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.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Altalena, Irgun, Israeli War of Independence

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy