An excellent historical record of the IRGUN. A right-wing component of the Likud Party with a controversial history. A key book to understanding the formation of the IRGUN and the blood sweat and tears that went into the establishment and protection of the Jewish Homeland.
Founded in 1931 after the British mandate of Palestine this ersatz guerilla/political group of men facilitated the immigration of Jews into Palestine. Their methods and tactics at times were controversial and may have been considered to be a borderline terrorist organization but they were effective in establishing, fostering, and protecting their homeland.
At the end of World War II, they declared an informal war on the British, the Arabs, and anyone else who stood in their way of establishing the Jewish homeland. Sabotage, bombings, assassinations, an eye for an eye law of retribution ruled their day.
Irgun Zvai Leumi, (Hebrew: National Military Organization) also known as Etzel, Jewish right-wing underground movement in Palestine, founded in 1931. At first supported by many nonsocialist Zionist parties, in opposition to the Haganah, in 1936 it became an instrument of the Revisionist Party, an extreme nationalist group that had seceded from the World Zionist Organization and whose policies called for the use of force, if necessary, to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan.
Irgun committed acts of terrorism and assassination against the British, whom it regarded as illegal occupiers, and it was also violently anti-Arab. Irgun participated in the organization of illegal immigration into Palestine after the publication of the British White Paper on Palestine which severely limited immigration. Irgun’s violent activities led to execution of many of its members by the British; in retaliation, Irgun executed British Army hostages.
Irgun’s members were extremely disciplined and daring, and their actions included the capture of the Acre prison, a medieval fortress that not even Napoleon had succeeded in capturing. In the last days of the British mandate, it captured a large part of the city of Jaffa.
On July 22, 1946, Irgun blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 soldiers and civilians (British, Arab, and Jewish). On April 9, 1947, a group of Irgun commandos raided the Arab village of Dayr Yāsīn (modern Kefar Shaʾul), killing about 100 of its inhabitants.
After the creation of Israel in 1948 Irgun’s last units disbanded and took the oath of loyalty to the Israel Defense Forces on September 1, 1948. Politically, it was the precursor of the Ḥerut (Freedom) Party, one of Israel’s most militant right-wing groups, which later merged with the Liberals into the Gaḥal Party.
Book review by Christopher (Moon) Mullins