Intro Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

Pages in Section 7

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1939 Jewish Political Scene

i. The Arab Revolt Continues

ii. The Irgun retaliate

iii. The Army takes over

iv. Tegart's Wall

v. Wyngate's Night Squads

vi. Arabs capture Old City

vii. White Paper

viii. Assassination of Inspectors Ralph Cairns & Robert Barker

ix. 1939 Jewish Political Scene

The many Jewish political parties in the pre-WW2 period can be classified into two main categories, Zionists and anti- Zionists. There were three main Zionist Parties. The main anti-Zionist parties included both Communists and Ultra-Orthodox sects.


MAPAI was by far the largest political party, affiliated to Histradut the largest and best organised Jewish trade union movement.

Haganah symbol The militant underground movement, HAGANAH, was closely associated with both Mapai and the Jewish Agency. In 1939 the Haganah had a strength of at least 10,000 with arms for half that number.

The Haganah symbol "The Sword and the Olive Branch".

Haganah recruited members from several youth groups. A main one was HAPOEL HAZAI'R (The Young Workers,) a non-Marxist Labor-Zionist movement dedicated to instilling in its participants a love of Eretz Israel and a willingness to work for its agricultural redemption.

MACCABI,sports orientated and originally non-political, by 1939 was feeding most of its members to Haganah.

MIZRACHI, slightly to the right of Mapai, was a more religious movement. Mizrachi believed that the Torah should be at the centre of Zionism and also saw Jewish nationalism as a means of achieving religious objectives.

THE NEW ZIONIST MOVEMENT Founded by Jabotinsky in 1925, The New Zionist Movement was to the extreme of right of the other Zionist parties and had its own trade Union. In 1939, its ideology included relentless pressure on Great Britain for Jewish statehood on both banks of the Jordan River; a Jewish majority in Palestine; and a re-establishment of the Jewish regiment.


Irgun SymbolIRGUN formerly Haganah Bet, was the New Zionist movements underground military force, more in favour of violence than Haganah.

BETAR, a Youth group, Betar, also founded by Jabotinsky and named after Trumpeldor, fed its members almost exclusively to the Irgun. Before 1935, many Maccabi members joined Irgun, but had stopped doing so after Maccabi had banned Betar from the opening parade of its International games on the grounds that Betar's uniform too closely resembled that of Mussolini's Brown shirts.

The Irgun symbol


The anti-Zionists

THE COMMUNIST PARTIES belonged to an international movement concerned more with class distinctions than nationalities. One communist party was the only Jewish-led party to offer membership to Arabs.

AGUDATH ISRAEL was the main Jewish religious party and operated a number of Jewish educational institutions. Its members believed only observant Jews should settle in Palestine and there should be no Jewish state until the Messiah returned. They had wanted Palestine to remain in the Ottoman Empire.

Next Section 8 i- Palestine Police at Start of WW 2

Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association