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

Historian Zev Golan

Historian Zev Golan

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You also argue that the Lehi mindset has implications for 2011.

Well, for instance, the Jewish people and the Jewish state should not be dependent on other states. We need to be truly free and in charge of our own destiny. Therefore, we would not want foreign aid supporting Israel. We would not want foreign governments giving the Israeli government charity.  We would want Israel to stand on its own legs.

We also would not want Israel to turn to other countries and say: “Solve our problems for us, worry about Iran for us, worry about Hamas for us.” Rather, we would take care of our own problems and decide what our destiny is by ourselves.

You also mention a group in the book, the Zionist Freedom Alliance, which you write has adopted many of Abrahams Stern’s ideas. This group, among other things, opposes Israel’s security wall, which many right-wingers support. Why would an organization following in Stern’s tradition oppose this wall?

It’s dividing the homeland. Dividing the land or living behind a wall for protection is returning us to the ghetto. It’s not returning us to sovereignty in our land.

Lehi founder Abraham Stern

But many people argue that the wall saves Jewish lives.

Beating the enemy would also save Jewish lives.

Many of these ideas – inspired by Stern – sound “harsh” or “extreme” to many people, and yet you write in the book that Stern was a very calm and gentle person by nature.

It has been said that to see injustice and not scream or do anything is a crime. I met many Lehi members later in their lives. Rav Segal, for instance, was always calm. He never ever got angry. Stern is described by many as never raising his voice. He was a student of Latin and Greek literature in Hebrew University.

These people saw millions of Jews who were going to be killed or, later, who were actually being killed in Europe. They also saw their homeland being occupied by an enemy that was determined to let, or help, these Jews die. They also saw this enemy determined to imprison the Jewish people for years to come in the future. And so they were forced in their minds to become revolutionaries.

The alternative, as they saw it, was death – death for themselves, their relatives, and their nation.

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About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and holds a Masters degree from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies.


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