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University Haifa

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Jewish Self-Defense and Terrorist Groups Prior to the Establishment of the State of Israel:
Roots and Traditions

Arie Perliger and Leonard Weinberg

So far as many people are concerned the principal role played by Jews in modern terrorist activity in the Middle East and elsewhere is that of victim. Nothing is more emblematic of this role than the wave of suicide bombings carried out against targets in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa over the last several years. Largely because of Israel’s long-standing conflict with the Palestinians and Muslim groups sympathetic to their cause, Jews and Jewish institutions have been the targets of terrorist attacks not only in the Middle East but in Europe and other parts of the world. The role of Jews as victims of terrorist attacks fits into a wider conception of Jewish identity over the centuries: Jews as quintessential victims.

Because of this by now stereotypical view, readers may have some difficulty adjusting to this paper’s subject: Jews not as victims but as perpetrators of terrorism; that is, Jews as members of relatively small sub-national groups carrying out acts of politically motivated violence intended to influence the behavior of some audience. If terrorism is a weapon of the weak and those operating at society’s margins, on reflection it should not be all that astonishing that Jews have employed this particular tactic. For until recently Jews, in general, have been exceptionally weak and usually at the margins of society, both Christian and Muslim.

We intend to focus most of our attention on the terrorist activities of Jewish organizations in the years before and during the decades of the British Mandate in Palestine culminating in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. However, before investigating the terrorism perpetrated by Jewish organizations in this era, one spanning roughly the first half of the 20th century, we need to point out that their violence was not unprecedented.

In a widely discussed article David Rapoport recalls the ancient Zealots, a millennial Jewish sect whose militants used daggers or sicarri to carry out murders in public. In the years leading up to the Jewish rebellion against Roman rule (66- 73 C.E.), “… The Zealots waged a ruthless campaign of assassination…. The Zealot would emerge from the anonymous obscurity of a crowded marketplace, draw the sica concealed beneath his robes and, in plain view of those present, slit the throat of a Roman legionnaire or of a Jewish citizen who had been judged by the group guilty of betrayal, apostasy, or both.” The Zealots hoped their actions would provoke Roman repression and the Jews to rebellion. They believed themselves to be living in the ‘end times’ and that the righteous and Godly would prevail despite Rome’s vastly superior military prowess. Their miscalculation brought on not only defeat but an enormous calamity for the Jewish people, the sacking of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Second Temple and the advent of the Exilic Age.

The catastrophe was so great that a strong tradition developed in the Talmudic literature, known as the "Three Oaths", which admonished Jews to avoid provoking government authorities at all costs. Terrorism of course is, if nothing else, provocative. It is therefore not all that surprising that the next significant participation of Jews in terrorist violence involved individuals who had largely abandoned their communities and its values on behalf of secular, revolutionary concerns. We refer to the substantial role played by Jewish students and intellectuals in Russia during the last decades of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries in various attempts to bring down the Czarist autocracy by means of terrorist violence. Estimates vary, depending upon the particular revolutionary band, but scholars repeatedly call attention to the significant presence of Jews in such groups as the Combat Organization of the Socialist Revolutionaries. For example, the historian Anna Geifman reports that approximately 30% of the latter's female terrorists were of Jewish origins. She goes on to write that "… By joining the movement, a Jewish girl was not only opposing her parents' political beliefs, but was also flouting one of the very foundations of Jewish society – her role as a woman in the family."

The career of Sofia Ginsburg appears emblematic. Completely indifferent to the situation of the Jewish community in the Pale and a convert to Russian Orthodoxy (for reasons of expediency) she became caught up in revolutionary agitation during the 1880s. Fearing arrest Ginsburg fled to Switzerland where she joined other exiled Jewish student revolutionaries in planning terrorist attacks on the Czarist regime. After some years she returned to Russia to pursue her revolutionary objectives. In 1991 Ginsburg was arrested for publicly advocating the Czar's assassination and sentenced to a life term. She committed suicide shortly after beginning her sentence.

The participation of significant numbers of Jews or people of Jewish background at least in revolutionary terrorism was not confined to Russia during the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. The United States during the Nixon Administration (1969-1974) offers another instance. The context was the anti-Vietnam war movement and the role played in it by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Among other things, the university-centered SDS promoted large-scale protest marches and demonstrations aimed at getting the United States to withdraw from the Vietnam conflict. In 1969 SDS suffered a factional split. Those most committed to direct action, violence and making what they thought would be a genuine revolution separated and formed the Weathermen. Over the next few years, the Weathermen precipitated a number of highly publicized confrontations with the police, the so-called 'Days of Rage' in Chicago for example. These public and violent protests gave way to clandestine terrorist operations involving bank robberies and the bombing of public buildings. In the course of these revolutionary adventures several members of the Weathermen managed to blow themselves up while attempting to manufacture bombs in their New York headquarters, the Greenwich Village town-house owned by one of the revolutionary's wealthy parents.

Many Weathermen were, like their pre-Russian Revolution counterparts almost a century earlier, young university students or ex-students who had seemingly detached themselves from their Jewish roots. In conversations with each other Mark Rudd, Kathy Boudin, Susan Stern and other Weathermen often discussed how far they had come from their cloying bourgeois Jewish backgrounds. But how far had this journey really taken them?

As in the case of their substantially more serious Russian predecessors, these Jewish radicals had come to view the world in messianic terms. They defined themselves as a vanguard of the enlightened whose task was to lead the 'masses' or the working class to victory over the forces of injustice and thereby redeem the world. We may be accused of reductionism, but the 'non-Jewish' Jews who embarked on this course were of course expressing a secular version of an important element in the Jewish religious experience.

Jewish involvement in modern terrorism is certainly dominated by but not completely restricted to this pattern. An important exception is provided by the All- Jewish Workers Union or Bund active in Lithuania, Poland and Russia from 1897 on. The Bund's founders were committed to bringing an end to the Russian autocracy and replacing it with a new socialist economic and political order. They were also secularized. However, by contrast to Sofia Ginsburg and the other Jewish advocates and practitioners of revolutionary agitation and violence, they confined themselves to organizing Jewish workers within the Czarist Empire. The Bund represented an effort to promote the Jewish workers' often desperate cause by merging Russian socialist revolutionary ideas with Jewish nationalism. The Bund's nationalism was defined in terms of the claim to Jewish rights within Russia at a time when Zionist ideas were also winning supporters among other Eastern European Jews.

The Bund's initial revolutionary program explicitly rejected individual assassinations and other forms of terrorism but less as a matter of principle than out of a sense that these extreme measures were counter-productive. Over time and in practice the Bund leaders came to applaud various terrorist attacks particularly when they were directed against business owners and other symbols of 'capitalist exploitation.' By the early years of the 20th century Bundist functionaries at the local level participated in terrorist violence with considerable frequency. Revenge and self-defense were almost always employed to justify these attacks. Accordingly, after a Bund member shot and wounded the Russian governor of Vilna in 1902, after he had ordered the flogging of 20 young Jewish workers, the party's central committee proclaimed, "Honor and Glory to the avenger, who sacrificed himself for his brothers!"

The Bund's practice of eventually endorsing and practicing terrorist methods on the basis of self-defense and vengeance was taken up by Zionists in Palestine from the period of the second Aliya forward.

For many Zionist young people arriving in Palestine from Eastern Europe in the first years of the twentieth century defense of the new Jewish communities was an overriding consideration. Often trained in self-defense techniques in Europe, these Socialist - Zionist youth formed two principal groups, the "Shomer" and the "Hagana", to protect the Jewish presence in Ottoman-controlled pre World War I Palestine.

The Zionist-Socialist Self-Defense Groups
The Zionist movement in the early twentieth century served as an impetus for the mass migration of Jewish youth from Eastern Europe to Palestine, which began at the end of 1903. These young people, numbers of whom were trained by Jewish defense organizations in Europe, made it their goal to implement the lessons learned in the Diaspora (see above) by forming a defensive framework for the protection of the Jewish community. In this manner they served as the basis for the establishment of several Zionist-Socialist groups that focused on the security aspects involved in creating a Jewish political presence in Palestine. The two main groups were the 'Shomer' and the 'Hagana'.

The “Shomer” (Guard), established in 1909 and based on the Bar-Giora organization , was a clandestine, elitist organization that had among its goals not only the protection of the Jewish settlers but also broader nationalist goals such as the further development of the Jewish settlements as well as influencing the political and ideological development of Jewish society in Palestine . In addition to guarding the settlements, ‘Shomer’ members also helped found new settlements and establish groups of Jewish agricultural laborers (known as the “Laborers’ Legion”).

The organization focused its efforts on activities that were intended to realize a broad-range of political goals. These goals stemmed from the members’ unique view of Shomer as a political, security-based avant-garde that promoted the development of the Jewish community in Palestine.
The decline of the ‘Shomer’ began in 1914, due to factors both in and outside the organization. Most notable among the internal factors was the development of oppositional factions within the organization, which had a negative effect on group solidarity and undermined the authority of the founding leaders. One of the two influential external factors was the ongoing oppression of Palestine's Ottoman rulers, who considered the ‘Shomer’ to be an illegal militia and repeatedly expelled its leaders during World War I. The second external factor was the decline in the organization’s relationship with landowners in the south of Palestine. As a result, ‘Shomer’ lost ground, and eventually made way for what became the largest and most prominent Jewish military organization after World War I, the ‘Hagana’.

The ‘Hagana’, which began its activities in 1919-1921, was, not unlike its predecessor, an organization with a nationalist and leftist orientation. The organization functioned as the military branch of the Jewish settlement and its institutions, first under the leadership of the Unified Labor party –“Ahdut Haavoda”, then under the workers’ union, and finally as the official military representative of the population’s elected establishment. However, it wasn’t until 1929 that the organization became firmly established, for reasons that relate to the relatively stable security conditions and the constant shortages of resources, namely arms and manpower. This paucity reflected, to a great extent, the indifference felt by leaders of the Jewish settlement to the importance of a Jewish defense force.

However, this state of affairs changed dramatically in 1929, following a wave of Arab attacks on Jewish targets. In the wake of these events, which left 133 Jews dead and more than 300 wounded, the ‘Hagana’ established a national headquarters whose goal was to provide a military response to the needs of the Jewish population living under the British mandate. The headquarters, which answered to the National Committee (the official executive office elected by the organized Jewish population of Palestine), functioned as the operational center situated between the ‘Hagana’ and the Jewish political institutions. In effect it strengthened the Hagana’s position as the major security organization of the Jewish population in Palestine.

Parallel to its civic activities, which were intended to serve as the basis for the Jewish state’s institutions, the ‘Hagana’ established a military infrastructure, trained soldiers, and manufactured arms . Additionally during this period, the organization adopted technical and tactical changes in an attempt to raise the level of static defense of the settlements to proper military standards.
From the a tactical perspective, the ‘Hagana’ managed not to get drawn into an active role against Arab terrorism. It focused instead on passive defense of the Jewish settlements and of the roads leading to them. But in later years the ‘Hagana’ expanded the deployment of units with active combat orientation, such as the “field units” and “Special Night Squads”.

By the time the state of Israel was established, the ‘Hagana’ became an established military institution which then served as the basis for the establishment of Israel's army in 1948.
In sum, the left-wing Zionist organizations active prior to the founding of the State largely engaged in vigilante activities intended to provide basic defense to the Jewish settlements, particularly in light of the ineffectiveness of the foreign authorities (whether Turkish or British) in dealing with the continuing conflict between the Arab and Jewish populations. Over the years, these organizations expanded their goals regarding the development of the Jewish settlements to include activities such as helping Jewish immigration and establishing new settlements; however, their main activity remained preparing a defense for the Jewish settlements.

The ideological character of these groups was unusual: on one hand they were influenced by the Russian revolutionary left, while on the other they held strong nationalistic goals. Hence these organizations anticipate the dual character of Jewish terrorism in the years to come, i.e., Jewish nationalism combined with other ideological and religious elements.

Along with the activities of the groups with a leftist-socialist orientation such as the ‘Shomer’ and the ‘Hagana’, at the end of the 1920’s several smaller, right wing, nationalistic organizations began to emerge which stressed political violence as a legitimate path. These rightist groups formed the operational and ideological basis for Jewish terrorism following the founding of the State of Israel.

“Brit Habirionim”

The Arabs' harsh attacks on Jews in 1929, which led to agitation among the Jewish population and particularly among members of the ‘Hagana’ (which at the time was the only defense force available to the Jewish population), represent the events that ended leftist organizations' monopoly on the Jewish population’s organized military activities. (In contrast to the ‘Etzel’ and ‘Lehi’ established later from within the ranks of the establishment) the first right wing group to be formed was characterized by its complete disassociation from the Zionist establishment. This group, known as “Brit Habirionim” (the Ruffians’ Treaty, its name reminiscent of the fanatics who fought against the Romans in the period of the Second Temple), was composed even at the height of its activity only a few dozen members. Active between 1930 and 1933, the organization considered itself to be a national revolutionary movement intended to function as an ideological and military avant-garde. Members of the organization refused to accept the existing consensus among the majority of the Jewish population, according to which the British were perceived as allies of the Jewish cause. Therefore, they considered the authorities of the British mandate and the Zionist establishment to be bound together, inefficient and corrupt organizations incapable of leading the process of fulfilling the national Jewish destiny in the land of Israel.

The ideology of Brit Habirionim, which was greatly influenced by Italian fascism, considered the British rulers of Palestine and the socialist–Zionist establishment the targets of its struggle, whereas the struggle against the Arab population was considered of secondary importance. This view was based on a broader concept, developed and expressed by the organization’s leader, Abba Haheimeir, who regarded fascism as strong enough to oppose the spread of communism on one hand and liberal democracy on the other hand. Haheimeir considered both of these ideologies as inherently incapable of formulating a national political entity that would survive. Rejecting ideas that stemmed from the left, he led the organization to act against the Zionist establishment and against the British.

With some support from the Israeli right led by Zeev Zabotinsky (ideological and political leader of the Jewish population’s civilian right wing at that time), members of ‘Brit Habirionim’ carried out several largely minor operations some violent and most of them illegal, which included attempts to initiate demonstrations against both Zionist and British institutions, attempts to interrupt the census conducted by the British, and other illegal activities intended as public provocations such as blowing the Shofar at the Western Wall (forbidden to Jews at that time), and removing the flags of foreign consulates.

‘Brit Habirionim’ came to an end in 1933, following punitive measures taken against its members by the British Mandatory Authority, including the arrest of Abba Haheimeir and other leaders. The organization received its final blow when its leader was accused of acting as an accomplice to the murder of Haim Arlozorov, a leader of the socialist camp. Although a year later, in 1934, Haheimeir was acquitted of all involvement in the murder, his now tarnished reputation led to his isolation by former political supporters among the Jewish populace.

The “Etzel” (National Military Organization)
The unrest caused by the events of 1929, which gave rise to the founding of ‘Brit Habirionim’, also affected certain groups from within the Jewish military establishment. One such group was the Jerusalem branch of the ‘Hagana’, led by Abraham Tehomi. Following the events of 1929, Tehomi warned against the use of antiquated tactics of the ‘Hagana’ and demanded an organizational change that would be more militaristic in character, in contrast to its current militia-like structure, which lacked discipline and military norms. Tehomi and his companions complained of the poor quality of arms and maintenance, the low level of training, and the lack of development of effective means of intelligence gathering. At the same time they demanded that the ‘Hagana’ be subordinate to a national-level leadership which would represent all the active political factions and not just the socialist left (not a surprising demand, given the fact that the majority of the Jerusalem branch belonged to the revisionist right and its youth movement, ‘Beitar’).

It appears that this conflict might not have resulted in a split if Tehomi and his companions had not had the political support of the Zionist Revisionist Federation (which was, at the time, the representative body of the civic right-wing of the Jewish settlement) and its leader Zeev Zabotinsky, who allocated all of Beitar’s human resources to the newly formed organization. Despite repeated efforts to find a compromise, the Jerusalem branch finally split off from the ‘Hagana’. The new organization called itself “Irgun Bet” (i.e., alternative organization) or the “National Defense” until1932 when it took on the official name of “Etzel” (acronym of National Military Organization).

‘Etzel’ devoted most of its early years to its development as a clandestine military organization with a right wing activist and nationalist ideology. Almost simultaneously it established a professional command center and expanded its sphere of activity throughout Palestine. Politically the ‘Etzel’ was clearly a right-wing organization whose personnel came from the ‘Beitar’ and other movements from the political right as well as from Zionism's religious wing. Over the early years, Zabotinsky became the head of the organization, and representatives from the Revisionist sections of public institutions also functioned as representatives of the ‘Etzel’.

In addition to its emphasis on the development of its military character, the Etzel’s activities focused on illegal operations aimed at smuggling Jewish immigrants into Palestine. Thus, in 1934, the ‘Etzel’ initiated the immigration of 200 Jews from Egypt and Greece. In 1938 more than 2000 Jewish immigrants arrived in eight separate operations; and in 1939, the organization brought to Palestine’s shores a record of fifteen ships carrying more than 10,000 Jewish immigrants. In the 1940’s, as the British exerted greater pressure against the ‘Etzel’s’ activities in particular, and against Jewish immigration in general, the ‘Etzel’ decreased its activity in this area and turned its efforts to militia activities within the country. In fact, the organization became renowned for its internal terrorist actions initiated in the 1930’s at first against the Arab population and later against the British presence in Palestine.

The events that took place between 1936 and 1939 known as the “Arab Uprising,” provided the ‘Etzel’ with its first opportunity to distinguish itself from the ‘Hagana’, as it chose not to join the latter's “restraint policy” (a policy that opted not to respond with counter-attacks against the Arab population). As the events began, the ‘Etzel’ leadership decided to choose a middle path of “responding without engaging in a terrorist war with the Arabs”. In fact, the ‘Etzel’ leaders did choose a terrorist approach, i.e., conducting operations that had political goals, intended to establish a reign of terror by carrying out arbitrary attacks on the Arab population, such as the killing of two Palestinian workers in a banana plantation on April 20th, 1936, followed two days later shooting and throwing a grenade at Arab passers by in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem .

Between 1936 and 1939, the ‘Etzel’ continued to conduct terrorist activities while methodically attempting to provide a rational justification for the violence by calling it retaliation for Arab attacks; for example, the shooting at a passenger train in August 1936 was justified as a response to the shooting at civilian Jews in Tel-Aviv a day earlier by Arabs. Soon, however, the ‘Etzel’ abandoned this policy line and announced a terrorist campaign intended to provide a suitable response to the “Arab Uprising.” This approach reflected the ‘Etzel’s’ worldview, which considered political violence and terrorism legitimate tools in the Jewish national struggle for the Land of Israel.

The ‘Etzel’s’ terrorist campaign against the Arab population lasted until the end of the “Arab Uprising” in 1939, and included more than sixty attacks. An attempt to characterize the Etzel’s activities in this period leads us to note its four major tactics: assassination attempts, attacks on transportation routes, shootings, and the use of explosive devices. More specifically, its first course of action was random assassination of Arab labor workers or passersby. These attacks occurred in various cities (such as the shooting at Arabs in the downtown area of Haifa in June 1938 and a month later at Arabs walking near the Sheari Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem) as well as at more isolated areas (such as the killing of two Arabs on the beach in Bat-Yam in March 1937 and the killing of two other Arabs in the fields near the Hefer valley that same month).
Encouraged by its success and the experience accumulated by its members, the ‘Etzel’ expanded its range of activities to include ambushes and systematic attacks on major transportation arteries (shooting at a bus with Arab passengers in July 1938, throwing explosives at another bus in September 1937, shooting at a truck with an Arab driver in November 1937), and shooting attacks on Arab population centers (using a semi-machine gun and throwing a grenade at an Arab coffee shop in Jerusalem in November 1937, throwing explosives at another coffee shop in Haifa in April 1937, and the use of a semi-automatic machine gun to shoot at an Arab group in Haifa in May of 1939). The organization also expanded its tactics to include the detonation of explosives by remote control. The most dramatic act in this regard was the planting of a mine in the Arab market in Haifa in July 1938, an attack which resulted in the death of more than seventy Arabs.

In 1939, the ‘Etzel’ changed its goals and shifted its focus to actions aimed against the British forces in Palestine. The change was due both to the cessation of Arab violence on one hand, and on the other, a list of restrictions imposed by the British on the Jewish settlements regarding various issues, including the number of Jews allowed to enter Palestine, and the Jews’ ability to purchase land. These restrictions were part of a series of British reforms regarding their policy in Israel (known as the “White Book”). The ‘Etzel’s’ anti-British activities included the use of explosives against British targets and assassination attempts on British soldiers. For example, the British government’s broadcast center in Jerusalem was blown up in August 1939 by detonation envelopes that had been smuggled in. A few days later, the ‘Etzel’ killed a high-ranking British official who was accused by the organization of torturing ‘Etzel’ prisoners.

However, it was the outbreak of the Second World War that finally caused the ‘Etzel’ to bring its activities in line with the general consensus of the entire Jewish settlement and to declare a ceasefire in its struggle against the British authorities. This ceasefire was not to the liking of a small radical group of members within the ‘Etzel’ headed by Yair Stern, which then withdrew and founded an alternative organization that was first called “the Etzel in Israel” and later “Israel Liberation Fighters” (also known by its acronym, “Lehi”) , which will be reviewed in detail herein.
However, in February 1944, the ‘Etzel’, at the initiative of its leader at the time, Menahem Begin, decided to end the ceasefire. There were several reasons for this decision, prominent among them were signs of the allied forces’ approaching victory . A second important factor in the decision to end the ceasefire was the Jewish settlement’s sense that its contribution to, and support of the British in World War II was not sufficiently recognized by the British authorities; thus, the British failed to demonstrate the loyalty to the Jewish cause that was anticipated in return for Jewish participation in the war efforts. For ‘Etzel’ members, this lack of loyalty was expressed in the increased restrictions on immigration of Jews to Palestine and in the attempts to prevent Jews from purchasing land. Therefore, the organization declared an uprising against the British. With this declaration, the organization chose its future political path. The organization called for the withdrawal of the British mandate on the Land of Israel and the establishment of a temporary Jewish government. In addition, its declaration also included the organization’s political platform for the period following the founding of a Jewish State. Among other things, the declaration mentioned establishing a Jewish military, inculcating nationalist precepts that stem from Jewish tradition, imparting full civil rights to the Arab population, and changing the status of holy sites to be extraterritorial.

The ‘Etzel’ considered itself a national liberation movement with clearly defined goals. The first was to liberate Palestine from British rule through an uncompromising battle using all possible means. The other goals related to the period after the founding of the state and focused on establishing sovereign Jewish rule over all of Palestine. This rule would be social-democratic in spirit, including upholding human and civil rights. The ‘Etzel’ also emphasized the importance of Jewish tradition both in the struggle for sovereignty (in this sense, members of the ‘Etzel’ considered themselves as continuing in the path set by Jewish leaders throughout the generations in their struggle for independence) as well as in its role in establishing ethical guidelines for the Jewish state to come.

In the context of Jewish tradition, the ‘Etzel’ considered the war against the British as a commandment; thus, it was part of a framework that regarded the Jewish principle of warding off the enemies of the people of Israel (such as the biblical Amaleks and the Medianites and the present day British) as superior to the commandment “you shall not kill” in its political manifestation. Members of the ‘Etzel’ subordinated their personal morality to the national one. They found support for this in a quote from the Rambam, one of the greatest Jewish philosophers, who determined that the commandment “Honor thy parents” and the concept of love of family should be rejected at times of war . Thus, ‘Etzel’ members were able to provide an ethical rationale for the use of terrorist tactics.

The ‘Etzel’ used the ceasefire during the Second World War to fortify its organizational infrastructure. At the same time, the organization's headquarters was established, which oversaw the various branches such as the medical, financial, public relations, intelligence, and maintenance divisions. The organization expanded its deployment throughout Palestine and placed a regional commander in each area, someone who was directly subordinate to the organization’s general headquarters and superior to the military units. Simultaneously, the Etzel developed a philosophy of warfare, which would be its path in the years to come and consisted mainly of terrorist acts, based on the element of surprise, carried out by small, military trained, compartmentalized units.
On February 1st, 1944, the ‘Etzel’ renewed its battle against the British authorities with a symbolic act that included setting-off explosives in the British Immigration offices of the three largest cities (Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa), which the ‘Etzel’ associated with the severe restrictions imposed by British authorities on Jewish immigration. A great deal of property was destroyed, although there were no casualties, since the operation took place on a weekend. Throughout that year and the next, the organization continued its activities against the British. At the end of February, the British Income Tax offices in the three major cities were blown up and at the end of March, the ‘Etzel’ carried out a more complex operation, which began with a combined attack on the offices of the British Secret Police in the three cities, followed by a raid on the British broadcast station in Ramallah in mid May 1944.

Responses to the Etzel’s terrorist network were harsh, both from the Jewish establishment that mostly cooperated with the British in an effort to stop the ‘Etzel’s’ activities, as well as from the British, who responded with sweeping arrests that sent most of the ‘Etzel’ activists to detention camps outside of Palestine.

Despite external and internal pressures that were brought to bear on the Etzel, it did not abandon its warfare policy until the end of 1945. Most of its activities were focused on attacking British police stations, including the central headquarters of the British Secret Police in December 1945. At the end of that year, mainly due to the pressures exerted on it, cooperation was established between the ‘Etzel’ organization, the ‘Hagana’, and the ‘Lehi’, united under an umbrella organization called the “Hebrew Rebellion Movement.” Within this framework, each organization could maintain its independence but had to obtain approval of its operations from the headquarters of the new organization.

The cooperation between these organizations ended with the most famous of the ‘Etzel’s’ terrorist acts, the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in July of 1946. The ‘Etzel’s’ intent was to provide a response to several British acts against the Jewish population by blowing up the southern wing of the hotel, which housed the central government offices of the British mandate as well as its central military headquarters. However, more than 82 people were killed in the attack, including civilians, and dozens more were injured or registered as missing.

The position of the Hagana and the “rebellion Movement’s” consent to the operation remains unclear to this very day; however, it is clear that this attack effectively ended all cooperation among the organizations. In 1946-1947, the ‘Etzel’, released from the restrictions imposed by the cooperation with the ‘Hagana’, renewed its terrorist activities with full vigor. These attacks were mainly on government offices and military bases, including the blowing up of the Income Tax offices in November 1946, systematic attacks on police targets throughout the same month, and raids on the military airport and on the Schneller base in Jerusalem in January and March of 1947. An exceptional operation, particularly in terms of its location, was the concealment of explosives in a suitcase at the British embassy in Rome, which destroyed the entire embassy. It was the first time the ‘Etzel’ had moved its operations to the international arena.

Once the State of Israel was founded, the ‘Etzel’ forces joined the Israeli army and the organization as such ceased to exist. Yet many of its members found it difficult to accept this and the fact that they were part of a military framework that was governed by the establishment headed by the Labor Party. The most obvious expression of such sentiment came on June 20th 1948, when the ship “Altalena” reached the shores of Israel full of arms and munitions purchased by the ‘Etzel’. Former ‘Etzel’ members demanded that the goods be handed to them and not distributed among the army’s units. Beyond this point the unfolding of events is unclear, but the results were critical. Following failed attempts to reach a compromise, a battle ensued on the Tel-Aviv coastline, during which the ship was sunk along with the ‘Etzel’ members that were on board. The “Altalena” affair gave the young State’s leadership sufficient reason to raid the remaining active ‘Etzel’ bases and put a definite end to its activities.

Despite the broad-based terrorist activities carried out by the ‘Etzel’ against the British authorities in Palestine of the 1940’s, the ‘Etzel’ was neither the most violent nor the most extreme Jewish nationalist group struggling for sovereignty. Moreover, it was not this group that laid the foundations for Jewish terrorism following statehood. This role is reserved for the ‘Lehi’ organization.

The "Lehi"
As mentioned, the ceasefire declared by the Etzel in 1939 with the beginning of the Second World War led to the withdrawal of a group of members of the ‘Etzel’ organization under the leadership of Yair Stern. Stern established a new organization, first called the “Etzel in Israel” and then later referred to as Israel Liberation Fighters, or by its acronym, ‘Lehi’. More than any other Jewish group, the ‘Lehi’ considered a violent struggle in general and terrorism in specific, to be legitimate measures for realizing the national Jewish vision of the Jewish people, and a necessary condition for achieving national liberation.

Not unlike the groups mentioned previously, the ‘Lehi’s’ ideology also reflected an inherent tension between its national goals and its comprehensive socio-political views that would serve to influence the future State’s political and social direction. ‘Lehi’s’ ideology combined national militant ideas linked to Jewish history, tradition, and religion, with influences drawn from a broad range of political philosophies (mostly from the Bolshevist revolution and Italian fascism).
Nevertheless, the ‘Lehi’s’ point of departure emphasized the superiority of the national and religious values, including the concept of liberation by means of a violent struggle, over any alternative value system. War and the violent struggle were considered by ‘Lehi’ members to be essential components in the development of the Jewish nation and for the removal of restrictions that bound them in their many years in the Diaspora.

According to ‘Lehi’s’ leaders, the rationale for these priorities of Jewish and national values stemmed from the assumption that neither social reform nor personal redemption could be achieved without attaining the status of a sovereign people, and Israel’s experience in the Diaspora provided the undeniable proof for support this assumption. In sharp contrast to the other organizations active at that time, ‘Lehi’ adopted a series of religious symbols and complementary messianic terminology that constituted a central component of its ideological framework. Stern considered his group a chosen sect of the 'chosen people'. In his view, religion was the common denominator in the nation’s existence and it was only religious fanaticism that “kept the nation’s blood purely Jewish”. Therefore, according to the ‘Lehi’, a Jewish political framework had to be characterized by traditional Jewish elements.

Stern and his colleagues repudiated the official Zionist leadership, which in their view had no operative plan for attaining Jewish sovereignty, and had demonstrated only compliance with and frailty before the British authorities and the Arab population. In contrast to the leftist organizations, the ‘Lehi’ considered itself part of an historical process, which began with the biblical conquest of Canaan by Joshua Ben-Noon and was continued in the Zealots’ and Bar-Kochva wars against Rome. As part of his newly formulated historiography, Stern considered all of these historic events as struggles intended to ultimately lead to nothing less than the foundation of a Jewish State. According to Stern’s view, all other ideological struggles (such as the struggle for emancipation in the Diaspora, sacrifices made to the democratic cause, and the struggle against the Nazis) were distractions and, worse yet, they used up valuable resources necessary for pursuing the national cause. Unlike the leftist organizations and even the ‘Etzel’, the ‘Lehi’ granted exclusive status to the national struggle, imbuing it with a religious purity, above and beyond that accorded to any other value.

Once established, the ‘Lehi’ identified its three main goals : 1) to bring together all those interested in liberation (i.e., those willing to join in active fighting against the British); 2) to appear before the world as the only active Jewish military organization; and 3) to take over the Land of Israel by armed force.

To realize these goals, Stern and his companions concluded that they could not or should not function as a military organization, but rather as a revolutionary underground movement with the main purpose of creating an independent and unique fighting entity within the international arena. Thus, according to ‘Lehi’ members, the organization should be perceived as active and ready to help any of the powerful nations that would recognize the Jews’ holy right over Palestine and provide tangible help in establishing a Jewish military and state. It should also be noted that given their negative attitude towards the British on one hand, and on the other the similarity between elements of the ‘Lehi’s’ worldview and those of the Italian Fascist movement (which was admired by most members of the Lehi), there was no doubt as to the identity of the side they supported.

Thus, in the organization’s early years, ‘Lehi’ members believed that the most effective way to realize Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was to find an opportune moment to recruit a strong international ally who would, in return for help from the Jewish military force, expel the British from Palestine and help found a sovereign Jewish state. Therefore, to convince the potential ally that this was a worthy plan, Stern decided that the ‘Lehi’s’ major activity would be to enlarge the Jewish military forces, by bringing together as broad and as organized a force as possible, and demonstrating its desire for freedom through military operations. However, according to the nationalist tradition that Stern represented, anyone who opposed or refused to contribute to the collective goal was considered an enemy and traitor.

The main problem for Stern and his companions was how to recruit these forces, most of which already supported or belonged to the Zionist establishment or to leftist political bodies. This is perhaps where the ‘Lehi’s’ radical and subversive outlook is most concretely apparent. From Stern’s point of view, the goal of recruiting the masses and gaining control of the Jewish street was obtainable only by revolutionary methods. Stern ruled out any possibility of reaching an agreement with the Zionist institutions, whose acts he considered national treason. He believed he must fight by revolutionary means to eliminate the establishment completely by exerting both physical and financial pressures.

Operationally, the first goal of the revolution was to establish Jewish control in Palestine by violently expelling the foreign rule. This task required educating and training the people to fulfill this revolutionary function. The next step was to establish a strong, centralized national authority that would oversee the activities of national conquest, put end to knavery and intrigue exercised by the various political parties and, as stated in the ‘Lehi’s’ platform, renew the reign of Israel, establishing a socio-economic rule according to the moral spirit of the Prophets. While the ‘Lehi’ did not clarify the specifics of the socio-economic program it planned to apply, it seems that the organization considered the State an ethnic, religious, and national body that would install a centralized economy similar to the Italian model of the late 1930’s.

The revolution, according to Stern, was needed not only to take control of the Jewish settlement, but also as a process. This approach was complemented by his complete denial of gradual, legal, and democratic processes for controlling the governing establishment. Stern, who understood that he had the support of only a small group of revolutionaries, attributed a great deal of significance to the creation of a centralized and unified revolutionary organization that would be able to recruit the masses at the appropriate hour, which would create a revolutionary spirit. Not unlike the Russian revolutionaries in October 1917, Stern believed that the revolutionary warrior (i.e., the ‘Lehi’ fighter) must be free of all personal, social, or familial sentiments. Nevertheless, he and his companions purposely ignored the social ideals of the Russian revolutionaries, and drew only on their revolutionary tactics.

Finally, the ‘Lehi’ organization's ideology places its worldview in the quasi-Fascist radical right, which is characterized by xenophobia, a national egotism that completely subordinates the individual to the needs of the nation, anti-liberalism, total denial of democracy, and a highly centralized government.

The first year of ‘Lehi’s’ activities was not particularly successful. The organization focused most of its efforts on distributing propaganda materials and attempted to raise funds for its activities by criminal methods, such as a bank robbery in Tel-Aviv in September 1940. However, most of these attempts failed and funds that were acquired through robbery were never used to create the necessary organizational infrastructure. To summarize briefly, in its first few years, the organization consisted of a small group of revolutionary radicals who were isolated, and did not manage to clearly explain the ideological platform that motivated their withdrawal from the ‘Etzel’.

A series of failures at the end of 1941 and in early 1942 (including a failed robbery attempt on January 9th 1942, which led to the death of a Jewish passersby) caused the organization’s temporary collapse. The last straw was the attempt to assassinate the commander of the British Secret Police in the central region of Palestine (in Lod). Because of the poor planning and execution of this attack, three police personnel were killed, two of them Jewish and one British. The response of both the British and Jewish establishments was severe, namely, declaring a comprehensive battle against the ‘Lehi’ and its supporters. The willingness of the Zionist establishment to cooperate, for the first time, with the forces of the British mandate in an effort to eliminate a Jewish underground organization clearly demonstrates the ‘Lehi’s’ isolation from both the centrist ideology and the operational center of the Jewish settlement of that period.

By the end of January 1942, most of the ‘Lehi’ activists had been arrested. Stern himself was also captured and killed in February of that same year. Seemingly, that should have been the end of the organization. The ‘Lehi’ was a failing underground organization with a prominent gap between its goals and its achievements. The lack of organization, the poor resources, the failed financial management, the inability to maintain secrecy, and above all the widespread public hostility it attracted due to its Fascist image, were the main contributors to the organization’s failure.

Despite the fact that the ‘Lehi’ organization was almost completely destroyed in the winter of 1942, its few remaining members tried to maintain its core. In September 1942, this attempt was reinforced following the escape from prison of two of the organization’s leaders, Itzhak Shamir (future Prime Minister of Israel) and Eliyahu Giladi (who was later assassinated by ‘Lehi’ members due to his desire to return to the ‘Etzel’), both of whom were aided by two other escapees, Israel Eldad (Scheib) and Natan Yalin (Mor). In November 1943 they began working to re-establish the organization. While the others dealt with the operational aspects, Israel Eldad focused on the publication and distribution of a series of articles titled “Foundation Blocks,” that aimed to reformulate the organization’s platform.

The general purpose of the renewed ‘Lehi’ was to emphasize its revolutionary credentials, by describing the gap between the Jewish people and the British (especially after Hitler’s acts against the Jews during the World War had become public knowledge), and pointing out the organization’s uniqueness in this context, in contrast to other Jewish parties and activist groups. The ‘Lehi’s’ leaders continued to oppose the pro-British attitude favored by most of the Jewish establishment, and considered the socialist-Zionist movement a tool used by the British to ensure their continued rule in Palestine. According to the ‘Lehi’s’ view, the Arab public, that had failed to maintain their civil rights and had no national identity, was fostered by the British because “Britain prefers to rule over the Arabs rather than over a highly populated and cultured Jewish public”. The solution offered by ‘Lehi’ members regarding the Arab's status was either physical annihilation or expulsion from Palestine.

But the most prominent ideological components of the new ‘Lehi’ referred to is justification for terrorism. More than ever, leaders of the ‘Lehi’ understood that to enable their terrorist activities they had to provide the Jewish public with a rationale for such activity, since it was ‘Lehi’s’ constant reliance on terrorism that caused its isolation from the Zionist establishment.

The justification the ‘Lehi’ provided had two levels: the operational and the ideological. On the operational level the renewed ‘Lehi’ emphasized the advantage of terrorist tactics when dealing with an enemy that possessed much greater resources. Therefore, the terrorist method was the only tool that, given the organization’s meager resources, would enable the ‘Lehi’ to inflict real harm on the British military forces in Palestine while simultaneously calling the world’s attention to the struggle of the Jewish people and the country’s attention to Lehi’s ideology.

Ideologically, the leaders of the renewed ‘Lehi’ distanced themselves from the religious, messianic view of violence that Stern had represented. The renewed organization’s rationalization for the use of terrorist tactics was a definition of terrorism as “any coercion enforced through sanctions.” Thus they affirmed that terrorism is essentially not illegal, since the regulations imposed by the British authorities are, according to this definition, practices that express a terrorist rule, i.e., coercive. This logic enabled ‘Lehi’ members to claim that there is a legitimate struggle against British terrorism and that terrorism in and of itself is not an illegitimate tactic. They also emphasized the fact that terrorism was not a new phenomenon in the tradition of Jewish struggle against a foreign conqueror. Thus, while self-sacrifice was no longer upheld as a central ideal in their struggle, members of the ‘Lehi’ still considered themselves followers of zealot activists throughout the generations.

After a two-year pause for reorganization, in February of 1944 the ‘Lehi’ was prepared to become active again. Its first activities were repeated attempts to kill representatives of the British authority, as in their failed attempt on the Chief British Commissioner in early February of 1944. Given the failure of these attempts, the ‘Lehi’ initiated clashes with the British authority’s police force. Thus, they arranged altercations with forces whose attention they drew by sending squads to put up anti-British propaganda. However, members of the organization paid a heavy price for their multiple attempts to kill British police and officials. From March 19 through April of that year, the organization lost four of its members. And at the end of April that same year six of its members were also captured, including Israel Eldad. Once again, the gap between the ‘Lehi’s’ notable ability to create an ideological infrastructure complemented by widespread propaganda and their operational abilities became evident. The most obvious shortcomings were faulty organization, careless planning, and particularly the lack of a well-trained intelligence unit, which left substantial parts of the organization vulnerable.

However, it is important to note that at this period, and for the first time in the organization’s history, the ‘Lehi’ and its activities gained some public support. This was in November 1944, due to the assassination of Lord Moyne in Egypt. Lord Moyne. Minister of the British colonies at the beginning of World War II, Moyne was appointed Resident Minister for the Middle East on January 28 of the same year. In the Jewish settlement he was already known for his hostility, expressed both in his long-term support in favor of a Middle Eastern Arab Federation as well as in his anti-Semitic lectures (such as his call for Arab sovereignty in the Land of Israel based on the superior purity of the Arab race compared to the mixed Jewish race).

On November 6, 1944, Lord Moyne was shot and killed in his Cairo residence by two ‘Lehi’ members. He was an ideal target for the ‘Lehi’ both because of the location, which proved that the ‘Lehi’ could fight British imperialism beyond the borders of the land of Israel, and because of his prominent position. The need for such a successful act arose due to the ‘Etzel’s’ triumphs, which made it difficult for the ‘Lehi’ to recruit members and supporters. The assassination of Lord Moyne fulfilled this role and created a broad wave of publicity in both the Jewish settlement and in world public opinion. An interesting aspect of this event was the fact that the attack was practically a suicide mission. In contrast to the organization’s previous acts in Palestine, in this case the perpetrators had no means of escape and in fact both were caught and later executed.
For the British, as well as for the Zionist establishment and the Jewish settlement, the assassination of Lord Moyne represented an escalation in the ‘Lehi’s’ activities and a dramatic departure from the unwritten rules of the Zionist struggle. Therefore, the reaction against the organization intensified. The Jewish leadership decided to cooperate with the British forces against the ‘Etzel’ and the ‘Lehi’. Leaders of the Jewish settlement concluded that the terrorist activities carried out by the two organizations, the damaged the relationship between the Jewish settlement and the British rule in the short-term, and the chances of attaining political sovereignty in the long-term. The period of the Jewish establishment’s cooperation with the British (known also as the “saison”) increased to a new high level. The already existing estrangement between the ‘Lehi’ and the Zionist establishment mounted as well. The willingness of the Zionist establishment and the ‘Hagana’ to cooperate with the British in an attempt to dismantle the right wing organizations proved to be a hard blow to the ‘Lehi’, which already found it difficult to arouse sufficient public support. This was also a difficult period operationally for the ‘Lehi’; despite the fact that most of the ‘Hagana’s’ actions were aimed at the Etzel, the larger organization, the ‘Lehi’ had to leave the arena and wait for the “storm” to pass.

Toward the end of 1945, when the fate of European Jewry became known, and particularly following the new Labor Government’s announcement that it would continue enforcing its restrictions regarding both Jewish immigration to Palestine and land purchases (White Book policies), the Zionist establishment withdrew from the “saison” policy. In fact, it was toward the end of that year that the cooperation between the ‘Hagana’, ‘Etzel’, and ‘Lehi’ began within the framework of the “Hebrew Rebellion Movement”. The ‘Lehi’ at that time could claim some success, seeing the escalation of animosity between the Zionist establishment and the British rule as living proof of the ideology it had been following since its founding.

Within the “Hebrew Rebellion Movement", ‘Lehi’ members participated in several attacks on British military bases, the most famous being the sabotage on British aircrafts in three different airports, carried out in February 1946.

The tension between the ‘Lehi’s’ activism and desire to carry out indiscriminate assassinations and terrorist acts, and the ‘Hagana’s’ restraint and moderation expressed in the tendency to carry out only acts that would not lead to uncontrolled bloodshed, made it clear to ‘Lehi’ members that their presence in this co-operative framework could only be temporary. The ‘Lehi’s’ attack in April of 1946 in which British soldiers were killed in their sleep, and later the attack of the ‘Etzel’ on the King David Hotel marked the end of the cooperation. Each organization again pursued its own path.

The ‘Lehi’ continued its terrorist activities even after the United Nations’ declaration of the founding of Jewish and Arab states, living side by side, in November 1947. Throughout that year, the ‘Lehi’ considered the British political attempts to hand the issue of Palestine over to the United Nations as maneuvers intended to secure the British Empire’s rule in the Middle East. According to the ‘Lehi’, the arrival of British forces in Middle East and particularly the improved relations between the British and the Arabs, endangered the ability of the Jewish settlement to attain sovereignty in Israel. Therefore the organization increased its activities against the British and initiated a series of acts, among them the bombing the British shipping company’s offices in Haifa and the sabotage of the British Military offices in the same city in early March of 1947. A week later, the ‘Lehi’ attacked the Jerusalem offices of the British Government; however, the peek of its activities was the attack on the Office of Colonies in London, followed shortly by an assault on a large military base near Pardes Hana.

Following the United Nations’ declaration and the Israeli army’s preparations to battle the Arab armies, the gradual dismantling of the ‘Lehi’ began. Most of its units (excluding the Jerusalem region) joined the ‘Hagana’ and the ‘Etzel’ as part of the Israeli military. The Israeli government officially declared the ‘Lehi’s’ dissolution after recruiting its members to the Israel Defense Forces on the 29 of May 1948.

However, before its final demise, the ‘Lehi’ carried out one final terrorist act that brought on a broad-ranging operation by the Israeli security forces against it, including Israeli government decision to declare it as a terrorist organization. On September 16 1948, ‘Lehi’ members assassinated the Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, who came to Israel as a diplomat of the United Nations. Apparently the reasons for the assassination were grounded in the ‘Lehi’s’ basic lack of trust in the temporary Israeli government. The ‘Lehi’ members considered the attempts to negotiate and reach a ceasefire between Israel and the Arab states a step backwards, and the beginning of a dangerous process whereby the powers at large would again take control over the region and aim to maintain political stability by further reducing the size of the Jewish State.
The ‘Lehi’ tried to deny its responsibility for the assassination; nevertheless, the murder of Bernadotte highlighted the dual nature of the Lehi in the period of its decline. On one hand it wanted to preserve itself as a political non-belligerent organization, while on the other hand it wanted to maintain a fighting underground organization in areas that were not strictly under Jewish sovereignty. Following the assassination, the temporary Israeli government declared the ‘Lehi’ a terrorist organization and acted forcefully to arrest its members and confiscate its property.

This was the organization’s final act, and after a short imprisonment period, most of its members were released from prison. A substantial number of its former leaders (such as Itzhak Shamir and Israel Eldad) continued to play an active role in the Israeli political system.

Any attempt to understand the source of Jewish terrorism before the establishment of the State of Israel demands an in-depth observation of it roots in both Jewish tradition and in the Zionist movement. Therefore, in this paper we tried to present the major tendencies in the activities of the various Jewish groups and sects that strove to attain their political goals by violent methods, and to review the formation of the ideological and theological bases for Jewish terrorism following the founding of the State of Israel.

In general, we note two major tendencies in the development of violent Jewish groups. The first involves vigilante groups, which were essentially devoid of revolutionary goals. Instead these groups focused on providing effective defense to the Jewish collective wherever it might be. These groups performed a self-defense function when foreign rulers seemed incapable or unwilling to protect of the Jewish community when it came under attack Thus the Jewish defense organizations in Europe at the end of the 19th century aspired to ensure that the Jewish community members live safely without pogroms, given the neglect of the ruling governments. The 'Shomer' and 'Hagana' organizations that came later were similar in that their activity focused on security of the Jewish settlements given the Turks’ and the British ineffective reaction to the emerging conflict between the Jewish and the Arab residents in Palestine. These Jewish defense groups wanted to cooperate with the government; but even when this was not possible and they were forced to act secretly, the groups were careful not to oppose the governments and to avoid revolutionary activity. It is important to note that although the ‘Shomer’ and the ‘Hagana’ incorporated nationalistic slogans and expressed their desire for a future Jewish sovereignty, their essential goal was to defend the Jewish collectivity.

The second tendency is of radical Jewish groups that emphasized the need for a security-based, combat Jewish vanguard that would realize, by means of political violence, the independence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. These groups did not content themselves with acting as defense groups to Jews at large; rather, they considered themselves to be the core of a Jewish army that would liberate the Jewish people from its Diaspora and the ongoing dependence on foreign political elements.

Thus, the Sicarii struggled against the Romans during the period of the Second Temple, and the 'Etzel' and 'Lehi' struggled to defeat the British; defending the Jewish populace from their Arab neighbors was not their top priority. The wide-ranging political goals of these groups created a serious gap between their operational abilities and their far-reaching visions, which caused them to choose terrorist tactics, the only violent tool that allows the weak to contend with an adversary whose resources, are significantly greater. However, it appears that it was precisely the use of terrorism that led to the isolation of these groups and paradoxically impaired their ability to raise funds from the Jewish public.

Despite the differences between the two types of organizations, both of them tended to incorporate into their statements some universal ideas that became part of the ideological scheme of the group. Some of the groups incorporated the anti-colonial or fundamentalist-messianic components on one hand or socialists elements from the other. The important fact is that only the first combination (of anti-colonial and traditional-religious elements) created in the Jewish case well established platform that drove groups into terrorism. This link was not a coincidence. These groups justified their use of terrorist tactics on the basis of religious ideas.

The question’s that should be asked is if the Jewish fundamentalism was adopted by those groups on order to rationalize terrorism or if the opposite is truth, the religious components in their ideology drove them to use terrorist tactics. From our analysis of those groups, it seems that in the Sicarii and the ‘Lehi’ cases the Jewish tradition had a major role in their tendencies to use radical violence, in regards to the ‘Ezel’ the situation is less clear.

From the operational aspects that refer to the targets and the weapon that were chosen by the Jewish organization, we should notice that they didn’t differ from much from anti-colonial terrorist organizations in other parts in the world, (i.e., by acting especially against military and governments targets using the traditional gun and bombs).

But an important matter we need to consider is whether or not these groups fit established definitions of religious fundamentalism. Is the fact they incorporated religious elements in their doictrine enough? The answer is largely positive. First, both the 'Ezel' and the 'lehi' adapted traditional texts in perpetrating new strategies in fighting the British and the Arabs. Second, their ideology reflected the classical dichotomy between the forces of good and the forces of evil i.e., everyone opposed to the messianic model they presented. Third, they saw themselves as the followers of historical radical religious groups. Finally they were strongly organized along authoritarian lines during their most active periods. So, we man conclude that the 'Lehi', and for most part the 'Ezel" as well should be considered as examples of Jewish fundamentalism.

To conclude, the founding of the State of Israel led to the disappearance of these radical groups, since the goal of Jewish sovereignty was attained. However, a fascinating process ensued. While revolutionary Jewish violence disappeared, vigilante violence continued to exist even after the founding of the State of Israel. It appears that the tradition, formed in the late 19th century in Europe and expanded with the activity of the leftist groups in early 20th century Palestine, which includes the development of social functions that complement the government and supplement it in an array of political and military roles, survived after the founding of the State of Israel and continues to accompany the political reality in Israel to this very day. However, while the socialist tendencies were prominent before the founding of the State, after this event it was the Israeli right that adopted this tradition and mode of action.

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1 David Rapoport, “ Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions,” American Political Science Review 78:3 ( September 1985) pp. 660-672.

2 Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (London: Victor Gollancz, 1998) p. 88.

3 Gabriel Almond, R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanuel Sivan, Strong Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003) p. 67.

4 Anna Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993) p. 12.

5 Norman Naimark, Terrorists and Social Democrats (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983) pp. 219-223.

6 See the autobiography of Susan Stern, With The Weathermen (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1975) ad passim.

7 Alexandr Lokshin, " The Bund in the Russian Jewish Historical Landscape," in Anna Geifman (ed.), Russia Under the Last Tsar (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999) pp. 57-72.

8 Quoted in Geifman, Thou Shalt Kill , p. 103.

9 One of the first Jewish groups active in Palestine of the early 20th century was the Bar-Giora group (1907-1920) the Bar-Giora group promoted communal ideals among its members, with an emphasis on a new human image that hails in the budding socialism of the early 20th century. Simultaneously, the group acted to establish Jewish settlements in the Galilee and to organize Jewish groups that would be responsible for securing the settlements and protecting them the attacks of their Arab neighbors (Ben-Yehuda 1993, 85-87).

10 Aziel Lev, “From Bar-Giora to the Shomer”, Monthly Review- I.D.F Officers Journal. (September, 1985) (Hebrew), p.12.

11 Meir Pa’il, The Armed Struggle. 1945-1948 (Efal: Yad Tabenkin, 1985) (Hebrew), P.12.

12 Lev, "From Bar-Giora to the Shomer," p.109-123.

13 Meir Pa’il, The Evolution of Hebrew Defense Force (Tel-Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 1987), pp. 33-40.

14 Pa’il, The Armed Struggle. 1945-1948, pp. 34-45.

15 Pa’il, The Armed Struggle. 1945-1948, P. 51; Mordehai Naor, The Hagana (Tel-Aviv: Education Department Officer, IDF 1975) (Hebrew). pp. 77-85.

16 Naor, The Hagana, pp. 107-140; Pa’il, The Armed Struggle. 1945-1948, pp. 72-79.

17 Joseph Nedava, Abba Haheimeir. Tel-Aviv: (The Association for Strengthening the National Consciousness, . 1987) (Hebrew), pp.7-18.

18 Haim Borochov,. & Joseph Paamoni,.(Eds.), Brit Habirionim. (Tel-Aviv: Zabotinski Institute, 1953) (Hebrew).

19 Nedava, Abba Haheimeir, pp.7-18.

20 Borochov & Paamoni, Brit Habirionim.

21 Pa’il, The Armed Struggle. 1945-1948, pp. 42-43.

22 Joseph Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948 (Tel-Aviv: The Ezel Museum, 1998) (Hebrew), p.4.

23 Jakob Shavit,. “The Political and Public Organization of the Jewish Setttelment's”, in Joseph Ben-Porat, and Jakob Shavit, The History of Erez Israel (9) (Jerusalem: Cetter, 1982) (Hebrew).

24 Marks. I.Z.L. and Lechi in Palestine: The Recruitment of Funds and Economic Means (1940-1948) (PhD Dissertation, Bar-Ilan University, 1994) (Hebrew).

25 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp. 4-5.

26 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp. 23-25; David Niv. Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Two (Tel-Aviv: Klausner Institute, 1975) (Hebrew), pp. 129-161.

27 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp. 23-25

28 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, p.5.

29 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948.

30 Yitzhak Alfasi. The National Military Organization Sources and Documents (Tel-Aviv: Zabotinski Institute, 1992) (Hebrew), pp.142-145)

31 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Two, pp. 28-94.

32 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, p. 5; David Niv, Battle for Freedom: The
Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three
(Tel-Aviv: Klausner Institute, 1967) (Hebrew), pp. 18-19.

33 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp. 45-47

34 David Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four (Tel-Aviv: Klausner Institute, 1973) (Hebrew), pp. 9-11.

35 “Davar” Daly newspaper, 27.1.44.

36 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, p. 6; Alfasi, 1992, pp. 141-145.

37 Alfasi, The National Military Organization Sources and Documents, pp. 141-144.

38 Josef Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949. (Jerusalem: Zalman- Shazar Center, 1989) (Hebrew).

39 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp. 244-261.

40 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp.15

41 “Davar” daly newspaper, 14.2.44; Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four, pp. 20-21.

42 “Hamaskif” newsapaper, 27.2.44.

43 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp. 45-64.

44 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four, p.201.

45 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four, pp. 266-269.

46 Kister, The National Military Organization- 1931-1948, pp.80-93

47 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp. 161-162.

48 “Ikaray Hathia – the first Lehi ideological manifest”, 1939.

49 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp. 161-164.

50 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp. 115.

51 Lehi’s political platform, 1948.

52 Heller, 1989, pp. 112; Y. Banai, Anonymous Soldiers (Tel-Aviv: Hug Yedidim, 1978) (Hebrew), pp.61-62.

53 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp. 112.

54 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, p. 112; Lehi Platform, 1948.

55 see also in Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp. 176-179.

56 undated documents of the underground movement; Heller, 1989, pp.114-120.

57 Marks, I.Z.L. and Lechi in Palestine: The Recruitment of Funds and Economic Means (1940-1948), pp. 24-28

58 Lehi’s Platform, 1948.

59 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, p.117.

60 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.173-179.

Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, p.168.

62 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp.168-172.

63 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.144-145; Niv, 1967, pp.171.

64 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp.182-184.

65 Heler, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.160-161; Niv, ttle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Three, pp.194-195.

66 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.172.

67 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp. 170-173; Lehi Platform, 1948.

68 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.173.

69 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.173.

70 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.173.

71 Yitzhak Shamir, “Why the Lechi Assassinate Lord Moyen”. The Nation, 32 (119), pp. 333-337 (Hebrew).

72 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, p.210.

73 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four, pp. 98-105.

74 Niv, Battle for Freedom: The Irgun Zvai Leumi – Part Four, pp. 98-99, 116-117.

75 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, p.301.

76 “Hamaas” bulletin, 1947.

77 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.328-329.

78 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, pp.446-447.

79 Heller, Lehi', Ideology and Politics: 1940-1949, p.459.


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