Experience: Altalena

Avrum Fleish
Fryda Fleish

“In June 1948, the Irgun tried to smuggle a large quantity of arms for its own use into Israel aboard the Altalena. Since the Irgun would not agree to surrender the weapons to the newly formed Israel Defense Forces, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered the ship shelled and sunk when it tried to dock near Tel Aviv.

“In the ensuing exchange of fire, 16 Irgun members and three IDF soldiers were killed. The ship went up in flames. But Begin, the Irgun's leader, refused to let Irgun members retaliate, saying he didn't want a civil war.”


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