and a hungry idealism. Quiet and reserved, he had interior depths which his new life began to stir, but this new life was destined soon to end, for a country at war would need the expertise of war veterans. He was part of a flight of four Messershmitts which attacked an Egyptian column of vehicles some 30 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.
He was flying wing to Ezer Weizman, who later became president of Israel. This sortie surprised the Egyptian commanders, who believed that Israel was without air defenses. The Egyptians would not be in Tel Aviv in forty-eight hours as their press had boasted, and Tel Aviv receded from their grasp. At Rosh Pina the bus joined a large convoy led by armored cars, and they moved steadily into the "finger" of the Upper Galilee.
The British had given the fortress-like police station of Nebi Yusha to Arabs who sniped at the convoy. Doors slammed shut and shutters closed. The pitter-patter of the bullets was their introduction to the war for the South African kibbutzniks The bus stopped at a small outhouse, the driver opened the door facing away from Nebi Yusha and three men quickly clambered in. The men had been working at the kibbutz fish pond directly below the police station. War or no war, work had to go on.
In the distance fires burned and the sounds of a small arms skirmish were clearly audible. There was little ceremony to greet the three men at Ma'ayan Baruch, for they had arrived in the middle of an alarm exercise.
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The situation was briefly explained to them: each settlement in the valley was expected to defend itself until the surrounding settlements could come to its aid. Kfar Szold, Dan and other settlements near Ma'ayan Baruch had already beaten off attacks. But now organized armies, not irregulars, would bear down on the settlements whose communication systems would be maintained by radio heliograph, lamps and flares. The briefing showed the situation in all its harsh reality. By accepted military calculations, the kibbutz could offer little resistance to a determined assault.
Its arms consisted of about 25 weapons, including one old 2-inch mortar with a few shells, a Chateau light machine gun with several hundred rounds and 20 or so smaller arms of diverse makes and age.
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The locally made Sten gun, with an effective range of not more than 50 yards, vied for pride of place with a tommy-gun, an old shotgun normally used for hunting buck, and assorted French, German, English and Czech rifles. Each weapon had its idiosyncrasies.
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An order had been issued by Josef, the military commander, that ammunition was to be used sparingly, for no one knew when replenishments would arrive. The settlement had been well prepared against attack, both from the air and ground.