The King David Hotel bombing was a terrorist attack carried out on Monday, July 22, 1946, by the militant right-wing Zionist underground organization the Irgun on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the southern wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. 91 people of various nationalities were killed, and 46 were injured.
The hotel was the site of the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine, principally the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and the Headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Palestine and Transjordan. When planned, the attack had the approval of the Haganah, the principal Jewish paramilitary group in Palestine, though, unbeknownst to the Irgun, this had been cancelled by the time the operation was carried out. It was conceived as part of a response to Operation Agatha (a series of widespread raids, including one on the Jewish Agency, conducted by the British authorities) and was the deadliest directed at the British during the Mandate era (1920–1948).
Disguised as Arab workmen and as hotel waiters, members of the Irgun planted a bomb in the basement of the main building of the hotel, whose southern wing housed the Mandate Secretariat and a few offices of the British military headquarters. The resulting explosion caused the collapse of the western half of the southern wing of the hotel. Some of the inflicted deaths and injuries occurred in the road outside the hotel and in adjacent buildings.
The Irgun sent warnings by telephone, including one to the hotel's own switchboard, which, possibly because hoax bomb warnings were rife at the time, the staff decided to ignore, but none directly to the British authorities. From the fact that a bomb search had already been carried out, it appears that a hoax call or tip-off had been received at the hotel earlier that day. Subsequent telephone calls from a concerned Palestine Post staff member and the police caused increasing alarm, and the hotel manager was notified. In the closing minutes before the explosion, he called an unknown British officer, but no evacuation was ordered. Controversy has arisen over the timing and adequacy of the warnings, and the reasons why, given that warnings were made, the hotel was not evacuated.
|King David Hotel Bombing|
|Part of the Jewish insurgency in Palestine|
The hotel after the bombing
|Location||Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine|
|Date||July 22, 1946 |
12:37 pm (UTC+2)
|Target||King David Hotel|
The Irgun committed the attack in response to Operation Agatha, known in Israel as "Black Saturday". British troops had searched the Jewish Agency on June 29 and confiscated large quantities of documents directly implicating the Haganah in the Jewish insurgency against Britain. The intelligence information was taken to the King David Hotel, where it was initially kept in the offices of the Secretariat in the southern wing. In order to destroy the incriminating documentation, the Irgun therefore determined to destroy that wing of the hotel.
In plan form, the six-story hotel, which was opened in 1932 as the first, modern, luxury hotel in Jerusalem, had an I-shape, with a long central axis connecting wings to the north and south. Julian's Way, a main road, ran parallel and close to the west side of the hotel. An unsurfaced lane, where the French Consulate was situated and from where access to the service entrance of the hotel was gained, ran from there past the north end of the hotel. Gardens and an olive grove, which had been designated as a park, surrounded the other sides.
In 1946, the Secretariat occupied most of the southern wing of the hotel, with the military headquarters occupying the top floor of the south wing and the top, second and third floors of the middle of the hotel. The military telephone exchange was situated in the basement. An annexe housed the military police and a branch of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Palestine Police.
Rooms had first been requisitioned in the hotel in late 1938, on what was supposed to be a temporary basis. Plans had already been made to erect a permanent building for the Secretariat and Army GHQ, but these were cancelled after the Second World War broke out, at which point more than two-thirds of the hotel's rooms were being used for government and army purposes.
In March 1946, British Labour Party MP Richard Crossman gave the following description of activity at the hotel: "private detectives, Zionist agents, Arab sheiks, special correspondents, and the rest, all sitting around about discreetly overhearing each other." Security analyst Bruce Hoffman has written that the hotel "housed the nerve centre of British rule in Palestine".
Amichai Paglin, Chief of Operations of the Irgun, developed a remote-controlled mortar with a range of four miles, which was nicknamed the V3 by British military engineers. In 1945, after attacks using the mortar had been made on several police stations, six V3s were buried in the olive grove park south of the King David Hotel. Three were aimed at the government printing press and three at the hotel itself. The intention was to fire them on the King's birthday, but the Haganah learned about the plan and warned the British through Teddy Kollek of the Jewish Agency. Army sappers then dug them up. On another occasion, members of an unknown group threw grenades, which missed, at the hotel.
The leaders of Haganah opposed the idea initially. On July 1, 1946, Moshe Sneh, chief of the Haganah General Headquarters, sent a letter to the then leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, which instructed him to "carry out the operation at the 'chick'", code for the King David Hotel.[note 1] Despite this approval for the project, repeated delays in executing the operation were requested by the Haganah, in response to changes unfolding in the political situation. The plan was finalized between Amichai Paglin (Irgun alias 'Gidi'), Chief of Operations of the Irgun, and Itzhak Sadeh, commander of the Palmach.
In the plan, Irgun men, disguised as Arabs, except for Gideon, the leader, who would be dressed as one of the hotel's distinctive Sudanese waiters, would enter the building through a basement service entrance carrying the explosives concealed in milk cans. The cans were to be placed by the main columns supporting the wing where the majority of the offices used by the British authorities were located. The columns were in a basement nightclub known as the Régence. In the final review of the plan, it was decided that the attack would take place on July 22 at 11:00, a time when there would be no people in the coffee shop in the basement in the area where the bomb was to be planted. It would be possible to enter the hotel more easily at that time as well.
It would have been impossible to have planted the bomb in the Régence any later than 14:00 because it was always full of customers after that time. The timing was also determined by the original intention that the attack should coincide with another, carried out by the Lehi, on government offices at the David Brothers Building. However, that attack, codenamed "Operation Your Slave and Redeemer", was cancelled at the last moment. The Irgun said details of the plan were aimed at minimizing civilian casualties. Irgun reports allegedly included explicit precautions so that the whole area would be evacuated. This led to recriminations between the Haganah and Irgun later. The Haganah said that they had specified that the attack should take place later in the day, when the offices would have been emptier of people.
Since the bombing, much controversy has ensued over the issues of when warnings were sent and how the British authorities responded. Irgun representatives have always stated that the warning was given well in advance of the explosion, so that adequate time was available to evacuate the hotel. Menachem Begin, for example, wrote that the telephone message was delivered 25–27 minutes before the explosion. It is often stated that the British authorities have always denied that a warning was sent. However, what the British Government said, five months after the bombing, once the subsequent inquest and all the inquiries had been completed, was not that no warning had been sent, but that no such warning had been received by anyone at the Secretariat "in an official position with any power to take action."
American author Thurston Clarke's analysis of the bombing gave timings for calls and for the explosion, which he said took place at 12:37. He stated that as part of the Irgun plan, a sixteen-year-old recruit, Adina Hay (alias Tehia), was to make three warning calls before the attack. At 12:22 the first call was made, in both Hebrew and English, to a telephone operator on the hotel's switchboard (the Secretariat and the military each had their own, separate, telephone exchanges). It was ignored. At 12:27, the second warning call was made to the French Consulate adjacent to the hotel to the north-east. This second call was taken seriously, and staff went through the building opening windows and closing curtains to lessen the impact of the blast. At 12:31 a third and final warning call to the Palestine Post newspaper was made. The telephone operator called the Palestine Police CID to report the message. She then called the hotel switchboard. The hotel operator reported the threat to one of the hotel managers. This warning resulted in the discovery of the milk cans in the basement, but by then it was too late.
Begin claimed in his memoirs that the British had deliberately not evacuated so that they could vilify the Jewish militant groups.
Shortly after noon Palestine time, the London UPI bureau received a short message stating that 'Jewish terrorists have just blown up the King David Hotel!'. The UPI stringer who had sent it, an Irgun member, had wanted to scoop his colleagues. Not knowing that the operation had been postponed by an hour, he sent the message before the operation had been completed. The bureau chief decided against running the story until more details and further confirmation had been obtained. There were other leaks.
The perpetrators met at 7 am at the Beit Aharon Talmud Torah. This was the first time they were informed of the target. The attack used approximately 350 kg (770 lb) of explosives spread over six charges. According to Begin, due to "consultations" about the cancellation of the attack on the David Brothers Building, the operation was delayed and started at about 12:00, an hour later than planned.
After placing the bombs in the La Regence Cafe, the Irgun men quickly slipped out and detonated a small explosive in the street outside the hotel, reportedly to keep passers-by away from the area. The police report written in the aftermath of the bombing says that this explosion resulted in a higher death toll because it caused spectators from the hotel to gather in its south-west corner, directly over the bomb planted in its basement. The first explosion also caused the presence in the hotel of injured Arabs who were brought into the Secretariat after their bus, which had been passing, was rolled onto its side. The Arab workers in the kitchen fled after being told to do so.
During the attack, two Irgun casualties occurred, Avraham Abramovitz and Itzhak Tsadok. In one Irgun account of the bombing, by Katz, the two were shot during the initial approach on the hotel, when a minor gunfight ensued with two British soldiers who had become suspicious. The Irgun did not explain how the group would have been able to move 350 kg of home-made explosives into the hotel with the guards already alerted. In Yehuda Lapidot's account, the men were shot as they were withdrawing after the attack. The latter agrees with the version of events presented by Bethell and Thurston Clarke and is more credible. According to Bethell, Abramovitz managed to get to the taxi getaway car along with six other men. Tsadok escaped with the other men on foot. Both were found by the police in the Jewish Old Quarter of Jerusalem the next day, with Abramovitz already dead from his wounds.
The explosion occurred at 12:37. It caused the collapse of the western half of the southern wing of the hotel. Soon after the explosion, rescuers from the Royal Engineers arrived with heavy lifting equipment. Later that night, the sappers were formed into three groups, with each working an eight-hour shift. The rescue operation lasted for the next three days and 2,000 lorry loads of rubble were removed. From the wreckage and rubble the rescuers managed to extract six survivors. The last to be found alive was Assistant Secretary Downing C. Thompson, 31 hours after the explosion, but he died just over a week later.
Ninety-one people were killed, most of them being staff of the hotel or Secretariat: 21 were first-rank government officials; 49 were second-rank clerks, typists and messengers, junior members of the Secretariat, employees of the hotel and canteen workers; 13 were soldiers; 3 policemen; and 5 were members of the public. By nationality, there were 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian. 46 people were injured. Some of the deaths and injuries occurred in the road outside the hotel and in adjacent buildings. No identifiable traces were found of thirteen of those killed. Among the dead were Yulius Jacobs, an Irgun sympathizer, and Edward Sperling, a Zionist writer and government official. Immediately after the bombing the Mandate government began planning Operation Shark.
The bombing inflamed public opinion in Britain. After the bombing, editorials in British newspapers argued that the bombing deflated statements by the government that it had been winning against the Jewish paramilitaries. The Manchester Guardian argued that "British firmness" inside Palestine had brought about more terrorism and worsened the situation in the country, the opposite effect that the government had intended.
Speaker after speaker in the House of Commons expressed outrage. Ex-Prime Minister Winston Churchill, a prominent and enthusiastic supporter of Zionism, criticized the attack. He also related the bombing to the problems within the Mandate system, and he advocated allowing further Jewish immigration into Palestine. Chief Secretary for the Government of Palestine, Sir John Shaw, noted that the majority of the dead had been members of his own personal staff. He said, "British, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Armenians; senior officers, police, my orderly, my chauffeur, messengers, guards, men and women—young and old—they were my friends."
British Prime Minister Clement Attlee commented in the House of Commons:
"Hon. Members will have learned with horror of the brutal and murderous crime committed yesterday in Jerusalem. Of all the outrages which have occurred in Palestine, and they have been many and horrible in the last few months, this is the worst. By this insane act of terrorism 93 innocent people have been killed or are missing in the ruins. The latest figures of casualties are 41 dead, 52 missing and 53 injured. I have no further information at present beyond what is contained in the following official report received from Jerusalem:"
"It appears that after exploding a small bomb in the street, presumably as a diversionary measure—this did virtually no damage—a lorry drove up to the tradesmen's entrance of the King David Hotel and the occupants, after holding up the staff at pistol point, entered the kitchen premises carrying a number of milk cans. At some stage of the proceedings, they shot and seriously wounded a British soldier who attempted to interfere with them. All available information so far is to the effect that they were Jews. Somewhere in the basement of the hotel they planted bombs which went off shortly afterwards. They appear to have made good their escape."
"Every effort is being made to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this outrage. The work of rescue in the debris, which was immediately organised, still continues. The next-of-kin of casualties are being notified by telegram as soon as accurate information is available. The House will wish to express their profound sympathy with the relatives of the killed and with those injured in this dastardly outrage."
In a visit made sometime before the attack, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), the professional head of the British Army, had told Lieutenant General Sir Evelyn Barker, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan, to emphasise to the British servicemen that they were "facing a cruel, fanatical and cunning enemy, and there was no way of knowing who was friend and who foe." Since there were female terrorists as well, according to Montgomery, all fraternising with the local population would have to cease. Within a few minutes of the bombing, Barker translated this instruction into an order that "all Jewish places of entertainment, cafes, restaurants, shops and private dwellings" be out of bounds to all ranks. He concluded, "I appreciate that these measures will inflict some hardship on the troops, but I am certain that if my reasons are fully explained to them, they will understand their propriety and they will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them." His wording was interpreted as antisemitic and caused much outrage. The order was rescinded two weeks later.
The attack did not change Britain's stance toward an Anglo-American agreement on Palestine, which was then in its concluding phase. In a letter dated July 25, 1946, Prime Minister Attlee wrote to American President Harry S. Truman: "I am sure you will agree that the inhuman crime committed in Jerusalem on 22 July calls for the strongest action against terrorism but having regard to the sufferings of the innocent Jewish victims of Nazism this should not deter us from introducing a policy designed to bring peace to Palestine with the least possible delay."
The Jewish political leadership publicly condemned the attack. The Jewish Agency expressed "their feelings of horror at the base and unparalleled act perpetrated today by a gang of criminals", despite the fact that the Irgun was acting in response to the Jewish Resistance Movement, an organisation governed by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish National Council denounced the bombing. According to The Jerusalem Post, "although the Hagana had sanctioned the King David bombing, world-wide condemnation caused the organization to distance itself from the attack." David Ben-Gurion deemed the Irgun "the enemy of the Jewish people" after the attack. Hatsofeh, a Jewish newspaper in Palestine, labelled the Irgun perpetrators "fascists".
The Irgun issued an initial statement accepting responsibility for the attack, mourning their Jewish victims, and calling into fault the British for what they saw as a failure to respond to the warnings. A year later, on July 22, 1947, they issued a new statement saying that they were acting on instructions from "a letter from the headquarters of the United Resistance, demanding that we carry out an attack on the center of government at the King David Hotel as soon as possible." The Irgun's radio network announced that it would mourn for the Jewish victims, but not the British ones. This was explained by claiming that Britain had not mourned for the millions of Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust. No remorse was expressed for the largest group of victims, the Arab dead.
Richard Crossman, a British Labour Party MP, whose experience on the Anglo-American Committee had made him sympathetic to Zionism, visited Chaim Weizmann shortly after the attack. Weizmann's ambivalence towards Zionist violence was apparent in the conversation. While condemning it, he also stated that he sympathised with its causes. When the King David Hotel bombing was mentioned, Weizmann started crying heavily. He said, "I can't help feeling proud of our boys. If only it had been a German headquarters, they would have gotten the Victoria Cross."
At the time of the explosion, Chief Secretary, Sir John Shaw was in his office, which was in the eastern half of the south wing, rather than the destroyed western half. Jewish militant organisations sought to shift the blame to Shaw for the deaths.
Begin said that Shaw had been responsible for the failure to evacuate the hotel: "A police officer called Shaw and told him, 'The Jews say that they have placed bombs in the King David.' And the reply was, 'I am here to give orders to the Jews, not to take orders from them.'" The 1947 Irgun pamphlet Black Paper said that Shaw had forbidden anyone to leave the hotel: "For reasons best known to himself Shaw, the Chief Secretary of the Occupation administration, disregarded the warning. That is, he forbade any of the other officials to leave the building, with the result that some of his collaborators were killed, while he himself slunk away until after the explosion. … Shaw thus sent nearly 100 people to their deaths—including Hebrews, including friends of our struggle." Begin said that he had heard the information about Shaw from Israel Galili, Chief of Staff of Haganah, when they met on July 23, the day after the bombing. In an interview with Bethell, Galili said that his source for the Shaw story had been Boris Guriel, the future head of Israel's intelligence service, who had heard it in turn from the American Associated Press bureau chief Carter Davidson. Thurston Clarke interviewed both Galili and Guriel, the former in 1977. Guriel denied that he had been the source of the story. Galili was unable to produce any evidence that Shaw had received a warning. Carter Davidson died in 1958 and so could not be asked to confirm or deny what Galili had said. Clarke's assessment was that the story about Shaw was, in fact, "a baseless rumour promoted by the Haganah in order to mollify the Irgun and fix responsibility for the carnage on Shaw." Shmuel Katz, who had been a member of the Irgun's high command, later also wrote that "the story can be dismissed."
In 1948, a libel action was taken out by Shaw against a Jewish London newspaper which repeated the allegations made by Begin and the Irgun pamphlet. The newspaper did not mount a defence and made an unreserved apology to Shaw. About the allegation that he had said that he did not take orders from Jews, Shaw said: "I would never have made a statement like that and I don't think that anyone who knows me would regard it as in character. I would never have referred to the Jews in that way".
Also in 1948, William Ziff, an American author, released a revised edition of his 1938 book The Rape of Palestine which contained an embellished version of Galili's story, similar to the one given in the Black Paper pamphlet. It said that Shaw had escaped from the hotel minutes before the main explosion, abandoning its other occupants to their fate. Shaw took out another libel action against Ziff and his British publisher. After lawyers in Israel failed to find evidence supporting Ziff's version of events, the book's publishers withdrew it from circulation and apologised to Shaw.
The Revolt, Menachem Begin's book on the Irgun, which was published in Britain in 1951, made references to a "high official" having received a warning but refusing to evacuate the hotel in time. Shaw, believing this to be a reference to himself, seriously considered suing Begin and his British publisher for libel, and consulted with his personal attorney, but was advised against it, on grounds that a reference to a "high official" was insufficient to justify a claim of personal defamation. He did, however, write a letter to the publisher denying the book's version of events.
Bethell says that all of the British witnesses who were in the vicinity of the hotel at the time of the explosion confirmed what Shaw said. None of them had any knowledge of a warning having been sent in time to make evacuation of the hotel possible. They said that, like themselves, Shaw had not known about the bomb beforehand and that he bore no responsibility for putting colleagues' lives at risk immediately before the explosion. The only criticism made was that Shaw should have closed the Régence restaurant and put guards on the service entrance weeks before. Shaw agreed that not having done this was a mistake. The decision not to do it had been made because "everyone was under orders to preserve the semblance of normality in Palestine", "social life had to be allowed to continue" and because nobody had believed that the Irgun would put the whole of the Secretariat, which had many Jewish employees, in danger.
The attack ramped up the conflict between Jewish militants and the Mandate government to a much higher level. Early on July 30, 1946, in order to capture wanted underground members, 'Operation Shark' was mounted in Tel Aviv. Four army brigades, about twenty thousand soldiers and police, established a cordon round the city. A historian later described the situation as looking for a few needles of militants in a haystack 170,000 people deep. Nearly eight hundred people were detained and then sent to Rafah detention camp.
The attack led the British government to enact widely unpopular restrictions on the civil liberties of Jews in Palestine, which included a renewed use of random personal searches, random searches of homes, military curfews, road blocks, and mass arrests. The measures shifted British public opinion further against the Mandate system. They also alienated the Jewish populace from their government, which had been Begin's intention from the beginning.
The Irgun and Lehi stepped up their campaign after the bombing, committing a series of attacks. According to The Jerusalem Post, the bombing represented the end of the united front that had existed between the Irgun and other Zionist groups such as the Haganah. From then on, the groups maintained a more adversarial relationship. Irgun ex-members and sympathizers have argued that modern historical accounts in Israel are biased against them and in favor of more established groups such as the Haganah.
After the bombing, the hotel complex remained in use by the British until May 4, 1948. It served as an Israeli headquarters from the end of the Israeli War of Independence to the Six-Day War. Then, the Israelis reopened the hotel for commercial business. Recently, it has hosted visiting dignitaries and celebrities.
Security analyst Bruce Hoffman wrote of the bombing in his book Inside Terrorism that: "Unlike many terrorist groups today, the Irgun's strategy was not deliberately to target or wantonly harm civilians. At the same time, though, the claim of Begin and other apologists that warnings were issued cannot absolve either the group or its commander for the ninety-one people killed and forty-five others injured ... Indeed, whatever nonlethal intentions the Irgun might or might not have had, the fact remains that a tragedy of almost unparalleled magnitude was inflicted ... so that to this day the bombing remains one of the world's single most lethal terrorist incidents of the twentieth century."
Enders Walter and Todd Sandler theorized in a 2006 book on the political economy of terrorism that it provided a model for the terrorist bombings of the 1980s. In another 2006 book, Gus Martin wrote that the attack is one of the best historical examples of successful terrorism, it having yielded, according to him, everything that the Irgun had wanted. He went on to compare the aftermath of the bombing to that of Carlos Marighella's campaign with the Brazilian Communist Party. Max Abrahms contests the view that the civilian deaths in the King David Hotel expedited British withdrawal from Palestine, stating that the widespread public backlash—including from Jews—combined with a British crackdown "nearly destroyed the Irgun" and "is thus hardly a strong example of terrorism paying".
The Irgun's activities were classed as terrorism by MI5. The Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization or organization which carried out terrorist acts. In particular the Irgun was branded a terrorist organisation by Britain, the 1946 Zionist Congress and the Jewish Agency. Begin argued that terrorists and freedom fighters are differentiated in that terrorists deliberately try to target civilians, and that the Irgun was not guilty of terrorism since it supposedly tried to avoid civilian casualties. At the events to mark the 60th anniversary of the attack, Benjamin Netanyahu, then chairman of Likud and Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset, opined that the bombing was a legitimate act with a military target, distinguishing it from an act of terror intended to harm civilians. He said, "Imagine that Hamas or Hizbullah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, 'We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area.' They don't do that. That is the difference."
Various British government papers relating to the bombing were released under the thirty year rule in 1978, including the results of the military and police investigations.[note 2] The reports contain statements and conclusions which are contradicted by other evidence, including that submitted to the inquest held after the bombing. Affidavits which reflected badly on the security of the hotel were removed from the army report before it was submitted to the High Commissioner and then the Cabinet in London. The police report makes the claim that the warning sent to the French Consulate was received five minutes after the main explosion. This is contradicted by multiple eyewitnesses who reported seeing staff opening the Consulate windows five minutes before it. The report also claims that the warning received by the Palestine Post was not received until after the explosion. That claim is supported in the report by the testimony of two members of the Palestine Post staff, one of whom said that she was put under pressure by the Palestine Police to withdraw statements she had made in her account.
In July 2006, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center organized a conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing. The conference was attended by past and future Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former members of Irgun. A plaque commemorating the bombing was unveiled, stating "For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated." The British Ambassador in Tel Aviv and the Consul-General in Jerusalem protested, saying "We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated", and wrote to the Mayor of Jerusalem that such an act of terror could not be honoured, even if it was preceded by a warning. The British government also demanded the removal of the plaque, pointing out that the statement accusing the British of failing to evacuate the hotel was untrue and "did not absolve those who planted the bomb."
To prevent a diplomatic incident, and over the objections of Knesset member Reuven Rivlin (Likud), who raised the matter in the Knesset, changes were made in the plaque's text, though to a greater degree in the English than the Hebrew version. The final English version says, "Warning phone calls has [sic] been made to the hotel, The Palestine Post and the French Consulate, urging the hotel's occupants to leave immediately. The hotel was not evacuated and after 25 minutes the bombs exploded. To the Irgun's regret, 92 persons were killed." The death toll given includes Avraham Abramovitz, the Irgun member who was shot during the attack and died later from his wounds, but only the Hebrew version of the sign makes that clear. The Hebrew version has the words meaning "including an Irgun man who was killed in a shootout which happened there" (Hebrew: כולל איש האצ"ל שנהרג בחילופי יריות שהתנהלו במקום) at the end, which are not found in the English version.
Events in the year 1946 in Mandatory Palestine.Adi Bitar
Adi Al Bitar (Arabic: عدي البيطار) (7 December 1924 – 4 March 1973) was a judge, a legal advisor and lawyer who worked all over the Middle East. He was the author of the constitution of the United Arab Emirates.Bernard Henry Bourdillon
Sir Bernard Henry Bourdillon (1883–1948) was a British colonial administrator who was Governor of Uganda (1932–1935) and of Nigeria (1935–1943).Edward Sperling
Edward J Sperling (1889 – July 22, 1946), born Ezra Sperling, was a 20th-century writer, humourist, and Zionist.Evelyn Barker
General Sir Evelyn Hugh Barker, (22 May 1894 – 23 November 1983) was a British Army officer who saw service in both the First World War and the Second World War. During the latter he commanded the 10th Brigade during the Battle of France in 1940, and the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division and later VIII Corps in the Western Europe Campaign from 1944 to 1945.After the war Barker was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan from 1946 to 1947 during the Palestine Emergency and is remembered for his antisemitism and his controversial order, in the wake of the King David Hotel bombing in July 1946, where he declared that (We) will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them.Frank Noel
Frank E. "Pappy" Noel (February 12, 1905 – November 29, 1966) was an Associated Press photographer and the winner of the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Photography, the second winner of that prize.
Born in Dalhart, Texas, Noel began his career in photography at the Chicago Daily News in 1925. He served in the United States Army Air Corps as an Aerial Photography Instructor and worked as a photographer for the Washington Post, Wichita Eagle, Kansas City Star, and the Oklahoma City News. Noel joined the Associated Press in 1937 and would spend the rest of his career with that agency.During World War II, Noel worked for the AP in the Pacific Theater. To escape the Japanese invasion of Singapore, a malaria-stricken Noel paid for passage on a British freighter bound for Rangoon, but the freighter was sunk by a Japanese torpedo. Noel was adrift in the Indian Ocean for three days when his lifeboat encountered another one. An Indian sailor in the other lifeboat asked them for water, but they had none as Noel's lifeboat was out of water as well. Noel took a picture of the sailor and it was published after his lifeboat was rescued two days later. The photograph, titled "Water!", won Noel the Pulitzer Prize. Later in the war, Noel covered the Malayan Campaign, Burma, and India for the AP.After the war, Noel was assigned to cover the Mediterranean. The 1948 King David Hotel bombing destroyed his photography equipment and personal effects, but he was not in the hotel at the time.Noel volunteered to cover the Korean War and accompanied the 7th Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. On his way to Chosin Reservoir, he was trapped with a marine unit under the command of Major John N. McLaughlin by enemy forces, but they fought their way free. Two months later, on November 29, 1950, after a convoy was trapped near the reservoir, he went for help in a jeep but was intercepted and captured by enemy forces. He spent the next 32 months in communist prison camps. He unsuccessfully attempted to escape three times, once only failing because he wouldn't leave behind an ill fellow prisoner. He was even able to take exclusive pictures for the AP from inside the camps. Noel was freed in 1953 as a result of Operation Big Switch.Noel was assigned to Florida in 1958 and retired there in 1966. He died at age 61 at the J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center in Gainesville, Florida following brain surgery, where he had been hospitalized two months earlier due to a stroke.Great Synagogue (Tel Aviv)
The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv is located on 110 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, just east of the Shalom Tower. The building was designed by Yehuda Magidovitch in 1922 and completed in 1926. It was renovated in 1970 with a new external facade of arches.
In the past, the synagogue was at the center of Little Tel Aviv, but today the building lies at the heart of the business and financial center. The emigration of the local residents during the 1960s brought about a recognizable reduction in the number of prayer-goers in The Great Synagogue, such that today the impressive building is used by only few congregants who pray on holidays and special occasions. In recent years, public figures have decided to conduct their Jewish wedding ceremonies at the synagogue.Israel–United Kingdom relations
Israel–United Kingdom relations, or Anglo-Israeli relations, are the diplomatic and commercial ties between the United Kingdom and Israel. The United Kingdom maintains an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate in Eilat; it also maintains a consulate-general in Jerusalem that represents Britain in that city and the Palestinian territories. Israel has an embassy and a consulate in London.Jewish Resistance Movement
The Jewish Resistance Movement (Hebrew: תנועת המרי העברי, Tnu'at HaMeri HaIvri, literally Hebrew Rebellion Movement), also called United Resistance Movement (URM), was an alliance of the Zionist paramilitary organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established in October 1945 by the Jewish Agency and operated for some ten months, until August 1946. The alliance coordinated acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks against the British authorities.
The Zionist Movement had high hopes for the Labour administration elected in Britain after the Second World War. The latter, however, continued to apply the policies laid down in the White Paper of 1939 which included restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine.
Negotiations began for the formation of the movement in August 1945 at the behest of Haganah leaders Moshe Sneh and Israel Galili. At the end of October of the same year, an agreement was signed forming the "Jewish Resistance Movement". The leadership of the new movement included four representatives: Two from the Haganah (Sneh and Galili), a representative of the Irgun (Menachem Begin) and a representative of Lehi (Nathan Yellin Mor).
In order to coordinate the activities of the groups, a civilian committee known as "Committee X" was made up of six members, representatives of the various political stream, (including Levi Eshkol). The operations board, who approved operations plans, was made up of Yitzhak Sadeh (of the Palmach), Eitan Livni (of the Irgun) and Yaakov Eliav (1917–1985) (of the Lehi).
During the movement's existence, eleven major operations were carried out, eight of them by the Palmach and Haganah, and three by the Irgun and Lehi, as well as many smaller operations. Notable among these were:
The release of 200 members of Aliyah Bet from the detention camp in Atlit
The bombing of railroads and train stations on the Night of the Trains
The bombing of dozens of bridges around the country in the Night of the Bridges
Attacks on British police stations
Bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where 91 people were killed including 28 British citizens, 41 Palestinian Arabs, 17 Palestinians Jews, two Armenians, a Russian, an Egyptian and a Greek.In August 1946, in the wake of the King David Hotel bombing, Chaim Weizmann, president of the WZO appealed to the movement to cease all further military activity until a decision on the issue had been reached by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency backed Weizmann's recommendation to cease activities, a decision reluctantly accepted by the Haganah, but not by the Irgun and the Lehi. The JRM was dismantled and each of the founding groups continued operating according to their own policy.Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine
The Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine (known in the United Kingdom as the Palestine Emergency) involved paramilitary actions carried out by Jewish underground groups against the British forces and officials in Mandatory Palestine. The tensions between Jewish militant underground organizations and the British mandatory authorities rose from 1938 and intensified with the publication of the White Paper of 1939, which outlined new government policies to place further restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases and declared the intention of giving independence to Palestine, with an Arab majority, within ten years. Though World War II brought relative calm, the tensions again escalated into an armed struggle towards the end of the war, when it became clear that the Axis Powers were close to defeat. The conflict with the British lasted until the eruption of the civil war and to some degree also until the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
The armed conflict escalated during the final phase of the World War II, when the Irgun declared a revolt in February 1944, ending the hiatus in operations it had begun in 1940. Starting from the assassination of Lord Moyne in 1944, the Haganah actively opposed the Irgun and Lehi, in a period of inter-Jewish fighting known as The Hunting Season. However, in autumn 1945, after the end of the war the Haganah began a period of co-operation with the two other underground organizations, forming the Jewish Resistance Movement. The Haganah refrained from direct confrontation with British forces, and concentrated its efforts on attacking British immigration control, while Irgun and Lehi attacked military and police targets. The Resistance Movement dissolved in recriminations in July 1946 following the King David Hotel bombing, with Irgun and Lehi acting independently, while the main underground militia Haganah acted mainly in supporting Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine. After the UN partition plan resolution was passed on 29 November 1947, the civil war between Palestinian Jews and Arabs eclipsed the previous tensions of both with the British.
Within Britain there were deep divisions over Palestine policy. Dozens of British soldiers, Jewish militants and civilians died during the campaigns of insurgency. The conflict led to heightened antisemitism in the UK and, in August 1947, after the hanging of two abducted British sergeants, to widespread anti-Jewish rioting across the UK. The conflict caused tensions in Britain's relationship with the United States.John Gutch (governor)
Sir John Gutch, OBE (12 July 1905 – 11 February 1988) was a British colonial administrator.
His career in the Colonial Service began in 1928, with his appointment as an Assistant District Commissioner in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). In 1934, he was promoted to Assistant Colonial Secretary. He was posted to the Mandate of Palestine in 1936, eventually becoming Principal Commissioner. He was one of the survivors of the King David Hotel bombing in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946. He was posted by the Foreign Office to Cyrenaica in 1948. He became Chief Secretary of British Guiana in 1950. From September 1955 to January 1961, he was Governor of the Solomon Islands and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. In this role he oversaw not only the Solomon Islands but also the New Hebrides and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. During his term, the Solomon Islands took their first steps towards self-government, with the establishment of the first Legislative Council.Gutch was awarded the OBE and a knighthood in 1957.List of Irgun members
This is a list of notable members of the Irgun, either having been listed by the Irgun's website or by reputable independent sources.
Former Irgun members have held positions of highest influence in the Israeli political and security establishments since independence, and the lasting effect of the ideology espoused by groups such as the Irgun and the Lehi continues to be a source of active research and debate among responsible historians and political observers to this day.List of Irgun operations
During the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine against the Mandatory Palestine, the militant Zionist group Irgun carried out 60 attacks against Palestinian people and the British Army. Irgun was described as a terrorist organization by The New York Times, the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, prominent world figures such as Winston Churchill and Jewish figures such as Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, and many others. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes it as "an underground organization." The New York Times at the time cited sources in an investigative piece which linked the Haganah paramilitary group to Irgun attacks such as the King David Hotel bombing.Irgun launched a series of attacks which lasted until the founding of Israel. All told, Irgun attacks against Arab targets resulted in at least 250 Arab deaths during this period. The following is a list of attacks resulting in death attributed to Irgun that took place during the 1930s and 1940s. Irgun conducted at least 60 operations altogether during this period.Man's Estate
Man's Estate is a 1972 novel written by Australian author Jon Cleary set in the world of the British upper class. It is about a conservative British politician who survives World War II, the King David Hotel bombing, a Mau Mau attack and a horse riding accident. It was also known as The Ninth Marquess in the US.Operation Shark
Operation Shark was a Counter-terrorism operation conducted by the military and police forces of British Mandatory Palestine in response to the King David Hotel bombing. Conducted through a series of house to house searches, the operation was intended to deprive the Irgun organization of manpower, hideouts, and weaponry.Robert Paus Platt
Robert Paus Platt OBE (born 1905 in England, died 22 July 1946 in Jerusalem) was a British diplomat. He served as an under-secretary in the mandatory government of the British Mandate of Palestine and was among the 91 victims of the King David Hotel bombing.Statement of Information Relating to Acts of Violence
The Statement of Information Relating to Acts of Violence was a White Paper published by the British Government on 24 July 1946. It was published as a request of the Prime Minister following the British Operation Agatha on 29 June 1946. Although it was published two days after the King David hotel bombing, it had been prepared prior to that event.The paper set out details of the Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine, including evidence that the Jewish Agency had been complicit with the terrorist groups. A telegram had been intercepted, including codenames, one of which "Hayyim" was understood to be Chaim Weizmann.Yosef Avni
Yosef Avni (Hebrew: יוסף אבני; born December 25, 1924) is a former Irgun activist. He was born Yosef Danochin in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, changing his name to Avni (his underground identity) after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Avni went to work as a locksmith at a young age, to help provide for his family (learned his job at his cousins' workshop, the Sabah brothers). At the age of 16 he joined Betar, leaving four years later (in 1942) for the Irgun. After the declaration of the Revolt against the British authorities (February 1944), Avni became part of the fighting force, and on top of being in charge of an arms dump in Jerusalem took part in many operations.
Avni commanded the sappers unit during the second attack on the British intelligence offices in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem on December 27, 1945, in which the building was destroyed and seven British policemen and an Irgun fighter were killed. He also took part in the King David Hotel bombing, being one of the senior commanders of the operation, and the bombing of the British Army base at Camp Schneller, personally lighting the fuses on mines that the raiders had set.
Avni was arrested in 1947 and detained by the British in Latrun Camp. He was released in March 1948, and was wounded attacking the Muchtar's house during the events of the Deir Yassin massacre.Zionist political violence
Zionist political violence or refers to acts of violence or terror committed by Zionists.
Actions have been carried out by individuals and Jewish paramilitary groups such as the Irgun, the Lehi, the Haganah and the Palmach as part of a conflict between Jews, British authorities, and Palestinian Arabs, regarding land, immigration, and control over Palestine.British soldiers and officials, United Nations personnel, Palestinian Arab fighters and civilians, and Jewish fighters and civilians have been targets or victims of these actions. Domestic, commercial, and government property, infrastructure, and material have also been attacked.