Above and Beyond ★★★★½

In 1947 the U.N. partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine between Jewish and Arab factions. By May, 1948 when the British withdrew, the Arab armies with their overwhelming numbers and superior equipment were massed to attack; and the Jewish forces had no air support, no war planes. This documentary tells the story of the almost miraculous formation of an Israeli air force from the point of view of several now elderly American pilots who risked their passports and even their citizenship to help break an American embargo of arms and airplanes to the region.

Using special effects and amazing footage from the time, along with interviews with the surviving airmen and present day historians, the film weaves a skillful and emotionally satisfying chronological tapestry of that fateful battle for Israel's survival, culminating in the final truce of 1949. I'll admit, that maybe as a secular Jew I was prone to be especially receptive to the heroics of the men and women who beat all odds in winning the war which safeguarded the new state. However, there's no denying that the film was well written and edited to produce a clear record of the events, and a moving tribute the the members of the "Greatest Generation" who helped form the nation of Israel.