Some time ago, after I had finally retired from a forty six and a half year career as a pilot, I endeavored to write, in great detail, a memoir of my extraordinary family and the extraordinary experiences I was fortunate enough to have as a pilot. The memoir was primarily an effort to preserve this knowledge and these memories for my family, and most of it isn’t of general interest. But there are a few exceptions; a few moments where we were unwitting accomplices or witnesses to some of Jewish history’s greatest events. This blog is where I’ll gradually post, one by one and in no apparent order, translations of these stories.


The stories are organized by topic and are available by clicking on the links at the top of this page. I hope you enjoy them, and thank you for visiting.

— Oded

17 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Oded – We are showing the film “Above and Beyond” produced by Nancy Spielberg on April 20th in the evening at the Austin Jewish Community Center. We would like to interview you live via Skype at that time if you are willing.

    • Mike, Oded does not have Skype but requested that I pass the following message along:

      “Dear Sir,

      I strongly recommend that you obtain the following book, which will no doubt be of great help to you and to the Director and Producer of “Above and Beyond” in your future work on the birth of the IAF:


      Aircrew Personnel in the War of Independence

      Eddy Kaplansky
      January 1993

      Respectfully yours,

      Oded Abarbanell.”

  2. Mr. Abarbarnell, I’m researching a family history book and looking for information about Peter Gilbert. I believe he trained with you in Bakersfield as part of Elynor Rudnick’s group before he was assigned to the No. 1 Squadron. His family would be so appreciative if we could talk to you about your experiences and any memories you might have of Peter. I can be reached at amy@thestoryscribe.com. A thousand thanks in advance!

  3. Hi, Mr. Abarbanell,
    I tried leaving a post a few days ago but I think it got lost in the ether. Is there a way for me to contact you? I’m researching a family history book and looking for information about Peter Gilbert, a member of the training group set up in 1948 by Elynor Rudnick in Bakersfield. The Gilbert family would appreciate any recollections you would be kind enough to share, about Peter specifically or more generally about flying during the early days of Israel. Thanks in advance. Amy Butler, amy@thestoryscribe.com

  4. I am Albert Solsberg’s son. He was the Canadian radio engineer and a volunteer during Operation Velveta. Thank you so much for the wonderful blog. I would be interested if you had any memories of my father. I would like to document them. Thank you

  5. I am Paul Calisi’s son. He passed in 1985. It was interesting to read about him. Any chance you might have pictures of him from that time?

  6. Thank you for posting “My Mother’s Family”. Itzhik Chernov and Golda Shonberg were my great grandparents and I learned so much from this story!

  7. Dear Mr. SOLSBERG,
    I am a Czech researcher being interested in the Czechoslovak assistance to the Israeli Air Force in 1948-49/50 Because Operation Velveta is closely connected with Czechoslovakia (delivery of Czechoslovak Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.IXE Fighters to Israel) I would like to get in touch with you in order to be more familiarized with activities of your father in favour of the Israeli Air Force in 1948-49. Please, contact me at zdk-hb(at)atlas.cz . Thank you very much in advance.
    Zdeněk KLÍMA
    Prague, Czechia

  8. I flew a spitfire mark nine as a volunteer from Zarteck to Ramat Aviv in September 1948 under an assumed name .have not been able to trace the mission Do you think it was velveta 1 please contact if you have information sincerely victor segall

  9. Hi my father z”l was one of the passengers on the El Al flight hijacked to Algeri
    It would be a huge gift if I could possibly hear your version of the story and connect the dots! Putting together a memoir of his adventurous life!

    Maybe you remember him

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