A Wing and a Prayer (2015)
1h · Documentary, History · 5 April 2015
A Wing and a Prayer tells the virtually unknown story of the Al Schwimmer-led secret, illegal operation to give the newborn Jewish state a chance to survive. The film features an exclusive interview with the late Schwimmer, who after leading the 1948 operation launched and ran global aviation innovator Israel Aerospace Industries. This documentary features firsthand accounts of daring escapes and heart-pounding action. Dvir secured exclusive interviews with Schwimmer and key members of his team, such as chief pilot Sam Lewis and Christian radio operator Eddie Styrak. Styrak, Lewis and the rest of Schwimmer's recruits thought they were done fighting after WWII ended in 1945. Yet Schwimmer convinced them to put their lives and U.S. citizenships on the line to give the Jewish state a fighting chance in the 1948 Arab-Israel War. Vowing to "push the Jews into the sea," the Arab League anticipated weak opposition, since Israel had a sparsely armed military, a wingless air force and no allies. Even the United States joined the worldwide embargo that threatened to strangle Israel as soon as it took its first breath. In fact, America went as far as barring its citizens from helping the Jewish state. The morning after Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, five Western-equipped armies invaded. The Jews' return to their ancient land appeared short-lived. But Schwimmer had a plan. Schwimmer's plan called for eluding the FBI and outsmarting the U.S. State Department by creating factitious airlines, buying and fixing decommissioned transport planes and smuggling in surplus Nazi weapons from behind the Iron Curtain. Schwimmer and his men helped reshape history. Yet history books have ignored them. A Wing and a Prayer fills in that missing chapter.
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