Righting the Wrongs of Intra-Jewish Violence during Israel’s War of Independence

June 18 2020

Next week will mark the 72nd anniversary of the shelling by the newly created IDF of the Altalena, a ship bearing arms for the Irgun in the fight for Israel’s independence. Following the incident, the then-deputy chief of staff of the IDF gave sworn testimony accusing five senior members of the Irgun of treason. Shlomo Nakdimon, the author of a book about the Atlalena affair, argues that it’s high time that Israel formally clears their names:

The attorney general at the time, Yaakov Shapira, revealed that, “authorities considered arresting the detainees on charges of treason in the first place, but taking into account the seriousness of the charges and these daring times, authorities preferred to arrest them until they could no longer endanger the peace of the state of Israel again.” Although all five were sent home as if nothing had happened, they were left with a mark of disgrace. I raised the issue in my last letter to the former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, requesting that their names be cleared.

The request was forwarded to the IDF’s Department of History and a month later, I received an answer from the chief of staff’s bureau, saying that, “the five Irgun fighters . . . were released to their homes without any criminal proceedings against them. The prime minister and defense minister, David Ben-Gurion, sought to integrate them in senior positions in the IDF, hence our understanding is that his conduct removed any blemish from them.”

The five were Yaakov Meridor, later Israel’s finance minister; Hillel Kook, a member of the first Knesset; his fellow Knesset member, and the Altalena’s captain, Eliyahu Lenkin; Bezalel Amitsur, who oversaw the integration of Irgun fighters in the IDF; and Moshe Ḥason, who did not enter public life.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Altalena, Irgun, Israeli War of Independence

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela