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April 15, 1988 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-15

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

LIFE IN ISRAEL

HERB'S RELIABLE SERVICE

BUMP & PAINT

AUTO RUST REPAIRS
BUMPING & PAINTING

— Same Location Since 1972 —

SHOP 493-0212

HOME 356-3677

Specializing in Mercedes Benz
Excellent Color Matching
Herb's "Heimish" About Your Car
Insurance & Fleet
Same Day Fender Bender Service

The Haganah: A Ragtag Band
That Fought For Independence

YAAKOV BAR-NATAN

erusalem — No one in
the British high com-
mand in 1947 Palestine
expected the Jews to survive
the coming onslaught of the
Arab armies. Experienced
British officers, veterans of
the Second World War, hand-
ed over fortresses and strong
points to Fawzi Bey's "Army
of National Salvation," on the
assumption that the Jews
were bound to lose anyway, so
there was no point in an-
tagonizing the Arabs. All the
experts underestimated the
Haganah, the Jewish
underground, which looked,
even to its own leaders, like a
ragtag collection of partisans.
The Haganah (Hebrew for
"defense") was a volunteer
territorial force set up in the
interwar period for the pur-
pose of defending the Jewish
settlements against attacks
from Arab irregulars. Al-
though the Haganah was an
illegal organization, many of
its members acquired mili-
tary training legally in the
British auxiliary police force.
At first, the Haganah's tac-
tics were purely defensive, but
these were found to be inade-
quate during the Arab revolt
of 1936-1939, and in 1937,
elite mobile forces were form-
ed by one of the Haganah's
leaders, Yitzhak Sadeh, and
by a sympathetic British of-
ficer, Captain Charles Orde
Wingate.
Sadeh's field companies and
Wingate's special night
squads struck at the
marauders in their bases, and
were the forerunners of the
Palmach, the shock troops of
the Haganah, which were to
bear the brunt of the most bit-
ter fighting in the 1948 War
of Independence.
From a military point of
view, the Arab revolt was a
total failure, but it did induce
the British to impose restric-
tions on Jewish immigration
and on Jewish acquisition of
land. lb fight these restric-
tions, the elected leadership
of the Jews in Palestine
organized illegal immigra-
tion, by land and sea, and the
establishment of new set-
tlements by the "tower and
stockage" method. It was the
Haganah which smuggled in
the immigrants, and set up
the new villages — often in a
single night.
At the outbreak of the Se-
cond World War, British forces
in Palestine invaded Lebanon
and Syria, which were held by

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Come Celebrate
Israel's 40th Anniversary
at Gallery Yakir

Sunday, April 24; 12 noon-5 p.m.

Featuring:

"Three Generations of Israeli Art"

Aharon Bezalel
sculpture
Farideh
oil
Gabi Klasmer
oil
Benjamin Levy
silkscreen
Erella Lustig
glass

Avraham Mande-el
watercolor
Joyce Schmidt
paper
Avraham Yakin
watercolor
Hannah Yaki
etching
Joseph Zaritsky
silkscreen

SHOW CONTINUES THROUGH MAY 8th

29080 Inkster, Southfield, MI

gallery yakir

(Second House North of 12 Mile)

OPEN SUN. - THURS. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

38

FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 1988

FINE ISRAELI ART

352-4290

Israeli soldiers in training: The Haganah was one of three underground
groups to form the Israel Defense Forces.

the Vichy French. In this
operation, the British used
the Palmach for recon-
naissance and for sabotage
behind enemy lines. The
British also recruited 250
Jewish volunteers to be para-
chuted into occupied Europe
as intelligence agents, or to
serve with the partisans as
wireless operators. In actuali-
ty, only 32 were dropped —
in the Balkans, Rumania and
Hungary. Seven (two of them
women) were captured by the
Germans and executed.
In 1942, when the German
armies in Russia were advan-
cing toward the Caucasus,
and Field Marshal Erwin
Rommel had entered the
Western Desert, there was a
real fear that the Nazis might
capture Palestine. With this
possibility in view, the British
army trained the Palmach in
sabotage, in order to make life
difficult for the Germans.
The Haganah, however, had
its own plan for a last stand
against the Nazis. It intend-
ed to gather the entire Jewish
population into the hill coun-
try of Galilee, where it would
be difficult for Rommel's
tanks to maneuver, and to
mine the roads.
After Rommel's defeat at
El-Alemein, the British show-
ed less interest in training
the Jews. Many Jews in Pal-
estine were eager to volun-
teer for the British army, and
40,000 were, in fact, accepted.
The training and experience
they acquired proved invalu-
able in the coming struggle
with the Arabs.
Throughout the Second
World War, the Haganah
tried to help Jews to escape
from Europe, but with little
success. After the defeat of
Nazi Germany, the Haganah
launched a major drive to
bring the survivors of the

Holocaust to Eretz Yisrael, in
defiance of the British naval
blockade. lb organize im-
migration, the Haganah set
up an intelligence agency,
Mossad Le-Aliyah Bet.
As the Second World War
neared its end, the Haganah
began a concerted effort to
force the British to leave
Palestine. They established
new settlements and occa-
sionally sabotaged the rail-
ways, bridges and British
coastal radar stations used for
detecting immigrant ships.
The Arab onslaught on the
Jewish towns and settlements
began in 1947, before the
withdrawal of the British.
The Arab irregulars, headed
by the Grand Mufti of
Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-
Husseini, were aided by vol-
unteers from Egypt and
Syria, the Moslem Brother-
hood and the Army of Nation-
al Salvation, led by the
former Syrian officer Fawzi
el-Kaoukji (Fawzi Bey). Their
method was to attack isolated
settlements and to ambush
Jewish traffic on the roads,
with the aim of starving
Jewish towns and villages in-
to surender.
At first, they succeeded in
cutting off Tel Aviv from
Haifa, and laying siege to
Jerusalem and to many set-
tlements. The dangerous and
costly task of escorting con-
voys on the roads fell to the
Haganah. When this ap-
proach proved insufficient,
the Palmach and the other
brigades of the Haganah set
about capturing Arab posi-
tions along the roads, with
the aim of lifting the
blockades.
By May 1948, the coastal
plain had been secured,
Kaoukji had been defeated in
Galilee, much of the Negev
was in Jewish hands.

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