Muslim army sang Israeli songs

  • Singapore - HOME
Who’s got Singapore’s back? For a tiny nation surrounded by Muslim countries, the answer is obviously “another tiny nation surrounded by Muslim countries”, namely Israel.
by ANT KATZ | Mar 29, 2015

But, according to a eport on JTA affiliate,, it turns out Israel doesn’t just have Singapore’s back – it’s also got its arms, military technology, and calisthenics routines.

Why’s that? We’ll have to turn back to 1965, when the Israel Defence Forces got a call to come and create Singapore’s army.

Singapore hezi-carmel-mossad

RIGHT: Mossad agents, from right, Meir Amit, Hezi Carmel & Avner Idan - guests of Filipino Intelligence officials

If this surprises you, it’s because both countries kept it a secret from the moment Israel first got involved, until 2000.

That was the year that Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew who recently died at the age of 91), published his book on the story of the country’s emergence, and broke the silence on this sensitive issue.

Shortly after Singapore declared independence in 1965, the newly-created sovereign city-state requested military assistance from Egypt and India, but got no reply.

It was then that Israel’s ambassador to Thailand and Mossad officer Hezi Carmel, agreed to help.

Muslim population meant keeping shtum

Singapore’s large Malay Muslim population meant that Israel’s involvement remained a sensitive and thus secret matter.


LEFT: Malay soldiers before the Battle of Singapore

Singapore’s army, which is now considered one of the strongest in Southeast Asia, adopted a number of IDF practices.

These included:

  • Its model of conscription;
  • Its model of reserve service; and
  • In the beginning, Israel’s marching songs.

You know how it goes: former British possessions got to help each other out.

  • Learn more about collaborations between Israel and Singapore;
  • Find out why Singapore’s army is so strong; and
  • Other Jews in Singapore.


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