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Relationship between the three Israeli undergrounds,
In 2007 the British MI5 records revealed that the much respected, beloved even, past mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kolak spied for the British against the Lechi and Irgun undergrounds and caused damaged to both. He died in 2007 at age 95.
An Israeli friend, somewhat younger than me and a supported of the Hagana asked me about that period. My quick answer may be of interest to you too.
You wish to know if the Hagana was alone, and Lechi and Irgun did not exist, could the struggle and outcome of Israel independence be the same. No one can go back and try it, but here is my assessment:
We needed each of these three groups. Each contributed an important element to the fight for freedom. Obviously the Hagana transformed to be the Israeli Army. The Irgun and Lechi join the Hagana a short time later. I was at the Lechi ceremony, at Shech Munis, operating the public address system I installed, just behind the leaders of our Merkaz.
The main problem with the initial Hagana, and the Jewish leadership in general-especially Dr. Weitzman -later the first president of Israel- was too much trust in England. They were with all due respect, stupid- asking your enemy to remove his powerful control of you.
They waited too long, much too long until they joined the fight. May be if we fought the British together earlier we would have been able to save more Jews from Europe? Again and again the Jewish leadership, from my own direct memory and experience, called for prayers or a day of sorrow when the British imposed a negative rule on us., such as the devastating White Paper- restriction immigration to 100,000 total over 5 years and let the Arabs decide what they wish after that.
I followed, by Lechi order, several "hafganot" (public marches) that of course did not bother the British. I learned a lot about mass behavior. Useless, the British were amused by them.
What the Lechi initiated, and later the Irgun followed, and finally the Palmach and Hagana too, was to show the British that we mean business and we are willing to die one after another to have independence and get them out. And many of my friends were killed then.
I remember well the inner agitation within the Palmach and Hagana to follow our lead. Initially there were years of hatred against us, leading to spying on us and the Irgun and arrests by the British of ours and Irgun members, the murder of our leader Yair-Stern. He was discovered by the Hagana and given to the British. After we suffered a lot we warned the Hagana that any further help to the British we will retaliate, the Hagana left us alone and concentrated on fighting the Irgun.
Eventually after years of agony there was a critical period when the three organizations fought the British together, divided the British military targets and blew aircrafts, bridges, trains etc. It was so powerful, the British were upset both in Israel and England.
The British retaliated and arrested most of the Yesuv leadership, by the thousands. Ben Gurion escape to France in time, but the Hagana stopped attacking the British. The Jewish leadership capitulated. Lechi and Irgun continued.
Eventually the frustrating of the British public about their military inability to stop the revolt of this little nothing country was daily in the British newspapers. The Labor government came to power promising accommodation with the Jews and instead increased its atrocities and attacks in a savage way. Bevin, the foreign minister was especially brutal and heartless and we responded. The British public wanted out. They believed the Arabs will finish us and they could wash their hands,...after all they did for the Jews, look how we response without any respect.
I have a documentary of 18 episodes (video 3/4 hr each) called The Pillar of Fire, showing actual discussion by Arab, British and Israeli leaders of that time. Fascinating. I have seen it several times, and several items studied in great details. So, in addition to my own experience, my family experience, my brother was a early leader of Lechi and arrested and sent to Kenya, his wife in prison in Israel, my father and especially mother, helped too. My family apartment was a center and the Israeli government put a plate on our apartment building giving it an historical designation as a center of Lechi.
As a summary, we each contributed a lot to the total effort to get the British out and be a free country. Every group did its part with dedication and a lot of sacrifice. Some of the actions by each of these three dedicated groups were mistaken and might have had some negative impact on the struggle, but as a whole we all did our part. I can list a lot of negative, major negative things that Ben Gurion did against us, against the best interest of Israel in his narrow mindedness, but as a whole he was a very important leader and instrumental in the liberation and direction of the young country.
Just one negative example of Ben Gurion. Before the 1967 war, General Rabin could not decide if to wait for actual attack by Nasser or have a preemptive attack. He met Ben Gurion, his past mentor, in Sde Boker, his retirement kibbutz. Ben Gurion attacked him verbally severely and told him that if Rabin ordered a preemptive attack Israel will lose and the Jewish state will disappear, AND THAT WOULD BE ALL THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF RABIN.
After that Rabin disappeared from public view, some say he had an emotional breakdown, some believe he went to a long sleep by injection after they call the chief medical officer to his home. You can read it is Six Days of War book that came 15 years ago, and in other places too. As we know, without Israel preemptive strike our loses would have been much more serious and grave. We can not repeated history under different scenarios to test it.
It would be fascinating if we could.