The reader would probably be confused concerning the strange demeanor of all the characters in this story. A short background history should therefore clarify this enigma:
As soon as the UN decided upon the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine on the 29 of November 1947 the USA and Great-Britain declared an Embargo on all arms, munitions and all other war materials on both sides involved in the partition: Both Arab and Jewish. Later on, when the State of Israel was declared on May 15, 1948 the USA declined from recognizing the young state even “de facto” (apparently for fear of losing the oil sold to the US by the Arab States of Arab Saudia and the Arab Princely States along the Persian Gulf). As a matter of fact it was the USSR which was first to recognize Israel both “de jure” and “de facto” and recommended her subordinate countries such as Czechoslovakia and Poland to aid Israel as best they could.
Buying arms and ammunition as well as training military land, sea and air personnel to be dispatched to Israel was strictly Illegal in the USA. Therefore the activities of Teddy Kollek as well as the Flying Course at Bakersfield Airpark which was planned to be identical to a US Air Force flying course were strictly illegal and had to be conducted under cover of civil flight operations. One of the cover stories of the flying-course at Bakersfield was that a Mexican Airline sent a small group of Mexican trainee-pilots to get Commercial-Pilot-Licences and advanced training in flight-navigation.
The Jewish community of Bakersfield were all engaged in making this flying-course a success. We lodged at the “Royal Cabins” and ate all our meals at the drive-inn restaurant of Saddle and Sirloin. Our laundry and dry-cleaning was done free of charge. Elynor gave us a car so that we could get to where we had to get. Emanuel (Manny) Rothstein who had a NY driving licence was the driver. We were even given some per-diem so as not to be out of pocket-money.
The day on which I met Elynor and then Paul Calisi was March 1, 1948. Paul came back to the briefing-room and took me out to the parking-line of airplanes. We were given a Fairchild PT-26 with a 200h.p. Ranger engine. This was the standard primary-trainer of the US Air-Force. Calisi told me to get into the front seat while he climbed into the back seat.
Paul Calisi was a fighter-pilot and flight-instructor in the US Navy Air Force throughout WW2. Was very knowledgeable and experienced but this time he made a grave mistake due to the fact that he considered me as advanced as an American trainee-pilot with 11 hours flying experience on American type aircraft, while my experience was 8 hours on gliders which had no brakes and 3 hours on light-airplanes of which one had no brakes at all and the other two had heel-brakes.