Lehi (group)

Lehi (group)

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Lehi (ˈleχi; Lohamei Herut Israel, "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel"), commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 group founded by Avraham ("Yair") Stern
Avraham Stern
Avraham Stern , alias Yair was a Jewish paramilitary leader who founded and led the militant Zionist organization later known as Lehi .-Early life:Stern was born in Suwałki, Poland...

 in the British Mandate of Palestine. Its avowed aim was forcibly evicting the British authorities from Palestine, allowing unrestricted immigration
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

 of Jew
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

s and the formation of a Jewish state.

Initially called the National Military Organization in Israel, it was the smallest and most radical of Mandatory Palestine's three Zionist paramilitary groups (Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

, Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

, and Lehi), and never had more than a few hundred members. Lehi split from the Irgun in 1940 and by 1948 was identified with both religious Zionism
Religious Zionism
Religious Zionism is an ideology that combines Zionism and Jewish religious faith...

 (although most members were not Orthodox Jews) and left-wing nationalism (despite most members wanting to remain politically unaligned).

Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, British Minister Resident in the Middle East, and made many other attacks on the British in Palestine. It was described as a terrorist organization by the British authorities. Lehi assassinated United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 mediator Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

 and was banned by the Israeli government
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 called the assassins "a criminal group of terrorists," and Lehi was similarly condemned by Bernadotte's replacement as mediator, Ralph Bunche
Ralph Bunche
Ralph Johnson Bunche or 1904December 9, 1971) was an American political scientist and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Palestine. He was the first person of color to be so honored in the history of the Prize...

. Lehi and Irgun were jointly responsible for the massacre in Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin massacre
The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Irgun Zevai Leumi and Lohamei Herut Israel Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people...

.

Israel granted a general amnesty to Lehi members on 14 February 1949. In 1980, Israel instituted a military decoration, the Lehi ribbon. Former Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 became
Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 in 1983.

Founding of Lehi



Lehi was created in June 1940, by Avraham Stern, then a member of the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 (Irgun Tsvai Leumi – "National Military Organization") high command. Zeev Jabotinsky, then the Irgun's supreme commander, had decided that diplomacy and working with Britain would best serve the Zionist cause. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was in progress, and Britain was fighting Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. The Irgun suspended its underground military activities against the British for the duration of the war.

Stern argued that the time for Zionist diplomacy was over and that it was time for armed struggle against the British. Like other Zionists, he objected to the White Paper of 1939
White Paper of 1939
The White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over it, was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate for Palestine, as recommended in...

, which restricted both Jewish immigration and Jewish land purchases in Palestine. For Stern, 'no difference existed between Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

, between Dachau or Buchenwald
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and Slovenes,...

 and sealing the gates of Eretz Israel.'

Stern wanted to open Palestine to all Jewish refugees from Europe, and considered this as by far the most important issue of the day. Britain would not allow this. Therefore, he concluded, the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

(Jews of Palestine) should fight the British rather than support them in the war. When the Irgun made a truce with the British, Stern left the Irgun to form his own group, which he called Irgun Tsvai Leumi B'Yisrael ("National Military Organization in Israel"), later Lohamei Herut Israel ("Fighters for the Freedom of Israel").

Stern and his followers believed that dying for the 'foreign occupier' who was obstructing the creation of the Jewish State was useless. They differentiated between 'enemies of the Jewish people' (the British) and 'Jew haters' (the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

), believing that the former needed to be defeated and the latter manipulated.

In 1940, the idea of the Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

 was still "unthinkable," and Stern believed that Hitler wanted to make Germany judenrein through emigration, as opposed to extermination. In December 1940, Lehi even contacted Germany with a proposal to aid German conquest in the Middle East in return for recognition of a Jewish state open to unlimited immigration.

Goals and methods


Lehi had three main goals:
  • To bring together all those interested in liberation (that is, those willing to join in active fighting against the British).
  • To appear before the world as the only active Jewish military organization.
  • To take over Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) by armed force.


Lehi believed in its early years that its goals would be achieved by finding a strong international ally that would expel the British from Palestine, in return for Jewish military help; this would require the creation of a broad and organised military force "demonstrating its desire for freedom through military operations."

Lehi also referred to themselves as 'terrorists' and may have been one of the last organizations to do so.

An article titled "Terror" in the Lehi underground newspaper He Khazit (The Front ) argued as follows:


Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat. We are very far from having any moral qualms as far as our national war goes. We have before us the command of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: "Ye shall blot them out to the last man."
But first and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier.
We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.



The article described the goals of terror:

  • It demonstrates ... against the true terrorist who hides behind his piles of papers and the laws he has legislated.
  • It is not directed against people, it is directed against representatives. Therefore it is effective.
  • If it also shakes the Yishuv
    Yishuv
    The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

    from their complacency, good and well.

Yitzhak Shamir, one of the three leaders of Lehi after Yair Stern's assassination, argued for the legitimacy of Lehi's actions:


There are those who say that to kill Martin (a British sergeant) is terrorism, but to attack an army camp is guerrilla warfare and to bomb civilians is professional warfare. But I think it is the same from the moral point of view. Is it better to drop an atomic bomb on a city than to kill a handful of persons? I don’t think so. But nobody says that President Truman was a terrorist. All the men we went for individually — Wilkin, Martin, MacMichael
Harold MacMichael
Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael, GCMG, DSO , was a British colonial administrator.-Early service:MacMichael graduated with a first from Magdalene College, Cambridge. After passing his civil service exam, he entered the service of the British Empire in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan...

 and others — were personally interested in succeeding in the fight against us.

So it was more efficient and more moral to go for selected targets. In any case, it was the only way we could operate, because we were so small. For us it was not a question of the professional honor of a soldier, it was the question of an idea, an aim that had to be achieved. We were aiming at a political goal. There are many examples of what we did to be found in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 — Gideon and Samson
Samson
Samson, Shimshon ; Shamshoun or Sampson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh ....

, for instance. This had an influence on our thinking. And we also learned from the history of other peoples who fought for their freedom — the Russian and Irish revolutionaries, Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 and Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

.

18 Principles of Rebirth


Avraham Stern laid out the ideology of Lehi in the essay 18 Principles of Rebirth:
  1. The nation: The Jewish people is a covenanted people
    Covenant (biblical)
    A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

    , the originator of monotheism
    Monotheism
    Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

    , formulator of the prophetic teachings, standard bearer of human culture, guardian of glorious patrimony. The Jewish people is schooled in self-sacrifice and suffering; its vision, survivability and faith in redemption are indestructible.
  2. The homeland: The homeland in the Land of Israel within the borders delineated in the Bible ("To your descendants, I shall give this land, from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River." Genesis 15:18) This is the land of the living, where the entire nation shall live in safety.
  3. The nation and its land: Israel conquered the land with the sword. There it became a great nation and only there it will be reborn. Hence Israel alone has a right to that land. This is an absolute right. It has never expired and never will.
  4. The Goals
    1. Redemption of the land.
    2. Establishment of sovereignty.
    3. Revival of the nation.
      There is no sovereignty without the redemption of the land, and there is no national revival without sovereignty.
    These are the goals of the organization during the period of war and conquest:
  5. Education: Educate the nation to love freedom and zealously guard Israel's eternal patrimony. Inculcate the idea that the nation is master to its own fate. Revive the doctrine that "The sword and the book came bound together from heaven." (Midrash Vayikra Rabba
    Leviticus Rabbah
    Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus . It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel in his Aruk as well as by Rashi in his commentaries on , and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon and Nissim knew and made use of it...

     35:8)
  6. Unity: The unification of the entire nation around the banner of the Hebrew freedom movement. The use of the genius, status and resources of individuals and the channeling of the energy, devotion and revolutionary fervour of the masses for the war of liberation.
  7. Pacts: Make pacts with all those who are willing to help the struggle of the organization and provide direct support.
  8. Force: Consolidate and increase the fighting force in the homeland and in the Diaspora
    Jewish diaspora
    The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

    , in the underground and in the barracks, to become the Hebrew army of liberation with its flag, arms, and commanders.
  9. War: Constant war against those who stand in the way of fulfilling the goals.
  10. Conquest: The conquest of the homeland from foreign rule and its eternal possession.
    These are the tasks of the movement during the period of sovereignty and redemption:
  11. Sovereignty: Renewal of Hebrew sovereignty over the redeemed land.
  12. Rule of justice: The establishment of a social order in the spirit of Jewish morality and prophetic justice. Under such an order no one will go hungry or unemployed. All will live in harmony, mutual respect and friendship as an example to the world.
  13. Reviving the wilderness: Build the ruins and revive the wilderness for mass immigration and population increase.
  14. Aliens: Solve the problem of alien population [i.e. the Arab
    Arab
    Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

     inhabitants of Palestine] by exchange of population.
  15. Ingathering of the exiles: Total in-gathering of the exiles
    Aliyah
    Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

     to their sovereign state.
  16. Power: The Hebrew nation shall become a first-rate military, political, cultural and economical entity in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean Sea
    Mediterranean Sea
    The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

    .
  17. Revival: The revival of the Hebrew language
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

     as a spoken language by the entire nation, the renewal of the historical and spiritual might of Israel. The purification of the national character in the fire of revival.
  18. The temple: The building of the Third Temple as a symbol of the new era of total redemption.

Relationship with fascism and socialism


Unlike the left-wing Haganah and right-wing Irgun, Lehi members were not a homogeneous collective with a single political, religious, or economic ideology. They were a combination of militants united by the goal of liberating the land of Israel from British rule. Most Lehi leaders defined their organization as an anti-imperialism movement and stated that their opposition to British colonial rule in Palestine was not based on a particular policy but rather on the presence of a foreign power over the homeland of the Jewish people. Avraham Stern defined the British Mandate as “foreign rule” regardless of British policies and took a radical position against such imperialism even if it were to be benevolent.

In the early years of the state of Israel Lehi veterans could be found supporting nearly all political parties and some Lehi leaders founded a left-wing political party called the Fighters' List
Fighters' List
The Fighters' List was a political party in Israel.-History:The Fighters' List grew out of Lehi, a militant Revisionist paramilitary organisation that operated in Palestine during the Mandate era, and in Israel until shortly after independence. Lehi was a controversial group, described by the...

 with Natan Yellin-Mor as its head. The party took part in the elections in January 1949
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

 and won a single parliamentary seat. A number of Lehi veterans established the Semitic Action
Semitic Action
Semitic Action was a small Israeli political group of the 1950s and 1960s which sought the creation of a regional federation encompassing Israel and its Arab neighbors. Created in 1956, the group's key members were Uri Avnery, Natan Yellin-Mor, and Boaz Evron, with other members including Maxim...

 movement in 1956 which sought the creation of a regional federation encompassing Israel and its Arab neighbors on the basis of an anti-colonialist alliance with other indigenous inhabitants of the Middle East.

Some writers have stated that Lehi's true goals were the creation of a totalitarian state. Perlinger and Weinberg write that the organisation's ideology placed "its world view in the quasi-fascist radical Right
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

, which is characterised 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 centralised government." Perliger and Weinberg state that most Lehi members were admirers of the Italian Fascist movement.

Others counter these claims. They note that when Lehi founder Avraham Stern went to study in fascist
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 Italy, he refused to join the "Gruppo Universitario Fascista" for foreign students, even though members got large reductions in tuition. Also, as a teenager in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Stern was a member of the Young Pioneers
Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union
The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization The Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, also Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer...

, the children's branch of the Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. While organizing for Irgun in Poland in the 1930s, Stern started a labor union organization (Histadrut) for the Tzofim Hashomer Hatzair in Suwałki, which followed the ideology of the socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 movement Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair
Hashomer Hatzair is a Socialist–Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and was also the name of the group's political party in the Yishuv in the pre-1948 British Mandate of Palestine...

, and the youth organizations Hatzofim
Hitachdut Hatsofim Ve Hatsofot Be Israel
The Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation is Israel's national Scouting organization, known in Hebrew as Tzofim. Some 90,000 boys and girls belong to Tzofim in Israel.-History:...

 and Hechalutz.
Supporting theories of Stern's progressive leanings is his comment that "We... want to establish the Kingdom of Israel and to rebuild it on the eternal foundations of Fraternity, Respect and Friendship to all the nation's sons whoever they are."

Evolution and tactics of the organization


Many Lehi combatants received professional training. Some attended the state military academy in Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome, across the Mignone river. The harbor is formed by two piers and a breakwater, on which is a lighthouse...

, in Fascist Italy.

Others received military training from instructors of the Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
Siły Zbrojne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej are the national defense forces of Poland...

 in 1938–1939. This training was conducted in Trochenbrod
Trochenbrod
Trochenbrod or Trohinbrod in Russian was a Jewish shtetl with an area once located in western Ukraine, about 30 kilometers northeast of Lutsk, the nearest now existing villages are Яромель and Клубочин ....

 (Zofiówka) in Wołyń Voivodeship, Podębin near Łódź, and the forests around Andrychów
Andrychów
Andrychów is the largest town in Wadowice County in southern Poland with 22,257 inhabitants as of 2006. It has been situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999. Previously, it was located in Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship...

. They were taught how to use explosives. One of them reported later:
Poles treated terrorism as a science. We have mastered mathematical principles of demolishing constructions made of concrete, iron, wood, bricks and dirt.


The group was initially unsuccessful. Early attempts to raise funds through criminal activities, including a bank robbery in Tel Aviv in 1940 and another robbery on 9 January 1942 in which Jewish passers-by were killed, brought about the temporary collapse of the group. An attempt to assassinate the head of the British secret police in Lod in which three police personnel were killed, two Jewish and one British, elicited a severe response from the British and Jewish establishments who collaborated against Lehi.
Stern's group was seen as a terrorist organisation by the British authorities, who instructed the Defence Security Office (the colonial branch of MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

) to track down its leaders. In 1942, Stern, after he was arrested, was shot dead in disputed circumstances by Inspector Geoffrey Morton  of the CID. The arrest of several other members led momentarily to the group's eclipse, until it was revived after the September 1942 escape of two of its leaders, Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 and Eliyahu Giladi, aided by two other escapees Natan Yellin-Mor (Friedman) and Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad , was a noted Israeli independence fighter and Revisionist Zionist philosopher...

 (Sheib). (Giladi was later killed by Lehi under circumstances that remain mysterious.) Shamir's codename was "Michael", a reference to one of Shamir's heroes, Michael Collins
Michael Collins (Irish leader)
Michael "Mick" Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the...

. Lehi was guided by spiritual and philosophical leaders such as Uri Zvi Greenberg
Uri Zvi Greenberg
Uri Zvi Grinberg was an acclaimed Israeli poet and journalist who wrote in Yiddish and Hebrew.-Biography:Uri Zvi Grinberg was born in Bialikamin, Galicia, then Austria-Hungary, into a prominent Hasidic family. He was raised in Lemberg . Some of his poems in Yiddish and Hebrew were published...

 and Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad , was a noted Israeli independence fighter and Revisionist Zionist philosopher...

. After the killing of Giladi, the organization was led by a triumvirate of Eldad, Shamir, and Yellin-Mor.

Lehi adopted a non-socialist platform of Anti-Imperialist
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 ideology. It viewed the continued British rule of Palestine as a violation of the Mandate's provision generally, and its restrictions on Jewish immigration to be an intolerable breach of international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

. However they also targeted Jews whom they regarded as traitors, and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War they joined in operations with the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 and Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 against Arab targets, for example Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin was a Palestinian Arab village of around 600 people near Jerusalem. It had declared its neutrality during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine between Arabs and Jews...

.

According to a compilation by Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Lehi was responsible for 42 assassinations, more than twice as many as the Irgun and Haganah combined during the same period. Of those Lehi assassinations that Ben-Yehuda classified as political, more than half the victims were Jews.

Lehi also rejected the authority of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel , also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora into the state of Israel.-History:...

 and related organizations, operating entirely on its own throughout nearly all of its existence.

Lehi prisoners captured by the British generally refused to present a defence when brought to trial. They would only read out statements in which they declared that the court, representing an occupying force, had no jurisdiction over them and therefore was illegal. For the same reason, Lehi prisoners refused to plead for amnesty, even when it was clear that this would have spared them the death penalty. In one case Moshe Barazani
Moshe Barazani
Moshe Barazani, also Barzani , was an Iraqi Kurdish Jew and a member of Lehi . He was born in Baghdad to a Jewish family from Northern Iraq that moved to Jerusalem when he was an infant. He joined Lehi at an early age and took part in sabotage operations...

, a Lehi member, and Meir Feinstein
Meir Feinstein
Meir Feinstein was born in the Old City of Jerusalem. His parents, Bela and Eliezer, immigrated from Brisk. He was an Irgun operative who lost an arm on Oct. 30, 1946 while planting an Improvised Explosive Device in the railway station in Jerusalem, and was subsequently captured and sentenced to...

, an Irgun member, committed suicide in prison with a grenade smuggled inside an orange so the British could not hang them.

Contact with Nazi Germany


In 1940, Lehi proposed intervening in World War II on the side of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. It offered assistance in transferring the Jews of Europe to Palestine, in return for Germany's help in expelling Britain from Mandatory Palestine. Late in 1940, Lehi representative Naftali Lubenchik went to Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 to meet German official Werner Otto von Hentig
Werner Otto von Hentig
Werner Otto von Hentig was a German diplomat from Berlin. He was the elder brother of criminal psychologist Hans von Hentig and the father of Hartmut von Hentig....

 (who also was involved with the Haavara or Transfer Agreement
Haavara Agreement
The Haavara Agreement was signed on 25 August 1933 after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany , the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany...

, which had been transferring German Jews and their funds to Palestine since 1933). Lubenchik told von Hentig that Lehi had not yet revealed its full power and that they were capable of organizing a whole range of anti-British operations.

On the assumption that the destruction of Britain was the Germans' top objective, the organization offered cooperation in the following terms. Lehi would support sabotage and espionage operations in the Middle East and in eastern Europe anywhere where they had cells. Germany would recognize an independent Jewish state in Palestine/Eretz Israel, and all Jews leaving their homes in Europe, by their own will or because of government injunctions, could enter Palestine with no restriction of numbers. Stern also proposed to recruit some 40,000 Jews from occupied Europe to invade Palestine with German support to oust the British.

On 11 January 1941, Vice Admiral Ralf von der Marwitz, the German Naval attaché
Attaché
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

 in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, filed a report (the "Ankara document") conveying an offer by Lehi to "actively take part in the war on Germany's side" in return for German support for "the establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich."

The offer may have been conveyed orally to von der Marwitz by von Hentig, who was delayed in Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

 en route to Germany. It is also suggested that the supposed offer was proposed by an officer in the intelligence service of Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, General Colombani, who is mentioned in the document. Colombani was at odds with other French officials in Syria, as noted by von der Marwitz; he wrote "Colombani is of the opinion that his return to France is a consequence of co-operation of Conti with Minister Pierroton." It is also possible that Colombani wanted to sabotage any possible German-Lehi deal: he had collaborated with the Mufti of Jerusalem
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot...

 in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 in 1938–1939, and in 1939 escorted the Mufti through Syria to Iraq.

Von der Marwitz delivered the offer, classified as secret, to the German Ambassador in Turkey and on 21 January 1941 it was sent to Berlin. There was never any response.

This proposed alliance with Nazi Germany cost Lehi and Stern much support.

Later history


As a group that never had over a few hundred members, Lehi relied on audacious but small-scale operations to bring their message home. They adopted the tactics of groups such as the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party
Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party
The Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party , also translated as Fighting Organization of the Polish Socialist Party; also known as bojówki ; Organizacja Spiskowo-Bojowa PPS ; Koła Bojowe Samoobrony Robotniczej and Koła Techniczno-Bojowe The Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist...

 in Czarist Russia, and the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

, which had overcome Britain to gain Ireland's independence. To this end, Lehi conducted small-scale operations such as assassinations of British soldiers and police officers and Jewish "collaborators." Another strategy, adopted in 1946, was to send bombs in the mail to many British politicians. Other actions included sabotaging infrastructure targets: bridges, railroads, and oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 refineries. Lehi financed their operations from private donations, extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, and bank robbery
Bank robbery
Bank robbery is the crime of stealing from a bank during opening hours. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, robbery is "the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of...

.

Assassination of Lord Moyne



On 6 November 1944, Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East, in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. Moyne was the highest ranking British official in the region. Yitzhak Shamir claimed later that Moyne was assassinated because of his support for a Middle Eastern Arab Federation and anti-Semitic lectures in which Arabs were held to be racially superior to Jews. The assassination rocked the British government, and outraged Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, the British Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

. The two assassins, Eliahu Bet-Zouri and Eliahu Hakim were captured and used their trial as a platform to make public their political propaganda. They were executed. In 1975 their bodies were returned to Israel and given a state funeral. In 1982, postage stamps were issued for 20 Olei Hagardom
Olei Hagardom
Olei Hagardom refers to members of the pre-state Jewish underground who were tried in British Mandate courts and sentenced to death by hanging, most of them in Acre prison...

, including Bet-Zouri and Hakim, in a souvenir sheet called "Martyrs of the struggle for Israel's independence."

British police station in Haifa


On 12 January 1947, Lehi members drove a truckload of explosives into a British police station in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 killing four and injuring 140.

Death threat against Hugh Trevor-Roper


Shortly after the 1947 publication of The Last Days of Hitler, Lehi issued a death threat against the author, Hugh Trevor-Roper, for his portrayal of Hitler, feeling that Trevor-Roper had attempted to exonerate the German populace from responsibility.

Cairo-Haifa train bombings



During the lead-up to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Lehi mined the Cairo-Haifa train several times. On 29 February 1948, Lehi mined the train north of Rehovot
Rehovot
Rehovot is a city in the Center District of Israel, about south of Tel Aviv. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 112,700. Rehovot's official website estimates the population at 114,000.Rehovot was built on the site of Doron,...

, killing 28 soldiers and wounding 35. On 31 March, Lehi mined the train near Binyamina, killing 40 civilians and wounding 60.

Deir Yassin massacre



One of the most widely known acts of Lehi was the attack on the Palestinian-Arab village of Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin
Deir Yassin was a Palestinian Arab village of around 600 people near Jerusalem. It had declared its neutrality during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine between Arabs and Jews...

.

In the months before up to the British evacuation from Palestine, the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

-sponsored Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 (ALA) occupied several strategic points along the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, cutting off supplies to the Jewish part of Jerusalem. One of these points was Deir Yassin. By March 1948, the road was cut off and Jewish Jerusalem was under siege. The Haganah launched Operation Nachshon
Operation Nachshon
Operation Nachshon was an Jewish military operation during the 1948 war. Lasting from 5–20 April 1948, its objective was to break the Siege of Jerusalem by opening the Tel-Aviv - Jerusalem road blockaded by Palestinian Arabs and to supply food and weapons to the isolated Jewish community of...

 to break the siege.

On 6 April, the Haganah attacked al-Qastal
Al-Qastal
Al-Qastal was a Palestinian village that was depopulated in the lead up the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.- History :Under the name of Belveer or Beauverium, Qastal belonged to the Hospitalers by c. 1168 and was listed amongst the castles supposedly destroyed by al-Adil in 1191–2...

, a village two kilometers north of Deir Yassin, also overlooking the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road.

Then on 9 April 1948, about 120 Lehi and Irgun fighters, acting in cooperation with the Haganah, attacked and captured Deir Yassin. The attack was at night, the fighting was confused, and many civilian inhabitants of the village were killed. This action had great consequences for the war, and remains a cause celebre for Palestinians ever since.

Exactly what happened has never been established clearly. The Arab League reported a great massacre: 254 killed, with rape and lurid mutilations. Israeli investigations claimed the actual number of dead was between 100 and 120, and there were no mass rapes, but most of the dead were civilians, and admitted some were killed deliberately. Lehi and Irgun both denied an organized massacre. Accounts by Lehi veterans such as Ezra Yakhin note that many of the attackers were killed or wounded, assert that Arabs fired from every building and that Iraqi and Syrian soldiers were among the dead, and even that some Arab fighters dressed as women.

However, Jewish authorities, including Haganah, the Chief Rabbinate, the Jewish Agency, and David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, also condemned the attack, lending credence to the charge of massacre. The Jewish Agency even sent a letter of condemnation, apology, and condolence to King Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

.

Both the Arab reports and Jewish responses had hidden motives: the Arab leaders wanted to encourage Palestinian Arabs to fight rather than surrender, to discredit the Zionists with international opinion, and to increase popular support in their countries for an invasion of Palestine. The Jewish leaders wanted to discredit Irgun and Lehi.

Ironically, the Arab reports backfired in one respect: frightened Palestinian Arabs did not surrender, but did not fight either – they fled
1948 Palestinian exodus
The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

, allowing Israel to gain much territory with little fighting and also without absorbing many Arabs."the most important immediate effect of the atrocity and the media campaign that followed it was how one started to report the fear felt in Palestinian Arab towns and villages, and, later, the panicked fleeing from them."

Lehi similarly interpreted events at Deir Yassin as turning the tide of war in favor of the Jews. Lehi leader Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad , was a noted Israeli independence fighter and Revisionist Zionist philosopher...

 later wrote in his memoirs from the underground period that “without Deir Yassin the State of Israel could never have been established.”

The Deir Yassin story did not much sway international opinion. It did increase not only support but pressure on Arab governments to intervene, notably Abdullah of Jordan, who was now compelled to join the invasion of Palestine after Israel's declaration of independence on 14 May.

Dissolution


The conflict between Lehi and mainstream Jewish and subsequently Israeli organizations came to an end when Lehi was formally dissolved and integrated into the Israeli Defense Forces on 31 May 1948, its leaders getting amnesty from prosecution or reprisals as part of the integration.

Assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte




Although Lehi had stopped operating nationally after May 1948, the group continued to function in Jerusalem. On 17 September 1948, Lehi assassinated UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

. The assassination was directed by Yehoshua Zettler
Yehoshua Zettler
Yehoshua Zettler was an Israeli who served as the Jerusalem commander of Jewish paramilitary group Lehi, often also called as the Stern gang...

 and carried out by a four-man team led by Meshulam Makover. The fatal shots were fired by Yehoshua Cohen
Yehoshua Cohen
thumb|Yehoshua Cohen on the left, with David TovyahuYehoshua Cohen was a leading member of Lehi, a Zionist militant group, who fired the fatal shots in the assassination of United Nations envoy Folke Bernadotte on September 17, 1948...

.

Three days after the assassination, the Israeli government passed the Ordinance to Prevent Terrorism and declared Lehi to be a terrorist organization. Many Lehi members were arrested, including leaders Nathan Yellin-Mor
Nathan Yellin-Mor
Nathan Yellin-Mor was a Revisionist Zionist activist, Lehi leader and Israeli politician. In his later years, he became a radical pacifist who supported negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and big concessions in the Israeli-Arab conflict....

 and Matitiahu Schmulevitz who were arrested on 29 September. Eldad and Shamir managed to escape arrest. Yellin-Mor and Schmulevitz were charged with leadership of a terrorist organization and on 10 February 1949 were sentenced to 8 years and 5 years imprisonment, respectively. However the State (Temporary) Council soon announced a general amnesty for Lehi members and they were released.

Lehi in politics


Some of the Lehi leadership founded a left-wing political party called the Fighters' List
Fighters' List
The Fighters' List was a political party in Israel.-History:The Fighters' List grew out of Lehi, a militant Revisionist paramilitary organisation that operated in Palestine during the Mandate era, and in Israel until shortly after independence. Lehi was a controversial group, described by the...

 with the jailed Yellin-Mor as its head. The party took part in the elections in January 1949
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

 and won one seat. Thanks to a general amnesty for Lehi members granted on 14 February 1949, Yellin-Mor was released from prison to take up his place in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

. However, the party disbanded after failing to win a seat in the 1951 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1951
Elections for the second Knesset were held in Israel on 30 July 1951. Voter turnout was 75.1%.-Results:¹ Rostam Bastuni, Avraham Berman and Moshe Sneh left Mapam and set up the Left Faction. Bastuni later returned to Mapam whilst Berman and Sneh joined Maki. Hannah Lamdan and David Livschitz left...

.

In 1956, some Lehi veterans established the Semitic Action
Semitic Action
Semitic Action was a small Israeli political group of the 1950s and 1960s which sought the creation of a regional federation encompassing Israel and its Arab neighbors. Created in 1956, the group's key members were Uri Avnery, Natan Yellin-Mor, and Boaz Evron, with other members including Maxim...

 movement, which sought the creation of a regional federation encompassing Israel and its Arab neighbors on the basis of an anti-colonialist alliance with other indigenous inhabitants of the Middle East.

Not all Lehi alumni gave up political violence
Political violence
Political violence is a common means used by people and governments around the world to achieve political goals. Many groups and individuals believe that their political systems will never respond to their political demands. As a result they believe that violence is not only justified but also...

 after independence: former members were involved in the activities of the Kingdom of Israel
Kingdom of Israel (group)
The Kingdom of Israel , or Tzrifin Underground, was a violent political group active in Israel in the 1950s."Kingdom of Israel," was the name used by the group's members but it was better known to the Israeli public as the "Tzrifin Underground", after the Tzrifin military base, where its members...

 militant group, the 1957 assassination of Rudolf Kastner
Rudolf Kastner
Rudolf Israel Kastner was a Jewish-Hungarian journalist and lawyer who became known for facilitating the departure of Jews out of Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust...

, and likely the 1952 attempted assassination of David-Zvi Pinkas
David-Zvi Pinkas
David-Zvi Pinkas was a Zionist activist and Israeli politician. A signatory of the Israeli declaration of independence, he was the country's third Minister of Transport.-Biography:...

.


Service ribbon


In 1980, Israel instituted the Lehi ribbon, red, black, grey, pale blue and white, which is awarded to former members of the Lehi underground who wished to carry it, "for military service towards the establishment of the State of Israel".

The Lehi anthem "Unknown Soldiers"


The lyrics of "Unknown Soldiers" were written by Avraham Stern. This was one of the first songs written by Stern. He composed the song together with his wife Roni. The song became the anthem of the Irgun and remained so until 1940 when Lehi broke off. The song expresses an unlimited willingness to sacrifice. The anthem is sung by veteran members of the group in gatherings as well as by some political groups from time to time, from both ends of the political map.

Full text of the song :
First stanza

חיילים אלמונים הננו, בלי מדים,

וסביבנו אימה וצלמוות.

כולנו גויסנו לכל החיים:.

משורה משחרר רק המוות.,

Unknown Soldiers are we, without uniform

And around us fear and the shadow of death

We have all been drafted for life.

Only death will discharge us from [our] ranks,
Refrain

בימים אדומים של פרעות ודמים,

בלילות השחורים של ייאוש.,

בערים ובכפרים את דגלנו נרים,.

ועליו: הגנה וכיבוש

On red days of riots and blood

In the dark nights of despair

In towns and villages shall we raise our banner

On which are inscribed defence and conquest
Second Stanza

לא גויסנו בשוט כהמון עבדים,

כדי לשפוך בנכר את דמנו.,

רצוננו להיות לעולם בני חורין,.

חלומנו למות בעד ארצנו

We were not drafted by the whip, like a mob of slaves

To shed our blood in foreign lands

Our will is to be forever free

Our dream – to die for our country
Third Stanza

ומכל עברים רבבות מכשולים ,

שם גורל אכזרי על דרכנו,

אך אויבים, מרגלים ובתי אסורים,.

לא יוכלו לעצור בעדנו

From all directions, tens of thousands of obstacles

Cruel fate has placed on our path

But enemies, spies and prison houses

Will never be able to stop us
Fourth Stanza

ואם אנחנו ניפול ברחובות, בבתים ,

יקברונו בלילה בלאט,

במקומנו יבואו אלפי אחרים

להגן ולשמור עדי עד

And if we fall in the streets and homes

We will be buried silently in the night

Thousands of others will fill our places

To protect and defend forever
Fifth Stanza

בדמעות אימהות שכולות מבנים ,

ובדם תינוקות טהורים ,

כמו במלט נדביק הגופות ללבנים

את בניין המולדת נקים

With the tears of bereaved mothers

And the blood of pure babies

Like mortar shall we put together the cadaver building blocks

The edifice of the homeland shall we raise

Prominent members of Lehi


A number of Lehi's members went on to play important roles in Israel's public life.
  • Geula Cohen
    Geula Cohen
    Geulah Cohen is an Israeli former Irgun and Lehi member, politician, and journalist.-Biography:Geulah Cohen was born in Tel Aviv during the British Mandate of Palestine...

    , member of the Knesset
  • Israel Eldad
    Israel Eldad
    Israel Eldad , was a noted Israeli independence fighter and Revisionist Zionist philosopher...

    , leader in the Israeli national camp
  • Boaz Evron
    Boaz Evron
    Boaz Evron is a left-wing Israeli journalist and critic. Evron was born in Jerusalem and attended Herzliya Hebrew High School and Hebrew University. Evron's family had lived in Palestine since the early nineteenth century; he is the great-grandson of Yoel Moshe Salomon, one of the founders of...

    , left-wing journalist
  • Maxim Ghilan
    Maxim Ghilan
    Maxim Ghilan was the director of the International Jewish Peace Union, the first Jewish organization to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as a partner in dialogue. He was the co-founder, in 1971, of the periodical Israel and Palestine Political Report.-Early life:Ghilan was born in...

    , Israeli journalist, author and peace activist
  • Uri Zvi Greenberg
    Uri Zvi Greenberg
    Uri Zvi Grinberg was an acclaimed Israeli poet and journalist who wrote in Yiddish and Hebrew.-Biography:Uri Zvi Grinberg was born in Bialikamin, Galicia, then Austria-Hungary, into a prominent Hasidic family. He was raised in Lemberg . Some of his poems in Yiddish and Hebrew were published...

  • Amos Kenan, writer
  • Baruch Korff
    Baruch Korff
    Baruch Korff was a longtime Jewish community activist. He was politically close to Richard Nixon, and was known as "Nixon's rabbi."-Early years:Korff was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the United States in 1926...

  • Yitzhak Shamir
    Yitzhak Shamir
    ' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

    , Israeli prime minister 1983–1984 and 1986–1992.
  • Shimon Tzabar
    Shimon Tzabar
    Shimon Tzabar was a member of the editorial board of . He described himself as a "Hebrew-speaking Palestinian".The son of poultry vendors, he was educated at a religious school...

  • Natan Yellin-Mor, member of the Knesset 1949–1951, leftist advocate of peace with Arabs.

See also

  • Roy Farran
    Roy Farran
    Major Roy Alexander Farran DSO, MC & Two Bars was a British-Canadian soldier, politician, farmer, author and journalist...

    , letter bomb incident
  • Hamaas
    Hamaas
    Hamaas was a publication of the Lehi, an armed Zionist militant group in Mandate Palestine.The publication first came to public attention in July 1946 after the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry and a British Colonial Office White Paper identified an article in the second issue...

    , an official publication of the Lehi.

External links