United You Stand
Haganah and Irgun Dont Differ
in Aims; Merely in Methods
In the year 70 of the present era, Jerusalem was besieged
by the legions of Vespasian and Titus. For 200 years and more, there was
no power in the world that would contest the power of Rome. But little
Judea rose in revolt and year after year fought against Roman tyranny.
The inability of Rome to achieve a decisive victory could become a signal
for revolt in other parts of the empire.
It was remarkable how small Judea defended itself against
the legions of Rome, the most powerful empire next to that of Heaven,
in the words of its historian, Titus Livy. The legions of the Caesars,
covering themselves with glory in all parts of the Roman world, were unable
to capture Jerusalem.
* * *
In those fateful days beseiged Jerusalem was defended by
three groups of warriors: one was led by Simon bar Giora, another by John
of Giscala, the third by Eleasar Ben Simon. However, they fought among
themselves, and it was not until the position of Jerusalem became tragically
desperate that they united their forces in the common defense. But the
city fell, and 600,000 dead were buried beneath its ruins.
Rome was so impressed by its victory over Judea that Roman
coins of that and following years bear the inscription: Judea is
captured. A grandiose triumphal arch was erected in commemoration
of the return of Titus Flavius with his legions from the war in Palestine.
This arch still adorns Rome; figures on it show vessels of the Jerusalem
Temple carried by Roman soldiers and Jewish prisoners of war brought to
Rome to perish there in the gladiators arena.
* * *
The Israeli of our days have been able to withstand a formidable
alliance. Take a piece of paper and draw up a balance sheet of respective
forces. Here, on one side, put down the 700,000 Israeli of Palestine,
bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh of 6,000,000 Jews tortured and
murdered in Europe in recent years.
On the other side of the balance sheet write down the members
of the hostile alliance. The Army of Liberation of the ex-Muftis
Arab Higher Committee, officered by German Nazis; the Arab Legion of Transjordan,
equipped and led by the British; the Arab troops of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria,
Egypt, supported by contingents from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, armed by
the British in honoring the existing contracts.
All these forces are politically protected and militarily
directed by the British. The British Navy and Air Force kept a semi-blockade
of the Palestinian shore. The American Treasury paid for British arms
sent to the Arabs. The oil empire of the world has made the greatest efforts
to flout the partition plan. International anti-Semitism also raised its
voice. Israeli-phobes, from Bevin to the members of the Committee for
Peace with Justice for Palestine, for the sheer pleasure of opposing everything
that could contribute to the redemption of the Jewish people, beat their
breasts and pose as apostles of Justice.
But the Israeli have stood up to this common front of seven
Arab states, the British Empire, the oil empire, and International anti-Semitism.
* * *
During the first first truce period the hydra of fraternal
dispute lifted its head. The ship, Altalena, carrying arms, was brought
by the Irguns to the shores of Palestine in violation of the conditions
of the truce arranged by the Mediator with the Israeli Government and
the Arab states.
Since there were not and are not United Nations observers
in the Arab countries and not one watches to see whether or not arms are
imported there, Irgun thought it was justified in bringing arms to the
State of Israel. The ship was prevented from landing by the Government
of Israel, which meticulously observed the conditions of the truce. In
the ensuing fighting there were casualties. The ship was burned in sight
Irgun, which fought for the existence of the Jewish State,
cannot now fight against the State; therefore, after a few days of defiance,
Irgun submitted to the authority of the State. However, many of them went
to Jerusalem, outside the official borders of Israel. Since the Trusteeship
Council of the U. N. did nothing to implement the decision of the General
Assembly to place Jerusalem under international rule, and since Bernadotte
has proposed to include the city in the Arab State, the Israeli of all
parties demand its inclusion in the State of Israel.
There is no difference in the aims of Haganah and Irgun;
there is only a difference in methods. The Government of Israel has proclaimed
the new Jerusalem as occupied territory; but it is careful not to do anything
that can be interpreted as defiance of the decisions of the U. N., though
the U. N. itself has flouted its own decision.
* * *
In war the Arabs, assisted by the British, could not overcome
Israel. But if Israel is divided and Jerusalem becomes the scene of fraternal
war, it ma fall a prey to its enemies. The memory of that other time,
when also three groups defended Jerusalem and fought among themselves,
ought to be revived and kept vivid in the minds of those who today stand
guard in Jerusalem. Eighty generations of exile was the price of that