Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How Jews Defended Themselves and What Caused Animosity Towards the British

Jewish immigrant in 1880s-1900s  farming in Palestine

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
Members of Hashomer, a Jewish security organization dedicated to protecting pioneering Zionist settlements, pose with their rifles October 1, 1909
Land had first been guarded for the new Jewish pioneers by the Circassians, hotheaded Arab mercenaries from neighboring villages who were being paid to defend their homes.  David Ben Gurion insisted that Jewish land must be guarded by Jewish watchmen.  Others didn't want to do that because it could cause Circassian resentment and bring on more attacks and then they would join the others in attacking! (p. 103 in Genesis 48)

Jewish Shomrim or watchmen had been active since the 1870s for early Jewish settlers.
They rode horseback dressed as Arabs armed with gun, sword and spear, and learned Bedouin law and Arab customs, and were respected among the Arabs, especially after
one brave Watchman at the first Jewish colony of Petah Tikvah speared an invading Arab sheikh on his lance and then rode to the enemy camp to deliver the corpse.

They found out that it was only when they didn't defend themselves that the Arabs were
encouraged to attack again and again.  Ben Gurion noticed that sometimes the Circassians even divided the loot with the attackers.
 HA-SHOMER (The Watchman)  were made up of Jewish workers or laborers in Palestine  and commanded by Israel Shochat.
 They were a defense group for the aliyah of Eastern European Jews that had started coming from Russia and other places in 1882 and onwards.  Since they were being attacked by wandering Bedouin Arabs, they needed protection.  Ha-Shomer also worked on getting employment for their people (KIBBUSH AVODAH).  They helped to establish settlements of men who wanted to labor during World War I.  After the British won the war, they collaborated with the Upper Galilee police force and directed self-defense activities during the riots of 1920-1921.  They were replaced by the Haganah in defense.
In 1920, we were finally making progress in taking steps to return to the land of our fathers in Palestine through the Europeans who were fighting WWI against the Ottoman Empire of which Palestine was part.  In 1918, the end of the war, the British were given a 30 year mandate to rule the land and then turn it over to the Jews.  It didn't always go that way.  On their own, the British decided to give 80% of the land to Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia so that he could be a king.  The Jews living in Palestine were being thwarted in not receiving the backing from the Brits they had promised to give.

The Jews formed a clandestine organization for Jewish self-defense in Palestine called HAGANAH (Defense),  in Hebrew.  They had replaced Ha-Shomer in 1920 and lasted until 1948.  It's members were then transferred to TZEVA HAGANAH LE-ISRAEL.  Finally,  after Israel was born  on May 14, 1948,  they  finally turned into the Israel Defense Force (IDF).  
1920 map shows the land mandated for Palestine
amounted to 46,512.1826 Sq miles or 120.466 Sq. Km. 
Israel finally got 8,000 Sq miles .Britain gave 80%  to Abdullah to make Jordan.. 
Defense was a formidable problem for the Jews in Palestine.
 Israel had long land frontiers that made her particularly vulnerable to assault-either by direct attack or by infiltration.  Sabotage and murder originating mainly from the Gaza Strip and from the TransJordan area were a constant nuisance, and didn't stop despite Israel reprisal raids.  Against direct attack, immense efforts were made to build up and equip the armed forces of TZEVA HAGANAH LE-ISRAEL.
Haganah Logo
Haganah was created because the group realized their inadequacy of the protection that was being given to the Jewish population under the British administration.  Jews  had the conscious determination to entrust security to a popular volunteer organization.  The Haganah combined an illegal organization with individual Jewish participation in the government's security forces and even had certain legal formations.

Much effort was put into strengthening the Haganah following the 1929 Arab riots that were so bad in Jerusalem.  The rioting resulted in a British policy of appeasement of the Arabs!  In 1931, the Haganah split and the minority, the right-wing groups, formed a separate organization, reuniting with the Haganah in 1936 with some elements remaining outside the group.  They were the ones who formed the nucleus of the IRGUN TZEVAI LEUMI, known as (ETZEL).
Haganah 1942
Haganah continued to be strengthened during the 1936-1939 disturbances by the establishment of the Supernumerary Police Force (Noterim) which numbered 20,000 in 1939.  This force was recruited by the Haganah command and operated as far as possible under its instructions.  During this period, the "Special Field Companies" were raised by Yitzhak Sadeh and the "Night Squads" established by Charles Orde Wingate, a British soldier who was at the riots of 1936-1939 and had organized formations of Jewish volunteers, to defeat the Arab terrorist activity.  He was a keen Bible student as well, and remained an ardent supporter of Zionism to the end of his brilliant military career.
  Haganah also were involved with settlement operations such as "Stockade and Tower". Haganah even set up their own secret plant for manufacturing equipment.    They also organized illegal immigrations to Palestine of Jews, for the Brits were allowing Arabs in while keeping Jews out, and their mandate was to help create a Jewish Homeland, not an Arab one.
October 16, 1886 in Plonsk, Poland- December 1, 1973 Israel
David Ben Gurion, 5'0" tall,  immigrated in 1906 to Palestine and worked as a field laborer and watchman.
Then in 1910 he moved to Jerusalem and became involved in politics.  He studied law in
Constantinople.  After being expelled by the Turks, he went to the USA, returning in 1918.  
First Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of Defense 1948-1953 and
Third Prime Minister of Israel 1955-1963
David Ben-Gurion ( Israel's 1st Prime Minister who read the proclamation of the establishment of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv over the radio),  was then the chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive.  He ensured that the Haganah should operate as the security arm of the executive and act according to  its  instructions.
During WWII, the Haganah had its members enroll in Jewish units within the British army and 30,000 men and women volunteered, something unknown to many people today.  In 1941, military commando units called the PALMAH  were set up, at first in collaboration with the British, but with the object of obtaining their withdrawal of the 1939 WHITE PAPER (see explanation end of article) that was putting an end to Jewish immigration!

By June 1946 after the war, the British administration undertook an extensive counter-operation which did not bring success to their objectives.  At this time, the Haganah didn't struggle against the British.  From the end of 1947, the Haganah concentrated on defense against the mounting Arab attacks.

Though other underground groups had been formed out of the Haganah, such as IRGUN TZEVAI LEUMI AND LOHAME HERUT ISRAEL, their relations with Haganah were strained at best.  However, they did cooperate from 1945-1946 and from 1947 to 1948.
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Menahem Begin (1913-1992) Born in Poland,
joined Betar as a teen, immigrated in 1942 with the Polish army and became commander of
1977 6th Prime Minister of Israel 
 The group, IRGUN TZEVAI LEUMI or ETZEL was formed by a Palestinian Jewish underground organization, founded in 1937 by members of other groups such as BETAR (youth organization of the Zionist Revisionist party) and also the REVISIONISTS in the Haganah.  They were different in that their aim was retaliation against Arab attacks, but after the 1939 WHITE PAPER was published, its target became the British authorities in Palestine because Haganah wasn't tough enough with them.  They attacked British administrative personnel and executed acts of sabotage.  They were tough enough to be outlawed by the Mandatory British government.  The Jewish Agency dissociated itself from their activities.  Irgun declared a truce on the outbreak of WWII in 1939 when its leader, David Raziel, was killed in Iraq in 1941 on a British mission.  He was replaced in 1943 by MENAHEM BEGIN (future Prime Minister).

In 1944, IRGUN renewed their anti-British activities because of the continuing ban on Jewish immigration, so they organized "illegal immigration" from Europe where they so badly needed to escape from certain death.  The cold-hearted British arrested and exiled many of  their members in response, determined not to let anymore Jews in the "Jewish Homeland!"  By 1946 Irgun numbered membership at 3,000 to 5,000.  After November 1947, the Irgun carried out a number of attacks on Arab villages that were attacking Jews.  They also announced their entry into the Haganah when statehood was proclaimed.  By September1948, their military framework was completely dismantled,  first continuing with a lot of tension with the new government.  Irgun turned politically to the Herut party.
Yitzhak Shamir b: 1915
Mossad (Israeli Secret Service) 1955-1965
1973-Herut Party in Knesset
1983 Prime Minister after Begin
Another fighting group besides Irgun was LOHAME HERUT YISRAEL (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) also known as LEHI and known by their opponents as THE STERN GANG
Avraham Stern, called Yair, 1907-1942, Leader of Irgun,
and formed Lehi. (Stern Group)
killed by British police at age 35 while being arrested. 
 This is the group my 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, was in.  He was the Chief of Intelligence.  He told me not to call it the Stern Gang, but the Stern Group.  That's because they were founded by Avraham Stern.  They had split from IRGUN TZEVAI LEUMI in 1940, maintaining that Britain must be fought despite the WWII war effort against the Germans.  After Stern was killed, the group was led by ideologist Yisrael Scheib (Eldad).  Its tactician was Nathan Mor (Friedmann- Yellin) and its operational commander was Yitzhak Jazarnitsky (YITZHAK SHAMIR-future Prime Minister) He had joined the Irgun in 1937.
The Stern Group's membership was about 300.  They were the more violent of them, said to have murdered Lord Mayne, the British Minister in the Middle East in 1944, and of Count Bernadotte in 1948, before the announcement of statehood.  They thought that statehood would not come about unless they carried this out, as Bernadotte was the lynchpin, they felt.  The group was not needed anymore after statehood..  One member became a member, most likely being Shamir,  of the 1st Knesset from 1949 to 1951 and then the group disbanded.
Stanley Goldfoot with wife and 2 daughters in Tel Aviv
b: May 2, 1914 South Africa d: November 24, 2006 Jerusalem, Israel
From all my searches and talks with Stanley, he was not involved in the decision about Count Bernadotte.  That was up to the 3 leaders of the group.  He did wind up in Acco held as prisoner for some time when holding reporter credentials.  He's the man who has written the famous, "Letter to the World " that has also been put to video as well.  He went on to found 'The Times of Israel "of which "A Letter to the World." was in the 1st issue.

A year later, the PALMACH (Strike Forces)  split from Haganah on May 15, 1941. They were active from 1941 to 1948.  It was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the period of the British Mandate for PalestineIts aim was to defend the Palestinian Jewish community against two potential threats. First,  the occupation of Palestine by the Axis in the event of their victory over the British in North Africa. Second, , if the British army were to retreat from Palestine,  Jewish settlements might come under attack from the Arab population. 
"Week of July 1, 1946 in Time Magazine
TIME's London bureau reports that "Britain is on the verge of an Anglo-Jewish war in Palestine." Angered by Britain's refusal to allow 100,000 Jews into Palestine, the Zionist underground Haganah army blew up several bridges into Syria and Trans-Jordan, warning the British that it was prepared to fight if necessary.
By the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War it consisted of over 2,000 men and women in 3  fighting brigades and auxiliary aerial, naval and intelligence units. With the creation of Israel's army, the 3  Palmach Brigades were disbanded. This and political reasons compelled many of the senior Palmach officers to resign in 1950.    Its members formed the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces high command for many years, and were prominent in Israeli politics, literature and culture.                                                            
I believe it was the 1960 movie, Exodus, that centered on an illegal ship with Paul Newman in the main role.  They also had scenes of being taken into Lehi with Sal Mineo.   "The film is based on events surrounding the ship Exodus in Cyprus in 1947 and then on events in Palestine during the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel,  Exodus by Leon UrisNurse Katherine "Kitty" Fremont (Eva Marie Saint) is an American volunteer at the Karaolos internment camp on Cyprus, where thousands of Jews -Holocaust survivors - are being held by the British, who will not let them go to Palestine. They anxiously wait for the day they will be liberated. Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman), a Haganah rebel who had been a captain in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in the Second World War, obtains a cargo ship and smuggles 611 Jewish inmates out of the camp for an illegal voyage to Mandate Palestine before being discovered by military authorities. 

When the British find out that the refugees are in a ship in the harbor of Famagusta, they blockade it. The refugees stage a hunger strike, during which the camp's doctor dies, and Ari threatens to blow up the ship and the refugees. The British relent and allow the Exodus safe passage.  If you can't find the film, at least read the book.  I don't think the Brits were ever that nice in real life.  

WHITE PAPER OF 1939: "Statement of Palestine policy submitted by the British colonial secretary Malcolm MacDonald after the failure of conversations by the British with Jewish and Arab delegations.  Declared the British intention of setting up after 10 years an independent Palestinian state in which Jews and Arabs would participate in the government proportionately to their numbers.  75,000 Jeews would be allowed to enter over 5 years to 1944 after which Jewish immigration would be dependent on Arab agreement.  Land sales to Jews would be restricted or forbidden in the majority of the country.  The document aroused the fierce opposition of the Zionist movement but guided British policy in ensuing years."  It must be remembered that this was a radical turn-around in what was decided upon in 1918 when the British accepted the Mandate from the League of Nations where all countries decided that Jews should have their Jewish Homeland out of Palestine.  

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Genesis 1948-the First Arab-Israeli War, by Dan Kurzman-1970, 750 pages*****,+pictures&biw=977&bih=590&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3hMHlk4HSAhVDgbwKHcXvBPgQ7AkINA&dpr=1#imgrc=tv78Dn42gEW1gM:


  1. your family pay lots of sacrifices for Israel reborn .

  2. Yes, you are right. It was so necessary to do, though. Jews were between a rock and a hard place. No country was safe for them, really. They felt that they must return to ancient Israel where G-d had told them to live so long ago. They considered going to Africa, but there was no incentive to go there like there was in returning to their origins and fulfill G-d's plans for them.