John Henry Patterson was many things. He was a famed African hunter whose killing of two maneating lions was made famous by Hollywood. He was an Irish Protestant, a Christian Zionist, and an early leader of the Israeli military. Patterson was also the namesake of Benjamin Netanyahu's brother, Yonatan, who was killed in the Israeli raid on Entebbe in 1976. Because of his support of the Jewish people and Jewish state, Patterson's remains were moved to Israel in 2015 at a service led by PM Netanyahu. But, The Times of Israel reports, an anti-Israel act of vandalism has damaged a memorial to Patterson in his hometown of Belfast:
In what is being treated as a hate crime, a Belfast mural honoring a local Christian citizen who led a historic Jewish legion in World War I and then advocated for the creation of the State of Israel was vandalized.
The memorial to Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson was damaged early Thursday morning after two containers were set ablaze nearby, the Irish News reported. Belfast is in northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
An officer in the British army, Patterson during World War I commanded the Zion Mule Corps, the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia, which fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. He went on to become an ardent supporter of the creation of a Jewish state.
His remains were moved to Israel last year and buried alongside the Jewish soldiers, belatedly fulfilling a wish he had expressed before his death in 1947, one year before the establishment of the State of Israel. At the 2015 burial ceremony in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Patterson “can be called the godfather of the Israeli army.”
“In doing what we are doing today, we are repaying a great historical debt and a personal debt to a great friend of our people, a great champion of Zionism, and a great believer in the Jewish state and the Jewish people,” said Netanyahu, whose father was a personal friend of Patterson.
Netanyahu’s older brother, Yonatan, who was killed leading the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation, was named for Patterson, who was his godfather...