Powered by WebAds

Monday, July 01, 2013

Israel's first political assassination

Israel's first political assassination was not the murder of Yitzchak Rabin in 1995, nor was it the murder of British Count Bernadot by the Irgun in the 1940's. Israel's first political assassination was 89 years ago yesterday - June 30, 1924 - and it was carried out by the Hagana, the force that eventually became the IDF. The victim was a Dutch poet, journalist and legal scholar named Jacob Israel de Haan, and he was murdered because he was an anti-Zionist.

Let's go to the videotape.

Initially, de Haan was involved with Zionist circles in his new home. He helped establish the Jerusalem Law Classes in 1919, where he lectured, worked as a correspondent for a Dutch newspaper, and continued writing poetry. Soon, he met and found a kindred spirit in Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the founder of the ultra-Orthodox, anti-Zionist Edah Haredit community, and became his political spokesman. He also is said to have taken an interest in the young boys of Jerusalem, both Jewish and Arab. 
Within a short time, de Haan became critical of the secular nature of the Zionist movement and of its relationship with the Orthodox community. He also became convinced that it was on a collision course with the indigenous Arab population of the land.
In 1922, the same year that Jacob de Haan defended Agudath Israel, the Haredi political movement, in a legal trial over its refusal to pay a new excise tax levied by Zionist authorities on matzot before Passover, he also met with Lord Northcliffe, founder of the Daily Mail newspaper in London, when the latter visited the region. He shared his anti-Zionist views with Northcliffe and those views were reported back in the United Kingdom. Soon, de Haan was offered work as a correspondent for the tabloid Daily Express. De Haan also met with Hashemite leader Hussein bin Ali, the King of Hejaz, to discuss the establishment of a Palestinian state.
By now, de Haan had become a liability to the Zionist movement, and especially dangerous because of the platform he now had for spreading his views in  London, where critical decisions about Palestine were made. In Jerusalem, he became persona non grata among Zionists, including his law students. One anecdote has him walking with a Dutch visitor, who observed that as people passed them into the street, they were spitting on the sidewalk. The visitor thought this was a sign of disrespect, to which de Haan responded, according to Dutch historian Ludy Giebels: “"Oh no, they spit on the street out of respect for you, your presence. Otherwise they would have spit in my face."
Early on the morning of June 30, 1924, as he left the synagogue in Shaare Zedek hospital, on Jaffa Road, de Haan was shot three times. He died immediately.
The British authorities offered a reward for information that would lead to his killer, but no one was ever tried for the crime. The killing was thought to have been ordered by the Haganah, but it was only in the 1980s that two Israeli journalists, Shlomo Nakdimon and Shaul Mayzlish, received an admission of guilt from Israeli businessman Avraham Tehomi, who was then living in Hong Kong.
Tehomi told the journalists that he had been acting on orders of the Haganah, specifically of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, an officer in the militia and a political activist, later the second president of the State of Israel: "I have done what the Haganah decided had to be done. And nothing was done without the order of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi ... I have no regrets because he [de Haan] wanted to destroy our whole idea of Zionism."
Although Neturei Karta are considered very much a fringe group even among Haredim today, the influence of the de Haan assassination continues. More here.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 9:14 AM, Blogger Jew613 said...

De Haan was in the middle of negotiating a treaty which would have surrendered Jewish sovereignty to the Hashemites of Transjordan. I am not saying he deserved to be killed but it wasn't just pure malice which led to De Haan's death.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing Carl, interesting subject.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

jew613: thats a bit like saying that rabin was giving away parts of israel and surrendering our sovereignty... not saying he deserved it, but..

that doesn't wash

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

Unknown, that's exactly what Jew613 was implying. Now, if so, what does that make De Haan? If true, the word is "moser".

Carl, if that's true, do you agree or disagree that De Haan was a moser in all of its halachic implications, or do you simply not know at this point if it's true? If the latter, shouldn't you investigate?


Post a Comment

<< Home