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The Revolt is Proclaimed.

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Ultra Requete:
I found this one article and it's interesting becouse it shows haw 60 yaers of liberal zionist had changed Israeli Jews:

--- Quote ---In 1943, it was already clear that the victory of the Allies was only a question of time. The dimensions of the Holocaust were known in Palestine, but the British government adhered to the White Paper policy, and continued to bar the gates of the country to Jewish immigration. Moreover, those immigrant ships which succeeded in escaping from occupied Europe were not only prohibited from entering Palestine, but were sometimes even forced to return to Europe, although the fate that awaited their passengers was clear to all.

The conduct of the British government further infuriated young Jews in Palestine. The Irgun General Headquarters came to the conclusion that the truce it had proclaimed when war broke out had to be ended, and that it was essential to take action against the British without waiting till the war was over.

In the higher echelons of the Irgun the feeling prevailed that, in order to renew the struggle against the British, it was essential to make far-reaching changes in the leadership. According to Eliyahu Lankin, who was then a senior commander in the Irgun:

 We said that we had to find a man to command us who had no connection with what had occurred during and after the split (i.e. the split with Avraham Stern), but it was hard to find such a man in Eretz Israel. 

Menahem Begin, Betar leader in Poland, arrived in Eretz Israel at this point When war broke out, he had been arrested by the Soviet authorities and sent to a detention camp in Siberia. About a year later he was released under the terms of the Soviet-Polish treaty, which freed all Polish nationals from Soviet jails. He then joined the Polish force established in the Soviet Union (General Anders Army) and reached Eretz Israel with this army. He reported immediately to the Irgun command, but refused to desert from the ranks. Only after being officially discharged was he asked to accept command of the Irgun. Eliyahu Lankin, one of those who approached Begin, remembers that his response was: "Gentlemen, I have been a Betarite and a soldier in the Polish army, but I have no military experience." "We told him," Lankin recalls, "that we did not lack fighters. We needed a leader of authority to blaze our political and ideological path."

Menahem Begin
In December 1943, Begin was chosen as Commander of the Irgun Zvai Le'umi in Eretz Israel. He established a new General Headquarters, which included Aryeh Ben Eliezer, Eliyahu Lankin and Shlomo Levi-Lev Ami (Levi was the only one who had been a member of the previous command). At its first meeting, the General Headquarters passed two important resolutions: the first - that an armed struggle against the British Mandatory government had to be launched without delay, and the second - that the Irgun had to detach itself from the Revisionist party and determine its own path.

On February 1, 1944, the Irgun plastered posters on the walls of buildings all over the country, proclaiming a revolt against British rule. It stated, among other things:


We are in the last stage of the world war. Each and every nation is now conducting its national reckoning. What are its triumphs and what were its losses? What road must it take in order to achieve its goal and fulfil its mission? Who are its friends and who its enemies? Who is the true ally and who the traitor? And who is proceeding towards the decisive battle?
Sons of Israel, Hebrew youth!
We stand at the final stage of the war, we face an historic decision on our future destiny.
The truce proclaimed when war broke out has been violated by the British authorities. The rulers of the country have taken into account neither loyalty nor concessions nor sacrifice; they have continued to implement their aim: the liquidation of sovereign Zionism.
We must draw the necessary conclusions without wavering. There can no longer be a truce between the Hebrew nation and youth and the British administration of Eretz Israel, which is betraying our brethren to Hitler. Our nation will fight this regime, fight to the end.

And this is our demand:
Rule over Eretz Israel must immediately be handed over to a provisional Hebrew government.
The Hebrew government of Eretz Israel, the sole legal representative of the Jewish people, must, immediately after its establishment, begin the implementation of the following principles:
a. establish a national Hebrew army.
b. conduct negotiations with all authorized bodies on the organization of the mass evacuation of European Jewry to Eretz Israel.

The establishment of a Hebrew government and the implementation of its plans - this is the sole way of rescuing our people, salvaging our existence and our honor. We will follow this path, for there is no other.
We will fight! Every Jew in our homeland will fight!

Our fighting youth will not be deterred by victims, blood and suffering. They will not surrender, will not rest until they restore our past glory, until they ensure our people of a homeland, freedom, honor, bread, justice and law. And if you help them, then your own eyes will soon behold the return to Zion and the rebirth of Israel.
May God be with us and aid us!


When the struggle began, the Irgun stipulated two restricting conditions: avoidance of individual terror as a method and postponement of attacks on military targets until the war ended.

The first target of the Irgun fighters were the immigration offices of the British Mandatory authorities. These offices, more than anything else, symbolized the restriction of immigration and the frustration of efforts to rescue the Jews of Europe. The Immigration Office was careful to grant certificates only according to the quota fixed by the White Paper, i.e. the number of immigrants was not permitted to exceed 1,500 per month. From this tiny number were deducted those Jews who immigrated illegally and were caught by the authorities. According to the White Paper, immigration was to cease completely on March 31, 1944.

On Saturday night, February 12, 1944, Irgun fighters attacked immigration offices simultaneously in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The operation went smoothly and without casualties. Two weeks later, the fighters set out again, this time to blow up the income tax offices, again in the three large towns. An income tax law had been introduced in Eretz Israel in 1941 and, as anticipated, had proven highly unpopular, particularly since most of the burden fell on the Jewish population. One of the reasons for selecting this target was that even those who did not support the Irgun campaign against the British were unlikely to condemn an attempt to prevent the collection of income tax. This operation also proved successful and claimed no casualties.

Income Tax office in Jerusalem after the blowing up
After the baptism of fire, it was decided to take a more daring step and attack the nerve center of British rule, British Intelligence and the police. Once again the operation was co-ordinated to take place simultaneously in the three large towns. In Jerusalem, the task was more difficult since the British Intelligence was housed in the Russian Compound, as were the police headquarters and the law courts. Despite the difficulties, the Irgun fighters, under Rahamim Cohen (Gad) succeeded in infiltrating the British Intelligence offices and placing the explosives. However, the duty officer that night, Sergeant Scott, on a routine patrol of inspection noticed a suspicious movement on the balcony. He was injured when fire was opened on him, but before he collapsed he succeeded in shooting one of the Irgun fighters, Asher Benziman (Avshalom). Despite the exchange of fire, the sappers succeeded in preparing the explosive devices and retreating. Several minutes later, there was a loud explosion and the building collapsed. Asher Benziman succeeded in escaping, but died of his wounds shortly afterwards - the first casualty of the revolt. The British officer also died as a result of his injuries.

The raid on the British Intelligence headquarters in Jaffa was commanded by Amichai Paglin (Gidi) and the attack on the Haifa British Intelligence was led by Yaakov Hillel. The two raids were carried out successfully.

The British Intelligence headquarters after the blowing up
As more operations were undertaken, the fighters gained military experience and they became increasingly daring. On May 17, 1944, some 40 fighters set out to attack and occupy the government broadcasting station at Ramallah in order to make an underground broadcast from there. The takeover was smooth and was carried out without loss of life, but the broadcast itself did not take place because of an unexpected hitch in operating the transmitters. On the other hand, two months later, the blowing up of the district British Intelligence in Jerusalem was carried out without a hitch: on the night of July 13, 1944, an Irgun unit broke into the building in Mamilla Street, detonated explosive devices and retreated without suffering casualties.

 One of the operations which undermined the prestige of the British authorities and made them the object of ridicule was the 'Wall' scheme, which concerned prayer arrangements at the Western Wall. In the late nineteen twenties, the Arabs had already begun to complain that blowing the shofar at the Western Wall was an insult to Islam. In 1931, the King's Order in Council (the legislative authority of the Mandatory government) stipulated that the Moslems' ownership rights to the Temple Mount also encompassed the Western Wall area. As a result, Jews were banned from blowing the shofar at the Wall, despite the fact that this ceremony is an integral part of the Rosh Hashana (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) prayer services.

The ban deeply offended Jews, and the Irgun decided to act. After the imposition of the ban, Irgun and Betar members "smuggled" a shofar into the Western Wall area every Yom Kippur. There a volunteer was waiting to blow the 'Tekia Gedola', the blast which marks the end of the fast. This was not easily done, since large numbers of British policemen were stationed along the routes to the Wall and conducted careful searches of the belongings of the Jews visiting the Wall. The shofar blower was usually arrested and jailed in the Kishleh, the police building in the Old City, which had served as a jail since the Turkish era. (The building is still standing and is now used by the Israeli police). The blowing of the shofar at the Wall at the end of Yom Kippur was not only a religiously ceremony, but also bolstered national pride throughout the country. On Yom Kippur 5703 (September 1942), Menahem Begin visited the Wall and witnessed the British policemen bursting into the area in search of the Betarite who had blown the shofar.

In summer, 1944, the question of the shofar ceremony at the Wall was raised again. This time the Irgun decided not to confine itself to bringing in a single shofar-blower to mark the end of Yom Kippur. Several weeks before the High Holydays, the Irgun began to issue warnings to the British to keep away from the Wall, and announced that any policemen found near the Wall on Yom Kippur would be punished. As the fast-day approached, the warnings were reiterated daily. Nine proclamations were issued in all; the following is the text of one of them:


Any British Constable who will commit acts of violence near the Western Wall on the Day of Atonement and, in defiance of the moral law of civilized people, will disturb the worshippers assembled there and will desecrate the sanctity of prayer will be regarded and LISTED by the HEBREW Youth as a CRIMINAL OFFENDER.

Visitors or passers-by, whether Moslems or Christians, will not be disturbed in their approaching or passing the Western Wall.


The tension mounted. The Irgun created the impression that it intended to concentrate large forces in the Western Wall area, to bar access by violent means. This was, however, a diversionary tactic, and the Irgun had an entirely different plan in mind. As Yom Kippur came to an end, attacks were launched at four police stations throughout the country. These buildings, known as Taggart fortresses, were large structures of reinforced concrete, built in the 1930s according to the design of the British engineer, Sir Charles Taggart. The Irgun's warnings about the Western Wall were examples of psychological warfare, serving to divert attention from the main military operation. Surprisingly enough, the authorities heeded the Irgun's warnings, and not a single British policeman was present in the Wall area on Yom Kippur. The traditional blowing of the shofar after the final prayer took place without interruption, and the congregation then burst into a loud rendering of "Hatikva", the national anthem. No clashes occurred that day at the Wall or en route to it, and the British detectives, who were present in mufti, were disappointed by the absence of Irgun armed forces. They were unaware that the Irgun's fighting units were at that very moment conducting an operation against the Taggart fortresses in Haifa (under Rahamim Cohen), Kalkiliya (under Nathan-Niko Germant), Gadera - Katra (under Yehoshua Weinstein and Shraga Alis) and Beit Dagan (under Yaakov Sika-Aharoni).

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Ultra Requete:

--- Quote ---The 'Hunting Season', or 'Season' for short, was the code-name for the Haganah's persecution of the Irgun, aimed at putting an end to its activities.

As a result of the Irgun's proclamation of a revolt against British rule, military operations were launched against various government targets. The official leadership of the Yishuv, the heads of the Jewish Agency, were opposed to this activity and demanded that it cease. They argued that the national institutions had been democratically elected, and that consequently the Irgun and Lehi should accept their authority.

In September 1944, Menahem Begin, Irgun commander, held two meetings with Moshe Sneh, head of the Haganah General Headquarters, and Eliyahu Golomb, one of the Haganah leaders. At these meetings, which lasted into the night, relations between the Irgun and the Yishuv leadership were discussed at length.

On the question of national authority, Moshe Sneh said, inter alia:   To expand your activities requires control of the souls and the property of the public. And it is we who control the public. We do not intend to renounce that control, because it is we who have received a mandate from the Jewish people... If you continue your activities, a clash will result. 

Eliyahu Golomb was even blunter:

 We demand that you cease immediately [your activity against the British]... We do not want a civil war... but we will be ready for that as well. We will be forced to adopt our own measures to prevent your activities. The police, in our opinion, will not be able to liquidate you, but if the Yishuv rebels, it could come to that. It is clear that we are not speaking of your physical liquidation, but the developments could lead to that as well, they could lead to your destruction. And then it will not matter who started - it is a question of propaganda and information. 

Begin vehemently rejected the charge that the Irgun wanted to take over control of the Yishuv and said:

 We have no intention of seizing power in the Yishuv. We have said this on many occasions. We have no such ambitions... we think that Ben-Gurion is the man who can lead our youth into battle today. But in order to do so, Ben-Gurion must leave his residence in Rehavia. For as long as he is there - he cannot conduct that war. We have no party or administrative interests. We pray for the day when we can proclaim the end of the Irgun's task and disperse it. And the moment that you go out to war - we will all rally under a united leadership, in which you will constitute the decisive majority. But as long as you have not done this, we will conduct our battle. 

The Round Table at the Vackses
The table around which Begin and Sneh met in September 1944
The turning point in the struggle against the Jewish underground was the assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo. Lord Moyne, who was known to be an anti-Zionist, had been appointed Minister of State for the Middle East, and from his place of residence in Cairo was responsible for implementing the White Paper policy. Lehi, which considered Lord Moyne to be responsible for the deportation of the immigrant ships, plotted to assassinate him. Two of its members - Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri - were despatched to Cairo, and on November 6, 1944, they carried out the assassination, but were caught shortly after carrying out their mission. On January 10, 1945 they were charged with murder. Hakim and Beit-Zuri, manacled, stood calmly beside their Egyptian guards with red fezzes. Both were, and had been since their capture, completely self-possessed. They did not take part in the proceedings, and when the testimony was completed, Eliyahu Hakim rose to his feet and said:

 We accuse Lord Moyne and the government he represents, with murdering hundreds and thousands of our brethren; we accuse him of seizing our country and looting our possessions... We were forced to do justice and to fight. 

After being sentenced to death, they rose to their feet and sang the national anthem. On March 23, 1945, they were dressed in the traditional, ill-fitting red burlap suit of condemned men, marched barefoot to the gallows, were blindfolded at the scaffold, and hanged.

 The assassination of Lord Moyne created shock waves in Palestine and throughout the world. Even before the identity of the assassins became known, the Jewish Agency Executive convened and issued a fierce condemnation of the act. At the same meeting, it decided on a series of measures against "terrorist organizations" in Palestine.

Once the Season had been approved by the Jewish Agency Executive, the matter was submitted to the Histadrut Council, the body which, more than any other framework, determined the conduct of the "organized Yishuv". It published an official announcement on the matter:

Jewish youth must fight terror and its perpetrators!

[...] The perpetrators of terror, who call themselves the 'Irgun Zvai Le'umi' and 'Lohamei Herut Israel' are traitors!
... They must be removed from our classrooms, banished from our workshops!
Their propaganda, whether written or spoken, must not be permitted...
No refuge must be given to these malefactors in the homes of your parents, relatives and acquaintances!
The incorrigible despoilers must be isolated and abandoned, until they are spewed out of the ranks of the Yishuv, until terror ceases and its organization is eradicated. 

As regards collaboration with the British police, the announcement went on to declare:

The Jewish Agency proposes herewith that all persons who are acquainted with any of the terrorists, should immediately inform the police by word of mouth, in writing or by telephone and observe the injunction: 'And thou shalt root out the evil from thy midst'. Fathers who have sons in these organizations should, in the same fashion, inform the police and observe thereby the injunction: 'If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, he must take him out to the elders and say to them: This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice. And all the men of the city shall stone him with stones.' Particularly since the English do not intend to do the terrorists any harm. They will hold them for a year or two apart from other people until their surplus energy, which apparently results from overeating and from inactivity and sloth, has cooled down [...]

It is time to act for the sake of the Jewish people and the homeland. 

Two members of the Jewish Agency Executive, Rabbi Yehuda Fishman-Maimon and Yitzhak Greenboim, continued to oppose any form of collaboration with the British police, and when the decision was taken, Greenboim announced his resignation.

The following is a 1944 pamphlet published by the Irgun proclaiming the policy of non-retaliation.


[...] It is with gloomy face that the loyal Jew asks himself and his neighbor: Are we to suffer this as well? Will a civil war break out in Eretz Israel? Will our home be destroyed before it has been built? Will our enemies see their base aspiration fulfilled? The air is filled with gunpowder. Orators and leaders do not cease to speak of the internal strife. One of them has said that it has already begun; the second - even more loudmouthed - has profaned his lips with the hysterical cry: blood for blood, an eye for an eye! A third has labored and labored until he has finally devised a plan to save the Jewish people. And this is the plan: to expel from their homes, to expel from schools, to starve and to hand over our fighting youths to the British Police. 'It is them or us,' it declared, 'and all means are acceptable in order to liquidate them.' (From Ben-Gurion's speech at the Histadrut Conference).
Yes, the dread of the loyal Jew is understandable. Are we to witness our children raising their hands or aiming their weapons against one another? What will they do, those persecuted people against whom the terrible edicts are directed? How will they defend themselves?...

These are grave questions, and we feel it our duty - on our own behalf and on behalf of the Irgun Zvai Le'umi in Eretz Israel - to provide an answer. And this is our answer: you may stay calm, loyal Jews; there will be no fraternal strife in this country...

It was not easy for Begin to persuade his subordinates to exercise restraint. There were two underlying reasons for his decision: firstly, he said, to react could result in the Yishuv being plunged into a civil war, which would spell the end of the struggle against British rule in Eretz Israel. Secondly, he felt it undesirable to exacerbate relations with the Haganah, because they might later decide to join the struggle against foreign rule. Members of the Irgun who had been trained in the spirit of 'breaking the havlaga', found it hard to accept the decision of the General Headquarters. They did not, however, violate the order, possibly in the hope that their leader's evaluation would prove correct, and that the Haganah would join the struggle against the British. (This did indeed occur a year later, when the United Resistance - Tenuat Hameri Ha'ivri - was established).

The entire Haganah command was preoccupied with the Season, and information on the Irgun and the Lehi was amassed by the Haganah's intelligence service, 'Shai'. The intelligence service had some 250 Palmach fighters (the elite Haganah unit) at its disposal, who were brought to town and assigned to the Season operation. They shadowed suspects and kidnapped Irgun fighters on the basis of lists they received from the Shai. In addition, the Palmach guarded the Jewish Agency leaders for fear that the Irgun or Lehi might react by perpetrating counter-kidnappings. The Jewish Agency in Jerusalem set up a Department for Special Assignments, which maintained close contact with the British Intelligence. It was this department which handed over to the British a list of names of persons suspected of being members of the Irgun.

Close to one thousand people were handed over to the British. Most of them were taken to the Latrun detention camp and several hundred were deported to detention camps in Africa (see "African Exile"). In addition, dozens of suspects were kidnapped and detained in prison cells built especially for this purpose on various kibbutzim. They were interrogated by members of the Haganah Intelligznce Service and occasionally suffered torture.

The Watch-Tower in Kiryat-Anavim
The Hagana Used this Tower as a Jail for Irgun Kidnappees
A letter from the High Commissioner in Jerusalem to the Colonial Secretary in London dated March 1, 1945 reveals that the Jewish Agency exploited its collaboration with the British Intelligence in order to hand over active members of the Revisionist party, who were not even members of the Irgun, and thereby to rid itself of political rivals. The letter states, among other things: (Public Records, CO733/457).

[...] In all, the Jewish Agency has supplied so far details of 830 suspects, of whom 337 have been located and detained so far. Of these, 241 are being held under the Emergency Regulations; the remainder have been released either under surveillance or unconditionally... Several useful arrests have also been made in the Irgun center in Tel Aviv.
Unfortunately, the Jewish Agency's lists of so-called terrorists continues to include numerous people who have no terror connections, but politically speaking are undesirable to the Jewish Agency. This adds to the difficulties the police has in separating the sheep from the goats [...]

The most serious kidnapping incident was the case of Yaakov Tavin, who was in charge of the Irgun's intelligence service and on the Haganah's most wanted list. For three months, Tavin succeeded in evading the Haganah men who were shadowing him, but at the end of February 1945, he finally fell into their hands. The kidnapping was described in Ha'aretz of March 2, 1945 as follows:

Passersby in Dizengoff and Yirmiyahu streets were greatly struck on Tuesday, February 27, 1945, by the kidnapping of a young man in the street. The kidnapping occurred at 11 a.m, and was witnessed by a large number of people. A large taxi halted at the corner of Dizengoff and Yirmiyahu streets, and several men emerged, one of them dressed in police uniform. They approached the young man, who was standing on the pavement holding a package. Shouting 'Thief!', they attacked him and began to hit him.
The crowd thought that he was in fact a thief, and several of them joined the attackers and helped them to push the young man into the taxi. He struggled with them and shouted in Yiddish and in Hebrew: 'Jews, help me! Why do you let them hit a Jew?' He was thrown into the car, which swiftly drove away. 

Tavin's kidnappers blindfolded him, tied his hands and forced him to lie on the floor of the car. He was driven to Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha and from there was taken to Kibbutz Ein Harod, where he was imprisoned in a barn which had been converted into a detention room. Tavin was held there for six months and underwent numerous interrogations, accompanied by severe torture. He was released when the war ended and the Haganah entered into negotiations with the Irgun for the establishment of 'The United Resistance' .

The kidnappings were fiercely condemned in the Yishuv. The Chief Rabbinate published a strongly-worded notice, which declared:

This cruel deed is utterly prohibited by the Torah, and is alien and abominable to the Jewish people and to every Jew. It desecrates the name of Israel and our settlement in Eretz Israel.
Cease these cruel and despicable acts. 

The distinguished philosopher, Hugo Bergmann, who was a member of 'Brit Shalom' and a sworn opponent of the Jewish underground, wrote:

The kidnappings are the tomb of democratic public life... a death sentence against all we hold dear in the Yishuv... These Ku Klux Klan acts are being committed lawlessly, and those accused have no opportunity to defend themselves. 

The protesters were joined by civil organizations and by the Tel Aviv Municipality, together with municipalities and local councils all over the country. Public pressure proved effective and the Season gradually lapsed.

Although the Season caused the Irgun considerable harm, it did not liquidate it. Many of the fighters were arrested, but new recruits took the place of the veterans, and in the spring of 1945 the organization began to recover. After a seven-month interval, the Irgun again went into action. In May 1945, telephone poles were sabotaged throughout the country, and home-made mortars were set up opposite various government targets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, mortars were put into position opposite the King David Hotel (the seat of the British military command and the government secretariat), and opposite the government printing press (alongside the railway station). In Tel Aviv, the mortars were located near the Sarona military camp (now the Kirya government area in Tel Aviv). The oil pipeline linking the Iraqi oilfields to the Haifa refineries was also sabotaged. On July 23, 1945, a joint unit of Irgun and Lehi fighters, under the command of Yehoshua Weinstein (Benyamin) blew up a railway bridge adjacent to the Arab village of Yibne (present-day Yavne). This was the first joint operation of the two organizations, after they had resolved to act together against British rule.
--- End quote ---

Ultra Requete:
Take note haw British liberals betrayed Jewish couse:

--- Quote ---As the second World War approached its end, hopes ran high among the leaders of the Zionist movement that the British government would amend its policy towards Jewish immigration to Eretz Israel. Such hopes, however, were soon dashed. In the summer of 1945, a general election was held in Britain. Labor pledged that if they were returned to power, they would revoke the White Paper and permit Holocaust survivors to immigrate to Eretz Israel without delay. They also promised to act for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Eretz Israel, which would gradually evolve into an independent state.

However, after sweeping victory at the polls, the new Labor government soon declared that there would be no changes in Britain's foreign policy, nor would any concessions be granted with regard to Jewish immigration. Labor's attachment to the White Paper greatly disappointed Jewish leaders in Eretz Israel and the Diaspora. On September 23, 1945, Moshe Sneh, head of the Haganah General Headquarters, cabled David Ben-Gurion (then in London) as follows: has been proposed that we stage a grave incident. Then we will issue a statement declaring that this is only a warning, and hint at much more serious incidents to follow. 

Ben-Gurion replied swiftly on October 1: (from the Slik No.1, 1991, Haganah Archives)

[...] We must not confine our reaction in Palestine to immigration and settlement. It is essential to adopt tactics of S [sabotage] and reprisal. Not individual terror, but retaliation for each and every Jew murdered by the White Paper. The S. action must carry weight and be impressive, and care should be taken, insofar as possible, to avoid casualties...
The two rival factions [Irgun and Lehi] should be invited to collaborate on condition that there is uniform authority and that total discipline is observed. Constant effort is required to ensure solidarity within the Yishuv and, above all, among the fighters, for the sake of the struggle.

Our reaction should be constant, bold and calculated for a considerable period...

Sneh regarded Ben-Gurion's letter as a warrant for the launching of military action against the British. As a first step, the Season was suspended, and discussions initiated on collaboration between the Haganah, Irgun and Lehi. The negotiations were crowned with success, and at the end of October, 1945, an agreement was signed between the three organizations for the establishment of The United Resistance. The following are the main points of the agreement: (Menahem Begin, 'In the Underground' vol.2, p.7)

a. The Haganah organization has entered upon a military struggle against British rule.
b. The Irgun and Lehi will not implement combat plans without the approval of the command of the United Resistance.
c. The Irgun and Lehi will carry out combat missions assigned to them by the command of the United Resistance Movement.
d. Discussions of proposed operations will not be formal. Representatives of the three fighting organizations will meet regularly, or whenever the need arises, and will discuss such plans from a political and practical viewpoint.
e. Once operations have been approved in principle, experts from the three organizations will clarify the details.
f. The need to obtain the consent of the United Resistance command does not apply to arms' acquisition (i.e. confiscating weapons from the British). Irgun and Lehi have the right to conduct such operations at their discretion.
g. The agreement between the three fighting organizations is based on 'positive precepts'.
h. If, at some time, the Haganah should be ordered to abandon the military struggle against the British authorities, the Irgun and Lehi will continue to fight. 

The leadership of the United Resistance consisted of two representatives of the Haganah (Yisrael Galili and Moshe Sneh), an Irgun representative (Menahem Begin) and a Lehi representative (Nathan Yellin-Mor). It held general discussions, and the Irgun and Lehi were required to submit all plans of action to this body.

Operations were authorized by the Haganah command, after discussions between the senior operations staff: Yitzhak Sadeh (Palmach commander), Eitan Livni (Irgun's chief operations officer) and Yaakov Eliav (Lehi's chief of operations). Later, Eliav withdrew from these meetings and asked Eitan Livni to represent him. The Haganah command had the right to veto plans on operational, political or other grounds.

In November 1, 1945, the three organizations conducted their first joint attack, the "Night of the Trains". That night, Haganah units sabotaged some 153 spots along railway tracks throughout the country, and blew up patrol launches in Jaffa and Haifa ports, while a joint Irgun-Lehi unit, commanded by Eitan Livni, attacked the main railway station at Lydda.

This operation had a strong impact in Britain. The newspapers published detailed articles on the acts of sabotage, and the government hastened to denounce the perpetrators. The Jewish Agency, in a special statement issued in London, declared, inter alia:

It is a tragedy that matters in Palestine have reached such a pass. The Jewish Agency abhors the use of violence as a weapon in the political struggle, but realizes that its ability to impose restraint has been severely tested by the continued policy (of the British government), which the Jews regard as fatal for them. 

Whilst this statement did not constitute an endorsement of the operation, it did mark the first occasion on which the Jewish Agency expressed sympathy for its underlying motives.
Nearly two months later, on December 27, 1945, a joint Irgun-Lehi force, led by Shraga Alis, launched an assault on the British Intelligence offices in Jerusalem for the second time. The British had learned the lesson of the first attack (March 23, 1944), and had introduced special security arrangements in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem; despite these, however, the underground fighters succeeded in evading the British patrols, entered the building and set the explosive charges. The central British Intelligence building collapsed.

Once again, it was demonstrated that nothing could stand in the way of the acumen and daring of the Jewish underground. The success was overshadowed, however, by the death of Zvi Aharoni - fatally injured in the attack; and the wounding of Yaakov Granek (later known as 'blond Dov'), both of Lehi. Seven British policemen lost their lives in the explosion and a large number were injured.

At the same time the district headquarters of the police and the British Intelligence office in Jaffa were housed in a four-storey building on the Jaffa-Tel Aviv Road were attacked. The force, led by Eliyahu Tamler (Yehoshua), approached the building under cover of darkness and succeeded in setting an explosive charge. Several minutes later the second storey of the building, housing the British Intelligence was destroyed.

That night, another Irgun unit, under Amichai Paglin (Gidi), attacked the army camp at the Exhibition Grounds in north Tel Aviv. In the exchange of fire, a British soldier was killed. An Irgun fighter, Dov Sternglass, lost his life, and five other fighters were injured.

A poster published by the Irgun

 One of the most impressive operations conducted by the United Resistance was the joint assault on three military airfields. As noted above, the Irgun had refrained from striking military targets while Britain was still fighting the Germans. However, once the war was over, the restrictions no longer applied, and the British army, which had played an active part in harrassing the Yishuv, was no longer exempt from attack by the underground.

After the war, Palestine became an important center of activity for the RAF (Royal Air Force), and aircraft of various types were stationed here. These aircraft were natural targets for the underground. On the cold, rainy night of February 25, 1946, a combined operation took place: a Lehi unit attacked the airfield near Kfar Syrkin and set eight aircraft ablaze. At the same time, an Irgun unit made its way on foot to Lydda airfield, seven kilometers from Kfar Syrkin. The British had installed a powerful searchlight on the control tower, which illuminated the airfield and the perimeter fences. In the center of the field were two guard tents, from which armed Bren-carriers patrolled the area. Moreover, the RAF garrison was housed in barracks across the road from the airfield, and the personnel were on constant alert against intruders.

The Irgun unit arrived at the airfield behind schedule, and as the men approached the fence, they heard from afar the echo of the explosion at Kfar Syrkin. Although they feared that the British might have had time to prepare an ambush, Dov Cohen (Shimshon), the commander of the operation, decided to proceed according to plan. One of the squads crept cautiously up to the nearby transformer, and a loud explosion plunged the entire airfield into darkness. The alarm was sounded, summoning the British troops to their positions, but the Irgun fighters cut the barbed wire, advanced under cover of darkness and attached explosive charges to the aircraft. Another squad directed heavy fire at the barracks, preventing the RAF troops from emerging. After the charges had been detonated, the strike unit withdrew to the rendezvous point, and the entire force proceeded on foot through the muddy fields to the orange groves of Petah Tikva and Ramat Gan. The next day, it became known that the raid on Lydda airfield had destroyed 11 military aircraft.

While Shimshon and his men were proceeding towards Lydda airfield, two trucks were making their way from Rehovot to the military airfield at Kastina (present day Hatzor). The first truck was loaded with weapons and explosives, which were covered with straw and crates of vegetables. Twelve fighters, disguised as Arabs, were seated on the crates. The other fighters were in the second truck, dressed in work-clothes, like moshav farmers returning home from the field. The trucks halted not far from the airfield, weapons were allotted and the force, led by Amichai Paglin (Gidi), advanced on foot towards the target. They reached the airfield perimeter fence without being spotted, and cut the wire silently. The sappers slipped through the fence, and ran swiftly towards the aircraft. Using ladders they had brought with them, they positioned the charges on each plane between fuselage and wing. After setting the time fuses, they withdrew to the meeting point. The RAF personnel on the airfield were prevented from leaving their barracks by the machine-gun fire of the covering unit. While the fighters were re-assembling outside the airfield, there were loud explosions as some twenty military aircraft went up in flames.

 The force retreated through the orange groves, and after fifteen minutes or so, a single shot rang out. One of the fighters, Nazim Ezra Ajami (Yehonatan), was hit and died soon after. He was the sole victim of the widescale operation that night.

A poster published by the Irgun
On March 6, 1946 at 1.30 pm, a military truck carrying 30 Irgun fighters disguised as British soldiers approached the Sarafand army camp. While the "officer" seated beside the driver was handing over the documents to the guard, several fighters climbed down from the truck. They easily overcame the guard and the five other soldiers who were on duty in the guard tent. The truck hastened to the armory, and the "soldiers" began loading crates of weapons onto the vehicle. While they were engaged in this task, a British soldier returned from his lunch break, his suspicions aroused by the unusual activity. He opened fire and was joined by other soldiers. In the exchange of gunfire, five fighters were injured, two of them, Yosef Simchon and Michael Ashbel, seriously. The truck, loaded with the fighters and the crates of weapons, drove off at high speed, but not before the commander of the operation, Eliyahu Tamler (Yehoshua) had detonated a mine, which blew up the remaining weapons and ammunition in the armory. The truck halted at Rishon Lezion, where the wounded were given medical treatment and the weapons were unloaded in the dunes. The lightly-injured slipped away with the other fighters, while Simchon and Ashbel were loaded into a car escorted by Shulamit Shmueli and Zippora Flumin (who had been on duty at the first-aid station). The driver took off for hospital in Tel Aviv. On the way they were intercepted by a British armored car, and the soldiers searched the vehicle and arrested the passengers. The two injured men were taken to Jaffa jail and, after interrogation, were transferred to a government hospital, where they underwent surgery. The two women were taken to the women's jail in Bethlehem, where they remained until the British evacuation of Palestine.

Sarafand armory
More than two months after their arrest, Simchon and Ashbel were tried by a military tribunal in Jerusalem. They refused to be represented by the lawyer, Max Critchman, who was assigned to them, and chose to use the occasion to make a political statement denying the right of the British to rule the country:

 [...] You cannot break the spirit of the Jewish people nor can you destroy the desire for freedom which fires the hearts of its sons. And my proclamation, made in this place, will serve as one more testimony - one of many - to the indomitable stand of six hundred thousand Jewish citizens, who are united in the struggle for the liberation of their country from the bloody rule of the British (Statement of Michael Ashbel) 

The military tribunal sentenced Simchon and Ashbel to death by hanging. After hearing their sentence, the two rose to their feet and sang Hatikva, together with the Jewish reporters in the courtroom. Kol Zion Halohemet (The Voice of Fighting Zion, the clandestine Irgun broadcasting station) broadcast the following warning:

  If you hang our captive soldiers, then, as God is our witness, we will break your gallows. We will give you gallows for gallows. 

On June 18, 1946, Irgun fighters were despatched to seize British hostages, in order to save the lives of their comrades who had been sentenced to death. In Tel Aviv, two units raided the Gat Rimon and Hayarkon hotels, where British officers were billeted. In both cases, they encountered a large number of officers; they chose the five most senior among them and took them to a pre-designated hiding place. The British army conducted widescale searches of Tel Aviv and its environs, without success. In the end, the officers were released and the High Commissioner commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

On the night of April 2, 1946, the Irgun conducted a widescale operation with the aim of immobilizing the railway network in the south. It was the largest operation the organization had ever planned, with about 100 participants. The same night, the Lehi blew up the Naaman bridge south of Acre.

The Irgun force, which was dispersed over an area of forty five kilometers, was divided into three groups: the northern force, under Menahem Schiff (Zeev), assembled at a packing house in an orange grove in Rehovot and proceeded from there to the Arab village of Yibne. When they reached their destination, the sappers laid explosive charges around the supporting pillars of the bridge and, after igniting the fuses, withdrew rapidly. Shortly afterwards, there were several explosions and the bridge collapsed into the wadi. Another unit advanced towards the railway station, and while they were engaged in blowing up various installations, a British unit arrived and opened fire.

 The Irgun force returned fire and three British soldiers were injured. After completing its mission, the Irgun unit withdrew to the sand dunes south of Rishon Lezion, the arms were cached away, and the fighters dispersed to their homes.

The two other units assembled in another packing house, also in the Rehovot area. After being briefed, they boarded two trucks. As was the case at Kastina , the first truck carried unarmed fighters posing as workers returning from the field, while the second truck was loaded with oranges. "Arab workers" were seated on the oranges, with the weapons concealed under the fruit. The convoy moved southward, and halted at the pre-arranged spot (not far from Kibbutz Yavneh). The oranges were discarded, and the weapons taken out and distributed. The force now split in two: one unit (the eastern force) moved towards Zarnuga (between the Arab villages of Yibne and Ashdod), while the second (southern) force headed for the railway station near Ashdod.

The three units were co-ordinated only as regards the hour of the attack, timed for 8 pm. The eastern force (under Eliezer Pedatzur) was delayed en route; as it approached the target, the fighters heard the explosions from the direction of Yibne. The guards greeted the oncoming force with a volley of flare rockets, which impeded their progress. They split into several squads, which dispersed over the terrain, placing explosive charges under bridges and water conduits and beside the tracks and telephone poles. One of the squads came under fire from the guards, and Ezra Rabia was severely injured. After detonating the devices, the squads assembled at a meeting point on a nearby hill, and the entire force withdrew across the dunes to Bat Yam, 25 kilometers away. Rabia was carried on a stretcher, while another fighter, injured in the arm, managed to walk with the help of a comrade. Rabia lost consciousness, and died shortly afterwards. He was buried in the dunes, on the assumption that the British would find the body the next day and give him a proper burial in a nearby settlement. His comrades stood in silence beside the grave and one of them recited Kaddish (the prayer for the dead). The next day the British found Rabia's body and burried him at Kfar Warburg under the name of "Avraham Ben Avraham".

The fighters continued to march through the dunes and reached Bat Yam in the early morning hours, where they handed in their weapons and dispersed. The wounded man was transferred to a maternity hospital in Tel Aviv, which was temporarily treating Irgun casualties.

The southern force, under Dov Cohen (Shimshon), also reached Ashdod behind schedule. The unit which attacked the bridge encountered resistance from the guards, who took up defensive positions in the pillbox. In the exchange of gunfire, two policemen were killed. After setting the charges, the force proceeded to the railway station, overcame the five police guards and the station staff, and placed explosive devices beside various installations. They also blew up an engine, which happened to arrive. When their mission was completed, they set out for their home base. The trek through the sand-dunes was difficult, and progress was slow. It was already dawn as they approached Bat Yam and a British reconnaissance aircraft spotted them. Shortly afterwards, British troops poured into the area and surrounded the weary fighters. In the ensuing battle, Avner Ben-Shem was killed and four other fighters were injured.

Thirty-one fighters in all were arrested by the British in the Bat Yam dunes, among them some of the Irgun's best commanders. The mass arrest was a severe blow to the Irgun's fighting force, but at the same time the detention of so large a number of the underground made a strong impression on the local and international media.

 Among those arrested was Eitan Livni, the Irgun's chief operations officer He was sentenced, together with his comrades, to 15 years imprisonment, but two years later, was freed in the Acre jail break. He was sent clandestinely to Europe to organize action against British targets there, and on May 15, 1948, he returned home to take part in the struggle aganst the Arab invaders.

A poster published by the Irgun
While Irgun and Lehi fighters were attacking military targets, the Haganah confined itself, initially, to assaults on targets connected with immigration. It attacked the coast guard stations at Givat Olga and Sidni Ali (near Herzliya), and blew up radar installations at Haifa. But as the armed struggle against the British gathered momentum, the front was extended to encompass military targets unconnected with immigration. On February 23, 1946, for example, the Haganah raided the mobile police force at Kfar Vitkin, Shfar'am and Sarona (now the Kirya in Tel Aviv).

The acme of Haganah activities was the destruction, in one night, of 11 bridges linking Palestine to the neighboring countries. The operation on the night of June 17, which became known as "The Night of the Bridges", was the largest the Haganah launched within the framework of the United Resistance, and was also its final one. All four Palmach battalions (the Haganah elite units) took part in the action, stationed on all the country's borders: north, south and east. The operation achieved its objective, and the country was cut off from all its neighbors.

After the Night of the Bridges, Oz, the illegal publication of Achdut Haavoda (one of the socialist parties), wrote:

The recent operations attest to the fact that the struggle has reached a more acute stage; these were no longer mere cautionary acts. They were intended to cause real damage to the authorities, and such damage was indeed inflicted. They were aimed at immobilizing transportation between this country and its neighbors, and it was in fact suspended. These activities have demonstrated that as long as there is no Zionist solution for this country, the government will not be able to rule . 
--- End quote ---


Ultra Requete:

--- Quote ---The British retaliated swiftly to the blowing up of the bridges by the Palmach. The following day British forces were sent to the Western Galilee to search Kibbutz Matsuba which was thought to be the base of the Palmach unit. Twenty-seven kibbutz members were arrested and sent to Acre jail. Searches were also conducted at Kibbutz Bet Haarava on the northern Dead Sea, on suspicion that it had served as the base for the group which attacked the Allenby Bridge. In the clashes with the soldiers, 12 kibbutz members were injured, two of them severely, and 70 people were arrested. The next day, military forces cordoned off Kibbutz Kfar Giladi in the north and when the soldiers broke in, the kibbutz members displayed passive resistance. Hundreds of members of nearby settlements hastened to their aid, and when they approached the kibbutz, the British troops opened fire on them. Three Jews were killed and six injured.

In total, four Jews were killed, eighteen injured and more than 100 detained in the operations carried out by the British after the Night of the Bridges. These events, however, were merely a prelude to the much larger operation which took place two weeks later and became known as Black Sabbath.

The action against the organized Yishuv, which had been planned carefully and in great secrecy, began in the early hours of Saturday, June 29, 1946. A countrywide curfew was proclaimed, and 17,000 soldiers entered institutions and settlements in order to confiscate weapons and documents, and to arrest leaders of the Yishuv and Haganah activists. The Mandatory government announced that it was determined to uproot terror and violence, and that the military action had been endorsed by the Cabinet in London.

Operation Agatha, as the British called it, took the Yishuv by surprise, and achieved most of its objectives. A considerable amount of intelligence information was collected, and thousands of Jews were arrested and jailed in a special internment camp which had been prepared at Rafiah. In Jerusalem, British troops entered the Jewish Agency buildings and, after ransacking the offices and in particular the archives, confiscated a large number of documents. This material was loaded onto three trucks and taken to the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which housed the government secretariat and the military command. The documents included cables, which clearly demonstrated the role of the Jewish Agency in the leadership of the United Resistance. Also found was the text of the agreement between the Haganah and the Irgun and Lehi, and cables approving Irgun and Lehi operations against the British in the framework of the United Resistance. Another discovery was the text of broadcasts of Kol Yisrael (the Haganah's clandestine broadcasting station), stating, among other things, that everything possible would be done "to foil the transfer of British bases to Palestine and to prevent their establishment in Palestine".

Searching for Armes
In addition to the numerous documents confiscated from offices, the soldiers broke into the homes of members of the Jewish Agency Executive and arrested them.

 At 4.15 a.m on the Sabbath, a police officer, followed by an army officer with two army vehicles, arrived at the home of sixty-year-old Rabbi Fishman-Maimon. The soldiers surrounded the house. Rabbi Fishman informed them that he was unable to travel on the Sabbath and proposed that he walk, or that the house be placed under guard until the Sabbath ended, when he would be able to travel. He asked the officers to consult their superiors on this proposal, but they had received orders to take him at once. Rabbi Fishman sat down and replied that he would not budge. The soldiers tried to carry him together with the chair, but the rabbi slipped off the chair, and they then took him by force and pushed him into the vehicle. Since there was no electricity because of the Sabbath, the soldiers used flash lights. (Davar newspaper, July 1, 1946) 

Among those arrested were Moshe Shertok (Sharett) and Bernard Joseph (Dov Yosef) of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, and David Remez, chairman of the Vaad Le'umi. Other public figures were detained all over the country and brought to the special VIP camp built for them at Latrun. In Tel Aviv, a thorough search was conducted at the Histadrut Executive and at the offices of the Davar newspaper and Bank Hapoalim.

Searches and arrests were also carried out in many kibbutzim, but the British had their greatest success at Kibbutz Yagur. The search there lasted a week, and the British apparently had prior information about the arms caches there. The kibbutz members resisted passively, but were dispersed by tear gas and incarcerated in enclosures set up by the soldiers. At first it was merely a routine search, but once the first arms cache was found, the British attitude changed, and the soldiers began to dig under the floors and in all possible hiding places in their search for arms. Their find included more than 300 rifles, some 100 2-inch mortars, more than 400,000 bullets, some 5,000 grenades and 78 revolvers. The loot was displayed at a press conference on the spot, and after arresting all the men of Yagur, the British withdrew.

Weapons found in Yagur
At Kibbutz Mizra, the British broke into Palmach headquarters, and confiscated a large number of documents, including the card-index of Palmach members. The names were written in code, and even though the British Intelligence did not succeed in deciphering them, the very fact that the list had fallen into their hands was a blow to morale.

During Black Sabbath, some 2,700 people were arrested throughout the country and taken to the Rafiah internment camp. Two days later, the Haganah command, headed by Moshe Sneh, convened to discuss retaliation. The opinion was that the armed struggle had to be continued in order to prove to the British that, despite the mass arrests, they had not succeeded in paralysing the United Resistance.

The Haganah command decided to carry out three operations against the British authorities. The first was a Palmach raid on the Bat Galim army camp, in order to requisition weapons (according to Haganah Intelligence Service information, the weapons confiscated at Yagur were being stored there). The second mission entrusted to the Irgun was the blowing up of the King David Hotel, where the offices of the Mandatory government and the British military command were located. The Lehi was allotted the task of blowing up the adjacent David Brothers building, which housed government offices. In a letter to Begin, Sneh wrote: (Jabotinsky Institute Archives, k-4 1/11/5)

a) At the earliest possible opportunity, you are to carry out the operation at the 'chick' (code name for King David Hotel) and at the house of "your servant and messiah" (code name for David Brothers building). Inform me of the date. Preferably at the same time. Do not reveal the identity of the implementing body - either by announcing it explicitly or by hinting.
b) We too are preparing something - will inform you of details in good time.
c) Exclude TA (Tel Aviv) from any plan of action. We are all interested in preserving TA - as the center of Yishuv life and the center of our own activities. If, as the result of any action, TA is immobilized (curfew, arrests), this will paralyse us and our plans as well. And the important objects of the other side are not focused here. Hence, TA is 'out of bounds' for the forces of Israel.

1.7.46. M. (Moshe Sneh). 

While preparations for the operations were at their height, Meir Weisgal arrived at Sneh's hideout. Weisgal was on a personal mission from Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization (Weizmann himself was then ailing at his home in Rehovot). Weisgal told Sneh that Weizmann urged that the armed struggle against the British be halted. Among other things, Weisgal quoted Weizmann as saying:

 In other countries it is accepted that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. I have never sought this authority nor has it ever occurred to me to interfere in your affairs. For the first and only time , I am exercising this right and demanding of you that you cease all this activity. 

Weizmann demanded an immediate answer, and announced that if his request was rejected, he would resign and publicly announce the reasons for his resignation. Sneh, who was opposed to stopping the armed struggle against the British, informed Weisgal that he could not decide this matter alone, and would submit Weizmann's request to the X Committee. The Committee debated the question of the powers of the president of the World Zionist Organization, but eventually decided, by majority vote, to accede to Weizmann's request. Sneh, who opposed the resolution, resigned from his post as head of the Haganah General Headquarters, but remained liaison officer with the Irgun and Lehi. Sneh met with Begin, did not inform him of the X Committee's resolution, and merely requested that the assault on the King David Hotel be postponed. Sneh then decided to leave for Paris to attend a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive, which was to discuss the continued struggle against the Mandatory government. Before leaving the country, on July 19, he sent Begin another note:

I have heard from my comrades about the recent conversation. If my personal appeal still holds weight with you, I beg you to delay the scheduled actions for another few days. 

As a result of Sneh's appeal, the attack on the King David Hotel was scheduled for July 22, 1946. Because of coordination problems, the Lehi decided to cancel its plan to blow up the David Brothers building.
--- End quote ---

Ultra Requete:

--- Quote ---The King David Hotel in Jerusalem was built by the Moseri family, members of the wealthy and influential Jewish establishment in Cairo and Alexandria. They set up a shareholding company to finance its construction, consisting mainly of Egyptian businessmen and wealthy Jews from all over the world. The luxurious seven-storey building, with 200 rooms, was opened to the public in 1931. In 1938, the Mandatory government requisitioned the entire southern wing of the hotel, and housed the military command and the Mandatory government secretariat there. The British chose the King David for its central location and because it was easy to guard. They built a military communications center in the hotel basement and, for security reasons, added a side entrance linking the building to an army camp south of the hotel. Fewer than a third of the rooms were reserved for civilian use.

It will be recalled that after Black Sabbath (Saturday), Menahem Begin received a letter from Moshe Sneh (chief of the Haganah General Headquarters) with instructions to blow up the King David. After preparatory work and several postponements, Irgun fighters gathered at 7 am. on Monday, July 22, 1946 at the Bet Aharon Talmud Torah seminary in Jerusalem. They arrived one by one, gave the password and assembled in one of the classrooms. They realized that they were being sent on a mission, but none of them knew what the target was. Shortly afterwards, the senior command arrived and it was only when the briefing began that the assembled fighters discovered that they were going to strike at the King David Hotel.

After the weapons had been distributed, the first unit - the group of "porters" - commanded by Yosef Avni, set out. Their assignment was to reach the hotel by bus and to wait at the side entrance so as to assist in unloading the explosives from the van when it arrived. All six "porters" were disguised as Arabs so as to avoid arousing suspicion. The strike force left next in a van loaded with seven milk-churns, each containing 50 kilograms of explosives and special detonators. The commander of the operation, Yisrael Levi (Gidon), rode in the van dressed as a Sudanese waiter, while his deputy, Heinrich Reinhold (Yanai), and the other members of the unit, were dressed as Arabs. The van drove through the streets of Jerusalem, its tarpaulin cover concealing the milk-churns and the passengers, and halted at the side entrance of the hotel, through which foodstuffs were brought into the basement 'La Regence' restaurant. The fighters easily overcame the guards by the gate and hastened to the basement, where they searched all the rooms, and assembled the workers in the restaurant kitchen. They then returned to the van, brought the milk-churns into the restaurant, and placed them beside the supporting pillars . Gidon set the time fuses for 30 minutes, and ordered his men to leave. The staff gathered in the kitchen were told to leave the building 10 minutes later to avoid injury.

During the withdrawal from the basement, heavy gunfire was levelled at the group and two fighters were injured. One of them, Aharon Abramovitch, later died of his wounds.

After exiting the hotel, Gidon summoned two women fighters who were waiting nearby, and ordered them to carry out their mission. They ran over to a nearby telephone booth, and delivered the following message to the hotel telephone operator and to the editorial office of the Palestine Post:

 I am speaking on behalf of the Hebrew underground.
We have placed an explosive device in the hotel.
Evacuate it at once - you have been warned. 

They also delivered a telephone warning to the French Consulate, adjacent to the hotel, to open their windows to prevent blast damage. The telephone messages were intended to prevent casualties.

Some 25 minutes after the telephone calls, a shattering explosion shook Jerusalem, and reverberated at a great distance. The entire southern wing of the King David Hotel - all seven storeys - was totally destroyed. For reasons unclear, the staff of the government secretariat and the military command remained in their rooms. Some of them were unaware of events, and others were not permitted to leave the building, thus accounting for the large number of victims trapped in the debris.

King David Hotel after the explosion
For ten days, the British Engineering Corps cleared the wreckage, and on July 31 it was officially announced that 91 people had been killed in the explosion: 28 Britons, 41 Arabs, 17 Jews and 5 others.

 The success of the Jewish underground in striking at the heart of British government in Palestine, and the high toll of victims, sent shock waves through England and the rest of the world. At first, the Mandatory government denied having received a telephone warning, but testimony submitted to the interrogating judge made it clear beyond a doubt that such a warning had in fact been given. Moreover, the Palestine Post telephone operator attested on oath to the police that, immediately after receiving the telephone message, she had telephoned the duty officer at the police station. The French Consulate staff opened their windows as they had been told to by the anonymous woman who telephoned them, and this was further evidence of the warning.

King David Hotel after the explosion
It is almost impossible to recapitulate what occurred in the government secretariat offices in the half hour preceding the explosion, but all the evidence suggests that there were numerous flaws in the security arrangements in the King David, and that a series of omissions occurred. The telephone warning was disregarded, and although the warning signal was given, an all-clear was sounded shortly before the explosion. These facts indicate that there were serious errors in the decision-making process and that internal communication did not function properly.

The heads of the Jewish Agency were stunned. They feared that the British would adopt even more severe retaliatory measures than on Black Sabbath, and hastened to denounce the operation in the strongest terms. The statement they issued the following day expressed "their feelings of horror at the base and unparalleled act perpetrated today by a gang of criminals." Even David Ben-Gurion, who was then in Paris, joined the chorus of condemnation, and in an interview to the French newspaper 'France Soir', declared that the Irgun was "the enemy of the Jewish people".

The denunciation by the Jewish Agency totally ignored the fact that the bombing of the King David was carried out as part of the activities of the United Resistance, and on the explicit instructions of Moshe Sneh. At the request of the Haganah, the Irgun issued a leaflet accepting responsibility for the operation. It stated, among other things:

e. The telephone warnings were given at 12:10-12:15. And if it is true, as the British liars have announced, that the explosion occurred at 12:37, they still had 22 minutes at their disposal in order to evacuate the building of its residents and workers.
Therefore responsibility for loss of life among civilians rests solely with them.
f. It is not true that the persons who delivered the warning spoke 'on behalf of the United Resistance' (as the press reported)... On this matter, we are refraining at present from making any further statement, but it is possible that - in the context of the savage and dastardly incitement - it will be necessary to issue such a statement at the appropriate time.

g. We mourn the Jewish victims; they too are the tragic victims of the tragic and noble Hebrew war of liberation

A year later the Irgun issued the following statement:


[...] On July 1 - two days after the British raid on the National Institutions and on our towns and villages -we received a letter from the headquarters of the United Resistance, demanding that we carry out an attack on the center of government at the King David Hotel as soon as possible...
Execution of this plan was postponed several times - both for technical reasons and at the request of the United Resistance. It was finally approved on July 22...

Notwithstanding this, days later, Kol Yisrael broadcast a statement - in the name of the United Resistance - abhorring the high death toll at the King David caused by the actions of the 'dissidents'...

We have kept silent for a whole year. We have faced savage incitement, such as this country has never before known. We have withstood the worst possible provocations - and remained silent. We have witnessed evasion, hypocrisy and cowardice - and remained silent.

But today, when the United Resistance has expired and there is no hope that it will ever be revived... there are no longer valid reasons why we should maintain our silence concerning the assault against the center of Nazi-British rule - one of the mightiest attacks ever carried out by a militant underground. Now it is permissible to reveal the truth; now we must reveal the truth. Let the people see - and judge.

July 22, 1947. 

The Hebrew press, and the Haganah publications, continued to condemn the Irgun in the strongest possible terms. They were echoed by the British press, which was briefed by the Mandatory government. However, the effect of the British denunciations was blunted to a large extent by the publication of instructions issued by General Sir Evelyn Barker (British army commander in Palestine) several hours after the explosion. He ordered all the Jewish places of entertainment, restaurants, shops and Jewish homes - "out of bounds for all British officers and soldiers". The instructions ended by saying that:

 "The aim of these orders are to punish the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, namely by striking at their pockets" 

Barker's letter reached the Irgun's intelligence service and was immediately made public in Palestine and throughout the world. The antisemitic tone of the letter greatly embarrassed the British government and diverted public opinion from the attack on the King David Hotel. Questions were asked in the House of Commons about the letter and the London Daily Herald wrote, among other things, that if General Barker had in fact written the letter, he was demonstrating his unsuitability for his position.

The order was officially rescinded two weeks after it was issued, but the damage to the British cause in Palestine could not be erased.

However, as a result of Black Sabbath, the moderates now held the upper hand, and at a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive in Paris on August 5, 1946, it was decided to terminate the armed struggle against the British in Palestine. This marked the end of the glorious ten-month period when all the Jewish forces in Eretz Israel (Haganah, Irgun and Lehi) fought together against foreign rule.

The terminating of the armed struggle provoked considerable resentment among many members of the Haganah, and Yitzhak Sadeh (commander of the Palmach) gave vent to this emotion in his article "Proposal and Response" in Ahdut Ha'avoda, October 15, 1946 which he signed Noded (Wanderer).

 There will be no capitulation, because there is nobody to order capitulation, and should such a person be found, he would find nobody to carry out the order. 

The Haganah focused its efforts on bringing in illegal immigrants, and in order to appease those activists in the Haganah ranks who continued to favor armed struggle, it sanctioned the sabotaging of British naval vessels which were hunting down illegal immigrants. Thus, on August 18, 1946, Palmach fighters sabotaged the Empire Haywood and two days later damaged the Empire Rival, the two ships used for deporting immigrants from Haifa to Cyprus.

When the United Resistance ceased to exist, the Irgun and Lehi continued the armed struggle alone. The Irgun was now both morally and materially stronger than ever before. Support for its cause had grown, since the United Resistance had legitimized its activities. The number of recruits increased, and its stock of weapons and ammunition was expanded as a result of its acquisitions from British army depots. Free of the restrictions imposed by the Haganah command, the Irgun now intensified its anti-British activities.

--- End quote ---


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