New York Post


United You Stand

Haganah and Irgun Don’t 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.

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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.

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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-Mufti’s 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.

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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 of Tel-Aviv.

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.

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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 fraternal war.