web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


1,000 Jews Vs. The British Empire: The Story Of Lehi: An Interview with Historian Zev Golan

Historian Zev Golan

Historian Zev Golan

The Irgun is famous; Lehi – the other Jewish underground that fought the British in the 1940s – less so. With only 1,000 fighters, as opposed to the Irgun’s 5,000, Lehi is sometimes thought of as the Irgun’s “kid brother.”

Yet Lehi possesses a history of its own. Founded in 1940 by Abraham Stern, Lehi devoted itself to an uncompromising war against Great Britain. Unlike the Irgun, Lehi fought the British throughout World War II, and while the Irgun generally gave the British time to evacuate buildings before it blew them up, Lehi did not.

Lehi’s goals were no less radical than its deeds. In its 18 “Principles of Rebirth,” Lehi called for conquering all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (the Irgun “only” called for conquering both banks of the Jordan), as well as rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash.

A new book by Zev Golan, Stern: The Man and his Gang (Yair Publishing), relates the history and ideology of this unusual group while also profiling some of its more famous members. Golan has authored five previous books and, from 1992-2003, directed the Israel office of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.

The Jewish Press: For those unfamiliar with Lehi’s activities, can you recount some of the group’s more famous exploits?

Golan: Perhaps their most famous exploit, if you can call it that, is the assassination of Lord Moyne in Egypt. Lord Moyne was the highest British politician in the Middle East, and it was his decision not to save the Jews of Hungary. He said to the messenger who came to him with plans to save them, “What would I do with a million Jews? Where would I put them?”

Lehi didn’t know about that at the time – it was only revealed 15 years later – but Lehi did know that Lord Moyne was the highest British politician in the Middle East and responsible, therefore, for closing the gates of the homeland to Jews trying to get in [during the Holocaust]. So they assassinated him.

Another thing Lehi is famous for is its conduct in British courtrooms. Lehi’s fighters were the first to turn these courtrooms into a battlefield. Starting in 1944, when they were put on trial, they refused to recognize the court’s authority. Instead of claiming they were innocent, they said, “Yes, we carried arms, and we’re going to fight you and throw you out of the country.”

This changed the attitude of a lot of people in Eretz Yisrael in the 1940s from the idea that “We have to bow down to a foreign power” to “What are they doing in our country? We’re the descendants of King David; this was his country, and we have a right to be here – not them.”

What about Lehi’s assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte in September 1948?

That is perhaps Lehi’s second most famous action. It also was its last.

Bernadotte had been appointed by the UN to negotiate peace in Eretz Yisrael, and he decided to come with his own plan that he would force upon the parties. His plan took not only Yerushalayim but also large portions of the country that the UN had originally designated to be part of Israel, and gave them to the Arabs. He even wanted to ensure that no Jew of military age would enter the country, and intended to station agents at airports and seaports around the world for that purpose.

Lehi held a rally at which they said, “Leave the country, you’re not wanted here.” Bernadotte didn’t listen, so a group of Lehi members assassinated him. That ended the Bernadotte plan, but it also ended Lehi because Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used the attack as an excuse to arrest most of its members.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “1,000 Jews Vs. The British Empire: The Story Of Lehi: An Interview with Historian Zev Golan”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Harvey Rachlin

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Marc Shapiro

In his day, Rav Kook was the greatest writer of haskamot and pretty much everyone in the Lithuanian Torah world wanted his approbation.

But on the human level, public protest played a very central role. And that’s not my position – it’s the position of historians who are experts in this area.

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

Israel is not the only issue that has drawn Jews closer to conservative Christians in recent decades. The culture wars have played a significant role as well.

What books might people be surprised to find on your bookshelves?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/1000-jews-vs-the-british-empire-the-story-of-lehi-an-interview-with-historian-zev-golan/2011/11/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: