An Incredible Life Journey
by Alfy Nathan
with Joshua M. Sklare
Born in England, Alfy Nathan’s life has spanned ten decades, three continents and been punctuated with action and intrigue. In World War II, his unit was among the first to land at Sword Beach on D-Day. A lifelong Zionist, he participated in Mossad LeAliyah Bet, helping Holocaust survivors reach Israel. Founding a kibbutz, he spent nearly thirty years in Israel before becoming a successful entrepreneur in the U.S.
1947 was a critical year for us. Despite the fact that the Jews of the Exodus were sent back to Europe and would not arrive in the Holy Land until 1948, the mission had been successful in that it was a great public relations victory for us. World opinion was moving in our direction, and it became clear that the British could not keep the Jews out of Palestine. The British made their intentions clear that they were abandoning their mandate, and the United Nations was busy coming up with a plan that would satisfy both us and the Arabs. The partition plan would be approved in November, but several months earlier I went to speak with Tuvia, one of the leaders of the organization.
I knew little about him, or even if Tuvia was his real name. I told him that after two years of this covert type of activity, I was anxious to go overt and head to Palestine to help build what we all hoped would be a state. He told me that he would get back to me in several days. Later, when we met in a seaside café with both of us reading newspapers, sipping coffee, and pretending to look at the calm waves of the sea, Tuvia, in his sabra-accented English, gave me the go-ahead.