Jewish Resistance Movement 70th Anniversary  SI

Jewish Resistance Movement 70th Anniversary

When WWII ended in 1945, the leaders of the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel believed that the British government would reward the Jews for their support during the war by changing its anti- Jewish policy and rescinding the discriminatory White Paper laws. Their disappointment at the continued pro-Arab policy and belief that the laws prohibiting Jews from entering Eretz Israel had contributed to the Holocaust of the Jews in Europe, brought the Yishuv leaders to actively oppose the British Mandate government in Eretz Israel and to the formation of the Jewish Resistance Movement.

Three underground organizations operated in Eretz Israel during the 1940's, each with its own philosophy and approach to the British Mandate rule. Lehi (Lohamei Herut Israel, known as "The Stern Gang") opposed the British and fought against them from its inception. Etzel (Ha'Irgun Ha'Tzva'i Ha'Leumi Be'Eretz Israel) assisted the British during the early years of WWII but changed its policy in late 1943 and began acting against them. In October 1945 the largest of the three organizations, Haganah decided to join the armed struggle and an agreement was signed by all three organizations, forming the joint Jewish Resistance Movement.

While each of the members of the umbrella Jewish Resistance Movement continued to operate independently, the movement leadership, which was made up of four representatives: two from Haganah (Moshe Sneh and Yisrael Galili), one from Etzel (Menachem Begin) and one from Lehi (Natan Yellin-Mor), coordinated their operations. A civilian political committee called "Committee X", formed by the Jewish Agency, approved the operations.

During its 10 months of activity, the Jewish Resistance Movement carried out 11 large operations, such as the Night of the Trains, when railway tracks were sabotaged in hundreds of spots; the Night of the Bridges, when 11 bridges along the borders of Eretz Israel were blown up; an action in which 200 illegal Jewish immigrants were released from the Atlit detention camp; attacks on British police stations; an attack on the railway workshops; and the destruction of dozens of military planes at RAF airstrips. Hundreds of other small operations were also carried out throughout the country.

In August 1946, after the King David Hotel in Jerusalem was bombed by Etzel, the Jewish Resistance Movement was disbanded and each of the three organizations continued its war on the British on its own. Despite the short period of time in which the underground organizations 

coordinated their actions, the Jewish Resistance Movement constituted a turning point, after which the anti-British activity continued unceasingly until the British Mandate in Eretz Israel indeed came to an end.

The Monument

On Israeli Independence Day 2006, a monument created by the late sculptor Menashe Kadishman was dedicated in the Underground Organizations Garden ("Ginat Ha'Machtarot") in Ramat Gan. The monument's central sculpture, which stands six meters tall, was inspired by the writings of acclaimed poet Uri Zvi Greenberg. During WWI, Greenberg served in the Austrian army, fighting against the Serbian army along the Sava River (a tributary of the Danube). During one of these battles, the poet witnessed a horrific sight – soldiers who were slain in battle and remained caught in barbed wire fences with their heads hanging downward and their spiked-shoed feet pointing upward towards the heavens. This terrible image remained emblazoned in the poet's memory and he incorporated it into his poem "Hazkarat Neshamot" (Memorial Prayer). In the statue, the dead soldier's feet support the ground of the State that came into being thanks to those who sacrificed their lives for it. Three cypress trees, representing the three underground organizations which collaborated to form the Jewish Resistance Movement, grow from the earth. A smaller statue is located next to the main structure. It depicts a shepherdess playing on a harp and symbolizes tranquility and peace. This is what the Jewish Resistance Movement fought for and fell in battle for. The monument symbolizes the common values of the underground organizations – sacrifice and commitment to their cause, the struggle to establish the State of Israel in 1948. 

Technical Details

Issue Date: 02.09.2015
Printer: Joh. Enschede, The Netherlands
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 30 x 40mm