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Friday, March 30, 2007

Teddy Kollek = Judenrat

For all of you who grew up thinking that Teddy Kollek was a lovely little man who was Mayor of Jerusalem forever (1969-93), you're about to have your delusions shattered. And for that, I apologize. But you deserve to know the truth. Israeli politics is probably the most nasty back-stabbing politics in the world regardless of whose help has to be enlisted, and Teddy Kollek played with the nastiest of them. So, apparently, did the Israeli foreign ministry, which saw to it that the story did not come out until after Kollek's death in January.

Yediot Aharonot, the Hebrew parent of YNet is reporting that Kollek, the 'legendary Mayor of Jerusalem' was a British informer in the 1940's, who made sure that the Hagana would control the IDF once the State was established, and therefore that the Labor party would control the country and run it like its private bank account from 1948-77. Kollek did this by using his position in the Jewish Agency to inform on members of the Irgun (Menachem Begin's militia) and the Stern gang.
Kollek, who died three months ago, supplied the British intelligence agency with information about the activities of the Irgun and Stern Gang.

Beyond intelligence about the clandestine activities of the two groups, Kollek tried to help the British capture one of their most wanted men: Irgun leader Menachem Begin.

Begin commanded the Irgun from 1944 to 1948.

According to the newly released files, Kollek was instrumental in leading to the arrests of dozens of Irgun and Stern Gang members, the confiscation of arms, and the thwarting of numerous attacks against British interests.

Kollek's collaboration with the British came in the framework of a campaign waged by the Jewish Agency against the Irgun and Stern Gang, whose violent activities it deemed harmful to its political plans.


During a meeting with an MI5 officer on August 10, 1945, Kollek disclosed the location of a secret Irgun training camp in an abandoned building near Binyamina.

British forces raided the training camp soon after, arresting 27 Irgun members, including three women and a handful of commanders who topped Britain's list of most wanted underworld figures.

"It will be a great idea to raid the place," Kollek is quoted as telling his British contact during one of their meetings.

The British contact wrote in one of his briefings that success against "Zionist terror" depended on Kollek and his men.

Last year the British government opened its extensive intelligence library on MI5 activities in the '40s to the public.

The Israeli Embassy in London was particularly interested in file number 66968, which documented Kollek's collaboration with MI5.

The Foreign Ministry however asked that Britain freeze the release of Kollek's file so long he was alive.

Although many of Kollek's testimonies were omitted, his name appeared on the file in which he is referred to as "the source." His codename was Scorpion.

Kollek never admitted to having collaborated with the British against Zionist underground groups but in his autobiography he said that he was against the violence exhibited by the Irgun and Stern Gang, referring to their attacks as "anarchy."
The Jerusalem Post adds:
"Now the truth is finally crumbling out, it took years, but the truth is finally seeing the light," said Mordehai Tzipori, a one time Irgun (IZL) commander.

Tzipori was banished from then Palestine by the British, along with hundreds of other Jewish activists in 1944, as a result of his underground activity, and spent four years in Africa, only allowed to return after the establishment of the State of Israel.

He note that until the rise of the Likud Party to power in 1967 [should be 1977. CiJ], he and his comrades were virtually boycotted in the country.

"For years I waited to see when these documents would come out and now the truth is finally out," Tzipori said.

"Kollek's senior position in the Jewish Agency at the time, gave him access to sensitive information that the British wanted," said Yossi Kistir, the director of the IZL museum in Tel Aviv.

"The position of the Hagana at the time, eager to gain the confidence and support of the British, was not to allow any activity by splinter groups and they actively collaborated with the British, giving them lists of names of the Jewish organizations," said Yizhak Avinoam, a former Irgun commander in Jerusalem. "The British document are historic confirmations for the actions that the Hagana, in general, and Mr. Kollek in particular took against the Jewish underground," he said.

Avinoam was exiled to Kenya in 1947 and was incarcerated there for the next year and a half.

Prof. Yehuda Lapidot, a former Irgun member, who has written a book about the Hagana's cooperation with the British, said that even though Kollek admitted to assisting the British government - boasting about his cooperation in a historical letter to a British paper - successive Israeli governments tried to keep the issue away from the public.

"Until Begin's election victory in 1977, they tried to erase this chapter from the history of the Jewish people," Lapidot said, noting that in the first decade of the Jewish state this episode did not appear in Israeli history books.

"The fact is that a whole new generation of Israelis does not know about this history at all," he added. [For the record, 'they' is the Labor party and the Histadrut, which controlled the country until Begin's shocking 1977 electoral victory. CiJ]
Disgraceful and disgusting. But really not at all surprising.


At 1:45 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Carl...speechless, but not totally shocked given Israeli politics. It took a minute for it to sink in..but Teddy Kollek? Yes, it is disgraceful. How many others will also be exposed so many years after?

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I suspect many - and nearly all from the left. It's no secret that Ben Gurion gave the order to fire on the Altalena and that Rabin did the firing. Begin would never have done anything of the sort to a fellow Jew.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

No, Begin would not ever do such a thing, Carl. The rest? There is nothing that they wouldn't do, it appears.

Israel deserves far better when it comes to politics, now more than ever. Sadly, there are way too many from the left.


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