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May 06, 1983 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-05-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Herzog and the 1948 Battle for Jerusalem


The Jewish News Special ,
Israel Correspondent

TEL AVIV — "It was on a
Friday, May 14, 1948. This
day I shall never forget. Not
only because of the historic
moment, but also because of
my dramatic mission."
During the last six
months of the British Man-
date in Eretz Israel, Chaim
Herzog, now the president
of Israel, headed the Secu-
rity Department of the
Jewish Agency. He was not
only responsible for the
Jewish fighters in the set-
tlements, but served also as
liaison officer to the British
Military and Police Forces.
He also made contact
with the United Nations
representatives who came
to Eretz Israel and were
boycotted by the British and
It was in the days of the
siege of Jerusalem. His
wife Ora was active in the
Hagana, defending the
city, and was wounded
by a bullet. She spent
several weeks in the
Bikur Holim Hospital in
Jerusalem until she re-
In the days before the
British were due to leave
Eretz Israel, Herzog
planned with the Hagana
command to take over the
British bases and strategic
buildings in Jerusalem.
On Friday, May 14, the
last British High Commis-
sioner left Jerusalem, went

Kalandie, flew from there to
Haifa, and left Israel on
board a ship.
During this time heavy
fighting broke out in
Jerusalem. The Hagana
fighters succeeded in oc-
cupying nearly all the
British positions. The com-
mander of the Hagana
the Jerusalem area, David
Shaltiel, called Herzog and
asked him to appeal to the
UNO through the consuls
general of America, France
and Belgium in Jerusalem,
to exert their influence on
the Arabs to cease shelling
the Holy City.

Endangering his life,
Herzog went in a Jewish
Agency car through a
hail of Arab sniper fire to
meet the consuls. His
driver was hit by a bullet
in the head; but he con-
tinued to drive until he
reached the residence of
the French Consul Gen-
eral. Herzog met the
three consuls and the
Danish representative of
the UNO. In the building
he found several Jews
who were French citizens
looking for a way to leave
The French Consul had
nine children. He was
known as an anti-Semite
who was sympathetic with
the Arabs and did not cease
to instigate against Jews.
In the building were 60
persons. They sat on the

floor. Sitting on the floor,
Herzog talked to the con-
suls, who were ordered by
the UNO to intervene in the
The base of the Arab
commander was in the col-
lege near Notre Dame
Church. The consuls made
contact by telephone with
him and with the comman-
der of the Hagana, David
Shaltiel. During the talks
with the Arab commander
the building shook from
Arab shelling. Six people in
the building were wounded.
The French Consul was
very nervous and uttered
anti-Semitic remarks. Her-
zog answered him calmly,
saying he should curse the
Arabs who were shelling
the building. A Norwegian
officer went out see from
which direction the shells
came. He returned and told
the French Consul that the
shells were coming from the
Arab side.
The wife of the consul
served lunch and included
Herzog did not know
how the fighting was go-
ing, but he knew that at 4
p.m. the establishment of
a Jewish state would be
proclaimed. He got up
and said to the French
Consul: "His Excellency,

' P:64



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Bar-Ilan U.
Cites Two Profs.

RAMAT GAN — Bar Ilan
University conferred hon-
orary doctorates on Prof.
Nehama Leibowitz and
Prof. Andre Neher last
month in honor of their con-
tributions in the fields of
Jewish study and Jewish
philosophy, respectively.



The cornerstone -was laid
this week for an educational
complex named after
soldier-statesman Yigal Al-
The center will serve Is-
raeli soldiers by providing
supplementary basic educa-
tion for those from disad-
vantaged backgrounds. Lo-
cated in upper Nazareth in
the Galilee, the center will
contain several schools and
sports facilities.

:4 41


you should know that
from this minute on I am
the representative of an
independent Jewish
The Consul was furious
and was going to say some-
thing unpleasant, but he
knew that in front of him
was a diplomatic represen-
tative whose exterritorial
rights had to be preserved.
He changed his attitude
towards Herzog.
At dark, Herzog left the
building. No cease-fire was
reached, but Herzog
achieved an agreement for
evacuating the wounded Is-
raeli fighters. Herzog
reached the Israeli lines and
went to the Van Leer Insti-
tute, where the Jewish
fighters received medical
aid. At 10 p.m. he arrived
A few days later he joined
the 7th Military Unit as the
pilot of a small Piper

New Complex
for Soldiers

• 7 1

Friday, May 6, 1983 21




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