Who murdered Chaim Arlosoroff?

    December 2010            
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Chaim (Victor) Arlosoroff


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The Murder of Chaim (Victor) Arlosoroff
Conspiracy and History

By Jerry Klinger

Who murdered Chaim (Victor) Arlosoroff? Ben Gurion, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Joseph Goebbles, Arabs? …or perhaps by all?

It does not matter if it was a murder or an assassination. It does not matter if his killers were Jewish or not. The death of Chaim Arlosoroff ripped fissures in Zionist unity that have never healed. Jew upon Jew political violence is rare. Tragically, it is not unknown. It has happened more than once. The passions that caused it are rooted in the fears and the desires of those involved.

Chaim (Victor) Arlosoroff was born, February 23, 1899, in Romny, Ukraine. Six years later (1905), a horrific Pogrom occurred in Romny. The Arlosoroff family fled, as did many Russian Jews, to Germany. They settled in Berlin where Chaim grew up and went to school. At the University of Berlin he earned a doctorate in economics. Arlosoroff became a co-founder of Ha-Po'el Ha-Tza'ir, (1918), a socialist Zionist organization. His Zionist writing, astute and insightful, focused on financial management and money transfers to Zionist immigrants to Palestine. He recognized and wrote about the necessity of Arab- Jewish common interest in the development of Palestine.

Arlosoroff immigrated to Palestine in 1924. He immediately became a political activist. Two years later, 1926, while only 27, he was chosen to represent the Yishuv at the League of Nations in Geneva.

Events were moving quickly. The Jewish Agency was organized in 1929.1 The dominant Palestinian Jewish political party of the period, the Mapai2, took firm control of the Agency. Arlosoroff associated himself closely with Mapai. His exceptional talents and magnetic, powerful personality were immediately put to use. With Mapai backing, he became the head of the extremely important political department. The political department along with the Zionist Executive would control and shape the course of Jewish Palestinian future.

Chaim Arlozoroff was assassinated two days after returning from negotiations with the Nazi, German government over the "Transfer agreement - the Haavara Agreement"3, June 16, 1933. He was killed while walking with his wife, Sima, on the beach in Tel Aviv. His murder came near to destroying the Yishuv.4

Zionist Jewish violence against Jews, brother against brother, is extremely rare. It is extremely unusual. Yet it has happened. Nine years before the murder of Arlosoroff, Jacob Israel de Haan was murdered, allegedly, on the direct orders of the Haganah.

Jacob Israel de Haan

"Jacob Israël de Haan (December 31, 1881, Smilde, Drenthe - June 30, 1924) was a Dutch Jewish literary writer and journalist who was assassinated in Jerusalem by the Haganah for his anti- Zionist political activities and contacts with Arab leaders. De Haan is revered as a martyr among certain sections of the Haredi Jewish community, particularly the Neturei Karta and Edah HaChareidis.

De Haan was born in the Netherlands, in Smilde, a village in the northern province of Drenthe, and grew up in Zaandam. He was one of eighteen children and received a traditional Jewish education. His father, Yitzchak HaLevi de Haan, was poor and worked as a hazzan and Shochet. His sister, best known under her married name Carry van Bruggen, became an important Dutch author.

In 1904, while living in Amsterdam, he wrote his controversial novel Pijpelijntjes ("Lines from De Pijp"), which pretends to be a thinly veiled version of his own gay life with Aletrino in Amsterdam's "Pijp" working-class district. The homo-eroticism of the book, shocking in the early 20th century, led to his dismissal from his teaching job and social-democratic political circles. Aletrino and Johanna van Maarseveen, de Haan's fiancée, bought almost the entire print run of the book, to keep a lid on the scandal.[3]

Around 1910, de Haan developed an interest in Judaism, the Land of Israel and Zionism. This seems to have begun as a result of the mass imprisonment of Jews in Tsarist Russia, suspected of Bolshevism, and his work to free them. According to historical records, de Haan went to Russia armed with a letter of recommendation from the Queen of the Netherlands and was able to negotiate leniency for his Jewish clients. His work for Russian Jews lasted two years and made him keenly aware of the evils of anti- Semitism.

Prior to his departure for Palestine de Haan is described as being:

...In 1919, two years after the Balfour Declaration, this Poet of the Jewish Song took the next logical step and emigrated to Palestine "anxious to work at rebuilding Land, People and Language" as de Haan put it to Chaim Weitzman in his application for a passport. The same letter assumed his stance with aplomb. False modesty was never one of his faults. With a mixture of the martyred doubts many Zionist emigrants had, and the pride of a well-established position, de Haan wrote: "I am not leaving Holland to improve my condition. Neither materially, nor intellectually will life in Palestine be equal to my life here. I am one of the best poets of my Generation, and the only important Jewish national poet Holland has ever had. It is difficult to give up all this."...

The Palestine de Haan entered on a bitter stormy winter day in January 1919 was above all an intricate country. Arguably it had the most confusing political conditions of that politically complicated moment when the Versailles Peace Conference was about to begin. One might call it a natural habitat for this cranky man. It was the "twice promised country," to the Arabs in the Arab Revolt T. E. Lawrence existentialized in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and to the Jews (or rather in practice the Zionists) by the Balfour Declaration calling for creation of a Jewish Homeland. De Haan arrived there as an ardent, even fanatical, Zionist. Indeed, the first secret Zionist report about him refers to his ranting anti-Arab remarks made at a party...

De Haan rapidly became more religiously committed…..

At first he aligned himself with religious Zionism and the Mizrachi movement, but after meeting Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld leader of the Haredi Jewish community, he became the political spokesman of the Haredim in Jerusalem and was elected political secretary of the Orthodox community council, Vaad Ha'ir….

The secular Zionist establishment allegedly would not allow the established Haredi community in Palestine to be represented in the Jewish Agency in the 1920's. In response, the Haredim founded an Agudat Israel branch in Jerusalem to represent their interests in Mandate Palestine. The leader of the Haredi Jews in Palestine at the time, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld chose de Haan, even though he was a homosexual, to organize and represent the Haredi position on a diplomatic level equal to that of the secular Zionists. When Lord Northcliffe, a British publisher, was about to visit the Middle East, de Haan went to Alexandria in Egypt to present the case of Palestine's Haredim before he reached Palestine:

He spoke about the tyranny of the official Zionist movement. The journalists of the Northcliffe party gleefully reported all that back home. As a result of this contact, de Haan was appointed correspondent for the Daily Express, a one-penny paper that made much of everyday scandals. Already in Dutch circles he was the reputed volksverrader, traitor of his own people, and now his views spread throughout Great Britain and its Global Empire. Although his messages were short and few compared to his articles in the Handelsblad (the news from the Middle East in the Daily Express was more concerned with the mysteries of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt than with the intricate Palestine politics) the Zionist authorities both in Palestine and London became very worried. There was a great potential danger from these critical reports from a Jew who actually lived and worked right on this hot spot.

De Haan also met with the Hashemite leader Hussein bin Ali seeking his support for the Yishuv Hayashan (the pre-Zionist Jewish community in the Holy Land), and explaining the Haredi Jewish opposition to the Zionist plans of founding a state, and supporting the establishment of an official Palestinian state in Jordan within a federation.

De Haan was assassinated on 30 June 1924, and responsibility was attributed to Zionists alarmed by his political activities and his contacts with Arab states.

The 1985 publication of De Haan: The first political assassination in Palestine, by Shlomo Nakdimon and Shaul Mayzlish, revived wider interest in his assassination.

Avraham Tehomi, assassin of Jacob Israël de Haan

Nakdimon and Mayzlish were able to trace the assassin, Avraham Tehomi (1903-1990), then a businessman living in Hong Kong. Tehomi was interviewed for Israeli TV by Nakdimon and openly stated: "I have done what the Haganah decided had to be done. And nothing was done without the order of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (who later became the second president of Israel 1952-1963)... I have no regrets because he (de Haan) wanted to destroy our whole idea of Zionism" (Nakdimon). Tehomi denied allegations that de Haan's assassination was related to his homosexuality: "I neither heard nor knew about this", adding "why is it someone's business what he does at his home?"

De Haan's murder is considered the first political murder in the Jewish community in Palestine. His activities were perceived as undermining the struggle for the establishment of a Jewish state, but the assassination sparked a controversy and was harshly condemned by some. Labor movement publicist Moshe Beilinson wrote:

The flag of our movement must not be tarnished. Neither by the blood of the innocent, nor by the blood of the guilty. Otherwise - our movement will be bad, because blood draws other bloods. Blood always takes revenge and if you walk down this path once, you do not know where it would lead you.

…In Haredi circles de Haan is considered a martyr, killed by secular Jews while protecting the Jewish religion. During the 1980s, the Haredi community in Jerusalem tried to change the name of the Zupnik Garden to commemorate de Haan.

Through the years, in the Netherlands there have been projects, festivals and theatre productions commemorating Jacob Israël de Haan's work and life. A line from de Haan's poem "To a Young Fisherman": "For friendship such a limitless longing..." is inscribed on one of the three sides of the Homomonument in Amsterdam."5

Differences within the Zionist movement led to conflict. Zionism is not monolithic. There are many forms of Zionism, practical, political, social, cultural, historical, etc. Zionists, amongst themselves, feared being dominated and controlled by other Zionists.

Herzl had his unique approach to the Jewish problem. His solution was Political Zionism. Political Zionism antagonized advocates of Practical and Religious Zionism. But Herzl did advance Zionism further than it had ever been done before, in spite of his repeated practical failures with the Sultan of Turkey, the Kaiser of Germany, the Russian Czar and the Pope in Rome. Frustrated and desperate for some measure of tangible accomplishment, at the sixth Zionist congress in 1903, Herzl proposed an interim Zionist solution instead of Palestine. His El Arish Zionist proposal to the British government had failed earlier. However, Herzl placed before the delegates a second more aggressive proposal – the Uganda Plan. Herzl proposed, temporarily, establishing a Zionist homeland in Uganda. The Uganda plan split the Congress in near violent, acrimonious warring factions. Russian and Eastern European Zionists would only consider Biblical Palestine. Western European Zionists and cultural Zionists were willing to consider anything. The Russian and Eastern European Zionists angrily walked out.

"The offer was first made by British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain to Theodore Herzl's Zionist group in 1903. He offered 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2) of the Mau Plateau in what is today Kenya and Uganda. The offer was a response to pogroms against the Jews in Russia, and it was hoped the area could be a refuge from persecution for the Jewish people.

The idea was brought to the Zionist Congress at its sixth meeting in 1903 in Basel. There, a fierce debate ensued. The African land was described as an "ante-chamber to the Holy Land" and a Nachtasyl (temporary night shelter), but other groups felt that accepting the offer would make it more difficult to establish a Jewish state in the British Mandate of Palestine, and also that the Jewish nation would not be able to claim itself as native to that land, since there were no historic or culture links between the Hebrews and East Africa. Before the vote on the matter, the Russian delegation stormed out in opposition. By a remaining vote of 295 to 177, it was decided to send an "investigatory commission" on expedition to examine the territory proposed.

The next year a three-man delegation was sent to inspect the plateau. Its high elevation gave it a temperate climate, making it suitable for European settlement. However, the observers found a dangerous land filled with lions and other creatures. Moreover, although it was sparsely populated by small bands of Maasai (themselves having recently conquered the Sirikwa tribe), the Maasai were hostile to other tribes and outsiders.

After receiving this report, the following Congress in 1905 decided to politely decline the British offer. Some Jews viewed this as a mistake; they then split from the ZO and established the Jewish Territorialist Organization, led by Israel Zangwill, with the explicit aim of establishing a Jewish state anywhere, not just in Palestine. A few Jews did move to Kenya, but most settled in the urban centers. Some of these families remain to this day.

The Uganda Debate occasionally is still brought up in the political debates within present-day Israel. Religious-nationalist Israeli settlers, who place supreme importance on settling in the Biblically-hallowed "Judea and Samaria" (i.e., the West Bank), have used the term "Latter-Day Ugandists" on some occasions to describe the Israeli peace camp, who are willing to give up the West Bank and have a state centered on Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Coastal Plain - areas where the ancestral mountain-dwelling Hebrews of Biblical times mostly did not dwell. The implication is that liberal Israelis - like the adherents of the Uganda Program - are simply interested in a place where Jews can live in peace, and care little about restoring past historical or religious glories."6

The Uganda plan died at the seventh Zionist Congress. Theodor Herzl had died a year earlier. Peace, a disquieted peace, returned to the Zionist movement. In the ten years between 1904 and 1914, 40,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine fleeing from Russian anti- Semitism. World War I closed the door to Palestine, the West and America. Jews were trapped between the warring nations with no escape.

The Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917, and the peace treaties following the war, created Palestine, for the first time, as a political entity. It had never politically existed in history. Its borders were arbitrary, artificial lines drawn on maps. The lines were compromised spheres of influence between France and Britain. The boundaries included much of Biblical Israel. The bulk of Palestine promised to the Jews and Arabs lay to the East of the Jordan River.

In 1922, Winston Churchill divided the British Mandate along the Jordan River into East and West Palestine. Churchill transferred 60% of the Mandate, all of the land east of the Jordan, to Arab – Bedouin control. He created a new fictitious Arab future state for the Hashemites and Palestinian Arabs, Trans-Jordan. A little later, Churchill transferred additional Mandate land in the Golan to the French under Syrian control. The Golan land he transferred had been part of the Biblical land of the tribe of Dan. Jews were barred from settlement in Trans-Jordan and the Golan by the British and the French to satisfy Arab intransience. It was the first overt betrayal of the Balfour Declaration's promise to the Jewish people.

Zionists opposing the British began turning on Zionists supporting the British. Fear came into the air as Jew angrily faced Jew.

The early Yishuv was weak and dependent upon the good will of the British. The vast majority of the world Zionists, including those living in Mandate Palestine, acquiesced. Not all agreed with British motivations. Colonel John Henry Patterson, the first commander of the Jewish Legion, warned the Zionist leadership in 1918, the British would prove themselves supportive of the Balfour Declaration on paper and hostile on the ground. He knew the British well, especially those being appointed to administer and implement the Balfour Declaration. The Yishuv leadership chose to ignore the warnings

"After the 1920 Arab riots and 1921 Jaffa riots, the Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, to whom the League of Nations had given a mandate over Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront local Arab gangs which frequently attacked Palestinian Jews. Believing that they could not rely on the British administration for protection from these gangs, the Jewish leadership created the Haganah to protect Jewish farms and kibbutzim. In addition to guarding Jewish communities, the role of the Haganah was to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs. In the period between 1920–1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah "units" were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim.

Following the 1929 Palestine riots, the Haganah's role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment, transforming from an untrained militia to a capable underground army.

Many Haganah fighters objected to the official policy of havlagah (restraint) that Jewish political leaders (who had become increasingly controlling of the Haganah) had imposed on the militia. Fighters had been instructed to only defend communities and not initiate counter attacks against Arab gangs or their communities. This policy appeared defeatist to many who believed that the best defense is a good offense. In 1931, the more militant elements of the Haganah splintered off and formed the Irgun Tsva'i-Leumi (National Military Organization), better known as "Irgun" (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced "Etzel").7

Ironically, it was two Russian immigrants who faced off over how to bring about a Jewish Palestine. The tensions between the two Zionists became the foundation for the popular belief as to who murdered Arlosoroff.

Vladimir Jabotinsky8 believed in the Jewish historic right of Jews to settle in all of Palestine. David Ben Gurion9, recognizing the "practical" limitations of building the future state, was willing to compromise, to settle for considerably less. Ben Gurion became the leader of Labor Zionism. Jabotinsky would not accept the limiting of Jewish rights. He became the leader of Revisionist Zionism.

"Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism. Revisionism is represented primarily by the Likud Party.

The ideology was developed originally by Ze'ev Jabotinsky who advocated a "revision" of the "practical Zionism" of David Ben Gurion and Chaim Weizmann, which was focused on independent settlement of Eretz Yisrael. In 1935, after the Zionist Executive rejected his political program and refused to state that "the aim of Zionism was the establishment of a Jewish state," Jabotinsky resigned from the Zionist Organization. He founded the New Zionist Organization (NZO) to conduct independent political activity for free immigration and the establishment of a Jewish State.# Revisionist Zionism was instead centered on a vision of "political Zionism", which Jabotinsky regarded as following the legacy of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism.

In its early years, and under Jabotinsky's leadership, Revisionist Zionism focused on gaining British aid for settlement. Later, Revisionist groups, independent of Jabotinsky's leadership, conducted campaigns of violence against the British authorities in Palestine to drive them out and establish a Jewish state."10

The same year that Jacob de Haan was murdered, 1924, Chaim Arlosoroff arrived in Palestine from Germany. He quickly climbed to one of the top leadership positions in the ruling Labor Zionist movement. His influence soon eclipsed that of Chaim Weizmann11. Weizmann was defeated for reelection as President of the World Zionist Organization in 1931.12 Arlosoroff's position in the Zionist leadership continued rising. The influence of David Ben Gurion was being subordinated to Arlosoroff. He worked to reduce and neutralize Jabotinsky's influence.

Revisionism and Labor Zionism changed from competitors to enemies.

Jabotinsky's Zionism had always been aggressive. He believed that only through Jewish self defense could a State be born. As early as 1915, he tried to convince mainstream Zionist leadership that they must support the Allies with Jewish fighting units in Palestine. He was rejected. His ideas were rejected. He was viciously, personally excoriated.

"June 1915, the Executive Committee of the World Zionist Organization was meeting in Copenhagen. Jabotinsky wrote to his old friend Dr. Victor Jacobson for help to argue his case at the meeting. Jabotinsky understood that the Legion project was to be discussed and the Russian Zionist delegation, led by Menachim Ussishkin, was adamantly against it. Ussishkin forcefully argued that the Jews owed a historic debt to the Turks. They had provided a safe haven, a welcoming refuge to the Jews exiled by the Spanish inquisition. He ignored the fact that Turkey was at war with Spain at the time.

Jabotinsky responded that because of the mistreatment of the Jews of Palestine by the Turks, any debt of gratitude had been forfeited. "If the Jews in Palestine were not slaughtered wholesale, it was not due to Turkey's humaneness towards the Jews but to the presence of Ambassador (Henry) Morgenthau in Constantinople and of two American cruisers off Jaffa, which demonstratively served us. If the German Ambassador in Turkey advised the Turks not to quarrel with the Jews in Palestine, it was also due to his fear of the Americans." He further argued that the Europeans did not know or care about the Jews with the exception of the British. If the Jews wished to have a representation in the future of Palestine after the Allied victory, they had to take part in the fight for it.

Three key members of the committee, Otto Warburg, Ussishkin and Alfred Klee were opposed to the Legion. They demanded, even before the committee meeting in Cophenhagen commenced, that the Legion issue be dealt with. It must not put on the agenda.

'Jabotinsky was invited to a private conference by Tschlenow and Jacobson, who were briefly joined by Arthur Hantke. For three hours, the three men (particularly Hantke) tried to convince Jabotinsky that Germany would win the war that the Zion Mule Corps was a grave mistake and that further propaganda for a Jewish Legion would destroy Zionism.'

Jabotinsky offered to resign from the World Zionist Organization so that they could still claim neutrality. His offer of compromise was refused.

The committee met and passed their resolution aimed at Jabotinsky, June 10-11.

'In view of the oft-repeated rumors about the formation by England of a Jewish Legion for the conquest of Palestine, the Zionist Actions Committee declares:

That every undertaking of this kind is in sharpest contradiction to the entire character of Zionist activities:

That the Zionist Organization will have nothing in common with any such undertaking;

Therefore, the Actions Committee demands that no Zionist should under any circumstances participate in or support any such undertaking."

The World Zionist Organization had disowned Jabotinsky and declared him an enemy of the Zionist movement.

"In Odessa, his home, where, back in 1903, he had organized the self-defense unit that had helped spread his name throughout Russia, he was ostracized, and he was branded a traitor from the pulpit of the Yavneh Zionist Synagogue. Ussishkin13 stopped Jabotinsky's mother in the street and said to her: 'Your son should be hanged!"14

The economic chaos of the depression followed hard on the heels of the Russian Revolution. It brought social and economic upheavals in Germany, and Eastern Europe. Economic catastrophe quickly degenerated into the revival of the historic scapegoat – anti-Semitism. Modern anti-Semitism of the 20th century was different. It was pseudo-scientific in its methodology. Its racial theories derived from twisted interpretations of genetic mutation and Darwinian evolution. God and Biblical morality were replaced by the reason of man and the science of eugenics. The unfit were quickly identified and always it was the Jew.

The Final Solution to the Jewish problem was not developed when Hitler came to power in 1933. What was formed and understood was that 550,000 German Jews were seriously at risk. They had nowhere to go. No one wanted them, except, and even then with limitation, the Yishuv. Whom the Yishuv wanted was clearly, coldly, pragmatically, defined by the Labor Zionists under Ben Gurion – they only wanted the young and the fit to build the new state. It was a hard, practical decision. The Yishuv, they felt, could not absorb every Jew that wanted or needed to come. Jabotinsky, on the other hand, did not think in practical terms when it came to Jewish rescue. The Revisionists wanted everyone and would worry about absorption later. They wanted mass settlement.

The world knew of the horror that was Jewish life in Germany. It was no secret. American Jews in particular were not quiescent while Nazism emerged. A massive Jewish led protest movement originated in the United States and spread around the world. Germany and German products would be boycotted. The German economy must be crushed to make Germany come to humane senses. The inhuman terrorizing of the German Jew must end and the power of world and Jewish economic boycotts would force the change.

A pact with the Devil of Nazism was seen as an opportunity by the Palestinian Zionist leadership. The Yishuv would agree to a deal with the Nazis and the British. The British would not permit destitute Jews to come to Palestine. The Nazis would not allow the Jews to take their wealth or possessions out of Germany. Germany could not sell its products and the world would not buy from them because of the Jewish led boycott.

Ben Gurion and Arlosoroff strongly supported ending the boycott against Germany. They wanted to break the bloody oppression of the German Jews but they needed German products for the future state. They needed German markets to export to and build the Palestinian economy. It was gut churning deal with the Devil. They did not understand it was a delusion. The Germans, once they knew that the Jews were willing to surrender the boycott weapon, cast the project and their concerns into the dust bin of history. The Nazis understood that the Jews were impotent.

The lone voices protesting the abandonment of the German boycott to protect the Jews were the Revisionists lead by Vladimir Jabotinsky. They did not believe in British honor. They did not trust the Nazis. The Revisionists believed that the Labor Zionists were signing the German Jew's death warrants. The feelings between the two groups became acidic.

In 1932, anti-Semitic stereotypes blinded the Germans. They believed that Jewish economic power to hurt them, with a world boycott, was real. Thirty five years earlier, Herzl's and the Kaiser shared the same delusion that Jewish economic power would be able to assume the Turkish debt and purchase Palestine. If the Transfer Agreement15 was to succeed, the Yishuv leadership reasoned, it must to be negotiated directly with the Nazis. They sent their "Foreign Minister", Chaim Arlosoroff to try and meet the Foreign Minister of Germany, Joseph Goebbels.

April 1933, Arlosoroff arrived in Germany.

He needed to get to Goebbels. He needed access which he did not have. The entre, he believed, was a Christian German woman he had known, Magda Friedlander. She was a woman he had known very well.

Magda was the illegitimate daughter of Auguste Behrend, and Oskar Rietschel. She was born in 1901 in Berlin. When she was five years old, her mother married a Jewish manufacturer Richard Friedlander. They divorced in 1914 when Friedlander's financial life failed. Magda became very close friends with a young Jewish girl who lived near the Friedlanders in Berlin. The Jewish girl, Lisa, became her closest friend. Magda shared in the Jewish culture of Lisa's family life. Lisa's older brother was a teenage crush for Magda. His name was Victor. The family's name was Arlosoroff.

Magda was more than infatuated with Victor. She virtually lived at the Arlosoroff home to be near Lisa, and more so, to be near Victor. Victor by his late teens was already a focused, dynamic leader and Zionist. Magda, though not Jewish, joined in his Zionist passion. She considered emigrating to Palestine with Victor. He brought her with him on every occasion to Zionist meetings and programs. The relationship between them was more than platonic as Magda began to evolve into young womanhood and Victor into a leader of men. There was a meaningful bond between them that time never fully diminished.

Victor's true love was Palestine. Magda could not make the same commitment. They drifted away from each other.

In 1921, Magda married G, a rich German industrialist twice her age. The marriage was short and unhappy. Arlosoroff also married in Palestine. His first marriage was also short and unhappy. His second marriage to Sima was not much better. Magda's second marriage was also not much better than her first except it brought her to the center of Nazi German power. She needed to be around men of power and influence. She needed to be near the center of the German world and the comforts it brought with it.

Arlosoroff had had no direct contact with Magda for years when he returned to Germany in the spring of 1933. It was a photograph of her in a book shop that brought back his feelings. He was horrified and shocked at the same time.

"In the display, against the background of the swastika, stood a picture, the photograph of a lovely young woman on the arm of her bridegroom – and the young woman was Magda! The former love of his youth, Magda Friedlander, his unhappily married friend, who had considered leaving her wealthy husband to emigrate with him to Palestine. Remarried! Of course Arlosoroff recognized the man at her side, it was Joseph Goebbels, the new government's Propaganda Minister, without whose rabble-rousing Hitler would never have come to power."16

"While he was bringing his memories to life for Robert (a friend who had picked him up at the Berlin train station)…, an idea occurred to him: Magda might be able to arrange an interview with Goebbels. The financial transfer agreement for which he had come to Berlin – perhaps that was something she could bring about. He had to get in touch with her again! Robert urgently warned him against taking such a course of action, but Arlosoroff would not be dissuaded. If he were to ask Magda for help, of course he would not be able to mention anything intimate, anything about the past, but he was on a political mission here, and in his position as 'Foreign Minister' he felt entirely on a par with Goebbels. A private discussion could not be entirely ruled out. If it could be arranged, his task would be made a great deal easier. Magda had once been very close to him, after all, and shared his goals. How could she now be completely indifferent to his situation and that of the German Jews? Surely she would have to help him?

He actually did manage to talk to Magda. She promised to meet him, although only after his return from the Zionist Congress in Warsaw, in about four weeks' time….

The same evening Arlosoroff succeeded in making contact, with Magda…"17

"Magda had other concerns. We do not know how disturbed she was by Arlosoroff's unexpected appearance. She was chiefly concerned with herself, and thought the moment had come to present herself in public and create an image for herself.

It was becoming clearer and clearer to him that he could not depend on Magda's possible support to find access to senior Party members. So he immediately tried, in tough negotiations with Schacht and other government representatives, to alleviate economic conditions for Jewish emigrants. He actually managed to make preparations for what would later be known as the Ha'avara Agreement, finally ratified in August 1933. But for the time being this success was, not yet on the horizon, and despite all his doubts Arlosoroff wanted to seize the opportunity of a meeting with Magda, which might be his final chance."18

"From Prague he travelled on to the Zionist Congress in Warsaw, where violent tumults awaited him. The Zionist Workers' Party, of which Arlosoroff was a member and the Revisionists, were at each other's throats. Arlosoroff's speech was interrupted by repeated heckling, rebuking him for his diplomatic activities, his attempts 'to help the Jews by holding discussions with the Nazis, and accusing him of caring only for the German Jews and of taking an unnecessarily gloomy view of the situation. When he walked with Ben Gurion through the medieval streets, deeply disappointed, to discuss their common concerns, he mentioned to his friend that he planned to meet Magda. He described his earlier relationship with her, and spoke of how they had grown up together, how fond Magda had been of her stepfather Friedlander, and how committed to Zionism she had been as a girl. But Ben-Gurion was horrified by Arlosoroff's plan. He tried to explain to him that Goebbes was, along with Hitler, the worst anti-Semite of all. That all current anti-Semitic measures had been introduced on his initiative, and that Magda must surely agree with those measures or she would not have become Frau Goebbels…..

Three days later, on 29 May, Arlosoroff arrived in Berlin once again, but Magda was no longer there, having set off for Rome with Goebbels the day before. We do not know for sure whether it was her intention to avoid seeing him again, or whether Goebbels had decided to travel to Rome at short notice because he was jealous of Goring, who had been in negotiations with Mussolini over the fate of Austria a month before, and who had been feted and entertained by the Duce. Once again Goebbels could not bear the fact that it was his rival who was in the limelight rather than himself. Now it was his turn to cut a fine figure in Rome, and he was treated like a prince in the Eternal City. Magda enjoyed this, and shone by his side."19

Goebbels was a small man in physical stature. He was vain and paranoid of his place in the German hierarchy. He was at times insanely jealous of Magda and her former loves. Her relationship with Arlosoroff, the Jew, if publically known, was dangerous to Goebbels.

"The entries from Rome continue in similar vein. Goebbels was celebrated and basked in the attention heaped upon Magda for her looks and her knowledge of languages, since as well as her perfect French she spoke Italian and English.

On the way home they travelled via Munich and saw Hitler, and still basking in the brilliance of their performance they decided that 'they wanted to have another baby. A boy, this time.'

Magda had regained her place in the marriage.

Before the Roman trip, however, Magda had conveyed another message to Arlosoroff, in which she stated that a meeting would be too dangerous for her, and that he should leave Germany as quickly as possible.

Arlosoroff wrote an agitated reply to his sister Lisa. His letter would never arrive, and we know about it only through his second letter, which a Zionist friend in Prague personally brought to Palestine. In this second letter Arlosoroff wrote that Magda had told him she feared for her life. …He confided in Lisa, that he had committed the greatest mistake of his life. He did not know whether he would ever see his loved ones in Palestine again.

This was a desperate letter from a man on the run. The very next day, after failing to meet Magda, he left Berlin…. Two weeks later, having travelled via London, Paris and several other stops along the way, (June 14), he finally reached Palestine."20

"Arlosoroff spent the first evening after his return to Tel Aviv dining with his wife Sima at the Kate Dan hotel. After dinner they took a walk on the beach. The evening was warm, and the air was heavy with the scents of the orient. The dusk slipped quickly into the velvety darkness of night. Arlosoroff and Sima took a walk by the Moslem cemetery. A camel being led by a sleepy Bedouin broke away from him. Arab curses and cries rang out in the night and some little boys tried to recapture the beast.

Sima and Arlosoroff strolled along the beach, Sima walking a few steps ahead of her husband. Suddenly two men walked towards him out of the gloom. When they had reached him they stopped, and the shorter one shone a torch into Arlosoroff's face. 'Are you Dr Arlosoroff?' he asked in Hebrew. When Arlosoroff replied that he was, he continued, 'What time is it?' Arlosoroff awkwardly took his watch from his pocket. Before he could reply the second man pulled a revolver and fired at him. Arlosoroff collapsed, and the two men disappeared silently into the night.

Sima stopped and immediately ran back to her husband. 'They've shot Chaim,' she called in German. 'Jews have killed a Jew!' 'No, Sima, don't say that,' Arlosoroff said weakly. Two passers-by, Moshe Weiser and Jaakov Zlibanski, who happened to be coming along the beach, gave the wounded man first aid and : carried him back to the side of the road to flag down a car and take him to the hospital. But it was Friday evening, and it was twenty minutes before a driver prepared to break the Sabbath rule finally came along.

In the Hadassah Hospital four doctors fought for the patient's life. News of the attack spread through the city like wildfire, and a crowd gathered in front of the hospital. Arlosoroff's family and the mayor of Tel Aviv rushed to his bed before he was wheeled into the operating theatre. A few minutes later he lost consciousness, and the doctors were unable to save him.

A terrible grief settled on the square in front of the hospital and spread through the city. People were deeply moved by the death of their young, charismatic leader.

The very next day, telegrams arrived from all over the world, lamenting Arlosoroff's sudden death. Suspicion first fell on the Revisionists, who had always considered him a thorn in their side. This theory was hotly defended by the Socialist Workers' Party, because such a slur meant that the Revisionists would surely lose the next election. Three suspects were arrested, of whom one was freed without trial and the second sentenced to death, but later acquitted by the high court for want of evidence, as was the third.

Arlosoroff's unexplained assassination left a bitter taste among Israel's Jewish community, and one which was to last for years afterwards. It was a traumatic experience, and when proceedings were reopened at various times the Revisionists tried to shake off the terrible suspicion attached to them, but they were only partially successful. Despite other suspects and contradictory eye- witness statements, the suspicion of this political assassination lingered around them, and may well have had a crucial effect on the politics of the next forty years, intensifying the irreconcilable hostility between the Workers' Party and the Revisionists. Even today no actual perpetrator has ever been identified, and papers and police records have disappeared….

For political reasons some clues were left unexamined, such as the statements of the lawyer Max Seligman. The British had condemned Seligman to a period of imprisonment for assisting illegal immigrations at the time of the persecutions of the Jews in 'Germany. With him in prison were two Arabs, professional killers, one of whom boasted of assassinating Arlosoroff. The names of these two potential murderers were well known, but no one knew who might have been responsible for hiring them. The hearings produced little, and in any case the two Arabs were involved in other murder cases. The younger of the two spoke good Hebrew and made a statement to the effect that on the Friday evening in question he had visited a large number of Jewish cafes in Tel Aviv with his older companion, who had not told him why they were ' doing this, when in fact they were searching for Arlosoroff. The younger man also stated that the other man had fired the gun to frighten Arlosoroff into letting him have the woman. But why, then would he have shone the torch into Arlosoroff's face and asked him his name to be certain that this was the young head of the Jewish Agency? To judge by the sequence of events, it seems clear that he fired in order to kill Dr Chaim Arlosoroff. But under whose orders? The flight of the two Arabs after the event seems curious, if we bear in mind that the shortest way to the Arab district of Jaffa would have led along the beach, while the two fled via Sarona, to the north of Tel Aviv – as though they were reporting back to the Nazi settlement there.

After the younger man had listed all these details in his statement, he later withdrew his confession in response to unexplained pressure from an unknown quarter.

One other possibility, not unrelated to this account of events, was not further pursued because it led straight to the heart of the 'Nazi Reich, and was consequently taboo.

In the mid-seventies the serious Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz suggested a new version of the unexplained murder. The late journalist Haviv Kanaan published a thoroughly-researched article under the headline 'Goebbels gave the order'! In this he refers to the fact that two Nazi agents, Gronda and Korth, were living in Palestine at the time of Arlosoroff's assassination. They had been sent on Goebbels' orders to Palestine by the Prussian Gauleiter Koch, officially in search of buried gold.

In 1918 a German sergeant, Karl Todt, had buried the treasure in a valley in the Djenin, on the road to Nazareth, when British troops led by General Allenby had surrounded the Germans and the Turks. The treasure had remained untouched since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Since 1930 Todt, who after his release from a British prisoner of war camp had lived in Germany where he ran a small bicycle shop in Duisburg. He had tried to get an expedition going. He confided his plans to Richard Kunze, who was at first keen to go along himself but later pulled out of the project. Finally, before the Nazis came to power, he found a travelling companion in an adventurer, Baron von Bolschwing, and a translator who was to be made leader of the enterprise. All the preparations had been made, and the necessary diplomatic steps had been taken. These still remained valid after the Nazi seizure of power, , since Foreign Office staff did not change as rapidly as government positions within the Reich itself. The treasure hunters had all the proper accreditation they needed by the time they set off in their car. They reported to the consulates in Athens and Istanbul. There, to their surprise, they found a telegram from Karl Todt's wife, telling her husband that two other people, Theo Korth and Heinz Gronda, were on their way to Palestine, and would arrive ahead of their own expedition. Through various channels, including Kunze, who was by now a member of the Reichstag, the matter had come to the attention of Goebbels. At Goebbels' initiative the two NSDAP agents, Kotth and Gronda, were secretly dispatched to Israel by Gauleiter Koch. Their plan was to dig up the treasure themselves. Officially Goebbels explained their journey by saying that he did not want to make common cause with the British authorities, but hoped that with the help of those two selected Party members and an NSDAP cell in Palestine, he would be able secretly to rescue the gold. The two agents' unofficial mission, their real reason, for travelling to Israel, was to do away with Arlosoroff, of whom Goebbels had been terribly jealous since Magda had told him of her past.

On 5 April 1933, according to German Foreign Office files, the two Nazi agents Gronda and Korth introduced themselves to the German Consul Dr Friedrich Wolf. Wolf was clearly not informed about the purpose of their visit, because he sent various telegrams to the Foreign Office asking for instructions, since he could not tell exactly what was going on. Todt had abandoned his plans and returned to Germany, but the adventurer von Bolschwing was in Sofia, planning to travel on to Palestine and in the meantime he was demanding information from the Foreign Office. According to witnesses, the two Nazi agents had never been to Djenin before, and had no interest in the buried treasure. They avoided ever coming into contact with the authorities of the British Mandate. They spent their time almost exclusively in Sarona and Jaffa, where the local Nazi Party had members within the Templar settlements. They were probably in search of paid killers whom they might persuade to eliminate Arlosoroff, as they would have been unable to carry out the task themselves – and in any case they had already attracted too much attention. What they had not reckoned with was the fact that Arlosoroff had unexpectedly set off for Europe on 27 April. This surprise departure clearly speeded up the two agents' plans. Five days later they paid another visit to Consul Wolf, to tell him they had found the hiding-place of the gold. Their mission was at an end and they could travel back to Germany. Wolf's wife was Jewish, and she knew about the anti-Semitism prevailing in Germany, and secretly listened in on the conversation. The whole business struck her as very curious, but Wolf asked no questions, for fear of falling out of favour with the new government in Berlin. Gronda and Korth assured the unsuspecting consul that they would be back shortly to set up a repair workshop in Djenin. But as Wolf observed with some surprise in a letter to the Foreign Office, they never came back.

…In Berlin at this time, we may assume that Goebbels was told about Arlosoroff's presence in Berlin, since he had come on an official mission. It remains probable that he also knew about Arlosoroff's attempt to resume contact with Magda, and that this had heightened his jealousy. As result, Magda's message to Arlosoroff – as conveyed to us by Lisa – in which she said she feared for her own life and advised him to leave Germany as quickly as possible, might have h ad some justification.

In his article in Ha'aretz, Kanaan refers to an interview with Robert Weltsch, who had escaped the Nazis in 1938 by emigrating to Palestine. In the early seventies he was still living in Israel, and Kanaan owed a great deal of his information to him. Weltsch could still clearly remember the shock that Arlosoroff had felt when he caught a glimpse of Magda in the photograph with Goebbels, and the subsequent conversation in which Arlosoroff had told him about Magda. But by his own account Weltsch had warned him against seeing Magda again. Nevertheless, he added to Kanaan that his wife had thought otherwise, as she could only see the romantic side of the affair, the love story. In his article Kanaan further develops the hypothesis that Arlosoroff, who was protected in Germany by his British Mandate passport, could only be eliminated via middle-men in Palestine, and that this was prepared for by contact with the Nazi agents.

If we follow this hypothesis, it does seem possible that Goebbels really was behind the assassination of Arlosoroff, and the murderers, as Kanaan describes, were put up to it by the Nazi agents.

There is, however, no conclusive proof of this. Goebbels' diaries, understandably enough, contain no reference to the murder. In Israel, files dealing with the case have disappeared over the years, and the British Mandate government lost documents dealing with the murder when a British ship sank with all papers onboard after the foundation of the state of Israel.

Allosoroff's younger sister, Lisa Arlosoroff-Steinberg, confided the whole story to her brother's school-friend, Dr Max Flesch, on the understanding that he would not discuss the matter until after her death, because she was frightened of what might happen. Her suspicion that Goebbels might be behind her brother's murder was based both on the circumstances of his death and on her personal knowledge of the relationship between Magda and Arlosoroff, and the knowledge that Goebbels was a very jealous man.

Lisa's fear seems understandable if we examine the biographies of the figures involved in the Arlosoroff affair. Gauleiter Koch, who had dispatched the two Nazi agents, later became Reichskommissar to the Ukraine. Baron von Bolschwing became a spy for the Nazi government in the Middle East, and was later involved in a Romanian pogrom in which Jews were tortured to death with unimaginable cruelty.21

"On 20 June 1933, in bold print, the Judische Rundschau carried, the headline 'Chaim Arlosoroff murdered'. This was followed by a lengthy obituary, paying detailed homage to Arlosoroff's work, and his various efforts to achieve a progressive Palestine, which he imagined in harmony with the culturally awakening Arabism of the Middle East. Memorial services were held for him everywhere, in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv and London. Even some Bedouin chiefs expressed their sympathy."22

The question over who had shot Arlosoroff remained. Arguments have been made that Ben Gurion, recognizing that Arlosoroff was going to supplant him in leadership of the Labor Zionist movement, may have ordered the murder. The conspiracy argues that Ben Gurion feared Arlosoroff and desired the power of leadership for himself alone. There has never been any credible evidence to support the theory.

The accusing finger, for the murder of Arlosoroff, became a mailed fist of Labor Zionists aimed at the Revisionists. If Valdimir Jabotsinksy had ordered the murder, there has never been any evidence to prove that. It is illogical that Ben Gurion and Jabotinstky did not understand they could not ultimately benefit from Arlosoroff's murder. It did not matter. In the public's mind, responsibility for the murder came to rest on Jabotinsky and his supporters alone.

Col. John Henry Patterson, Jabotinsky's friend and ally, was asked to be an observer at the Arlosoroff murder trial.

"Patterson was still in Mexico on July 3, 1931, when Chaim Weizmann was under attack at the Seventeenth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. There, he declared that "the Arabs in Palestine must be convinced by deed as well as word, that whatever the numerical relationships of the two nations in Palestine, we on our part contemplate no political domination. ' Jabotinsky disagreed vehemently, insisting on a Jewish majority and a Jewish state in Palestine on both sides of the Jordan River. For him, it could hardly be a safe haven for threatened Jews if the Arabs were a majority.

Weizmann responded calmly to Jabotinsky's fierce outburst, underlining their radically different approach to the problem: "The walls of Jericho fell to the sounds of shouts and trumpets. I have never, however, heard of walls being raised by that means." American rabbi Stephen Wise, a Justice Brandeis ally, hit a nerve and destroyed Weizmann's calm demeanor when they scornfully accused him of sitting too long at English feasts.

Weizmann left the hall in a fury. Chaim Arlosoroff, his heir apparent and a rising star of the Labor (Mapai) Party, rose to his rescue. "You spoke in such a manner that it was much more than a speech," he said, addressing himself to a man no longer able to hear him. But he went on: "It was a great historic deed. And I am happy to feel that there is someone who will … I hope soon, be able to continue the true and unsullied policy." It didn't help, perhaps because it seemed too self-serving. Delegates continued to denounce Weizmann's commitment to full cooperation with the British. And a Vote of censure, implying no confidence in his leadership, passed by 123 votes to 106. Jabotinsky's attempt to replace him failed. Bitterly disappointed, he, too, stormed out of the hall and, shouting, "This is not a Zionist congress!" tore up his delegate's card as he went, followed by fellow Revisionists.

The remaining delegates elected a new president, Nahum Sokolow. A journalist who spoke twelve languages, he was a friend of several prominent members of the British clergy, including the archbishop of Canterbury. But he could do nothing to reduce the animosity between the two major parties.

Patterson stayed loyal to Jabotinsky. And after his arrival home from Mexico he answered Jabotinsky's S0S. The survival of the Revisionist Party was at stake, its members having been charged with murdering a fellow Jew, Chaim Arlosoroff. Studying a report of the crime, Patterson deduced what the Labor leaders were up to. Pinning the murder on Revisionists even before the trial looked like a political hatchet job. He showed the report to his friend and ally British politician Leo Amery. Amery sent it to the British colonial secretary, Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, noting that, in such a charged atmosphere, he did not envy the police or judges their task of finding the truth. Jabotinsky was in Poland, and at his request Patterson went to Palestine to monitor the trial, which threatened to weaken if not destroy the Revisionist Party. Jabotinsky knew that Patterson was familiar with British trials and could give him a fair account of this one, which some even compared with the momentous and malicious Dreyfus trial."23

"Patterson knew that the Palestinian police had recently failed to solve several high-profile crimes and were under strong pressure to solve this one. They circulated Sima Arlosoroff's description of the killer. An immigration official noticed that it fit Avraham Stavsky,24 a Polish Jew who supported Jabotinsky's Revisionist Party and had been actively involved in bringing illegal immigrants into the country.

Bedouin trackers brought him in. Harry Rice, deputy inspector general of the Palestinian police, now in charge of the investigation, showed Sima Arlosoroff a photo of Stavsky and of nine other men. She picked out Stavsky. When he and several other men were lined up, she again indicated him. However, he had an alibi: at the time of the Tel Aviv shooting he was miles away in Jerusalem.

Another suspect, Zvi Rosenblatt, was arrested after a young woman, Rivka Feigin, who had been a fellow member of a Betar unit, stated that at a group meeting he had been chosen to murder Arlosoroff. But she had also accused her ex-husband of the same crime. And she had a shady past, having been dismissed from Jabotinsky's Betar organization for theft. She had later joined the rival Labor Party, Mapai, and lived in a Labor kibbutz. Her testimony left a lot to be desired.

A young Arab, Abdul Majid Buchari, in prison charged with another murder, also confessed to killing Arlosoroff, saying that he and a friend had intended to rape Sima Arlosoroff. The police found a revolver and bullets of the right make in his home, and thought they had solved the case, until he retracted his confession, claiming that Stavsky and Rosenblatt had bribed him to confess to the crime.

To add to the confusion, Arlosoroff's widow, Sima, gave the police conflicting information. Soon after her husband's death, she told several people that the killers were Arabs, then later that they were Jews. When questioned, she said that the fatal bullet had traveled from left to right, but when the examining surgeon reported that it went from right to left, she agreed with him.

Jabotinsky's most vociferous political rival, David Ben-Gurion, head of the Labor party, convinced that the murder was an act of political terror, stated his belief that Stavsky, a Revisionist, was the killer. So did Golda Meir, a future Labor prime minister, and most if not all other leading Labor Party members. 'Arlosoroff represented moderation, caution, a balanced approach to world problems," she wrote in her autobiography, "and, of course, to our own, and his tragic death seemed the inevitable consequence of the kind of anti-socialist, right-wing militarism and violent chauvinism that was being advocated by the Revisionists.'

Jabotinsky was convinced that the two men were innocent and would be vindicated. He raised money for the defense from a wealthy South African, Michael Haskell, and hired as defense attorney Horace Samuel, a former Jewish Legion officer and a cousin of Sir Herbert Samuel, Palestine's first high commissioner.

Patterson attended the trial, which began in a stifling courtroom on April 2, I934, Among the notes in his fourteen-page report for Jabotinsky were the following:

· A real hatred existed between many Labour (Mapai) and Revisionist supporters.

· When members of a faction, individuals often lose their judgment.

· Arlosoroff was a moderate Labour Leader and so an unlikely target for assassination. .

· It was a moonless, dark night and Mrs. Arlosoroff, in an emotional state, was not in a good position to identify suspects.

· Stavsky's subsequent behavior was not that of an assassin. He openly attended Arlosoroff's funeral. The day after the murder, he drew attention to himself by conducting an argument at the immigration office and he sent letters home to Poland, making arrangements for his family to join him. An assassin would have headed straight for the border.

· Rivka [a prosecution witness), while in Romania, had worked as a spy for the secret police. .

· The police insisted on pursuing only one line of enquiry. This led up a blind alley but they refused to consider other possibilities'

During the trial, Patterson lunched with an old Boer War friend, Sir Arthur Wauchope, the new pro-Zionist high commissioner for Palestine. They discussed Sima Arlosoroff's contradictory evidence, in which she had described the fatal bullet moving in opposite directions. The two men, firearm experts, agreed that bullets don't go around corners. But although Wauchope expected a miscarriage of justice, he was not in a position to interfere in the trial.

Rosenblatt was freed for lack of evidence, and on June 8, 1934, Stavsky was found guilty and sentenced to hang. However, on July 19, the Palestinian Court of appeals overturned the decision on technicalities.

Another courtroom observer, Yitshaq Ben-Ami, concluded, like Patterson, that Labor was using the murder to defame the Jabotinsky movement. And he reported, "When Hitler had risen to power in 1933 Jabotinky's certainty of an approaching catastrophe dominated his thoughts and actions. But the harder he and his followers tried to be heard, the harder their 'brothers' in the Jewish establishment fought them and tried to silence them."

Fifty-two years after the murder it was still a cause of animosity between the two parties, and in 1982 Menachem Begin, the first Revisionist prime minister, appointed a Judicial Court of Enquiry to reexamine the case. Finding no new evidence, their report was inconclusive….

After the trial, Patterson went from Palestine to South Africa, where there was a significant Jewish population, to raise funds for a group of former Jewish legionnaires who hoped to create an agricultural village in Palestine at Avihayil, north of Netanya."25

The Altelena burning in Tel Aviv

Fifteen years later, almost to the day of Arlosoroff's murder, Avraham Stavsky was killed. He died within a few hundred yards of where Arlosoroff was shot. Stavsky was a crew member of the Revisionist ship the Altalena26 bringing weapons and refugees to Israel. Some of the weapons were to be turned over to the Haganah and others to be kept by the Revisionists fighting the Arab invading armies. Whether deliberately, or by a series of errors, the weapons and the ship were not surrendered to the Haganah. The refugees were landed in Israel. The ship, an LST, a landing craft designed to be beached and off-loaded, was sailed to the center of Tel Aviv and grounded in full public view. Ben Gurion ordered the ship and the defiant Revisionist fighters on board destroyed. Deadly Jewish canon fire was directed against the Jewish ship. Haganah small arms fire killed Jews attempting to swim to safety. In the conflagration, amidst exploding ordinance, Avraham Stavsky helped Menachem Begin get to shore. Begin could not swim. Stavsky was killed by Jewish fire.

The commander of the Haganah, directing the destruction of the Altalena and its Revisionist crew, was Yitzhak Rabin27. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, November 5, 1995. 28

Who murdered Arlosorff? The answer depends on who is telling the story and for what purpose.

Jerry Klinger is president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation


1 In 1929, the Jewish Agency for Palestine was officially created by the 16th Zionist Congress, held in Zurich. The new body was larger and included a number of Jewish non-Zionist individuals and organizations, who were interested in Jewish settlement in Palestine.

2 Mapai (Hebrew: ", an acronym for Mifleget Poalei Eretz Yisrael (Hebrew: ), lit. Workers' Party of Eretz Yisrael) was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968.The party was founded on 5 January 1930 by the merger of the Hapoel Hatzair founded by A. D. Gordon and the original Ahdut HaAvoda (founded in 1919 from the right, more moderate, wing of the Marxist Zionist socialist Russian party Poale Zion led by David Ben-Gurion). In the early 1920s the Labor Zionist movement had founded the Histadrut Union, which dominated the Hebrew settlement economy and infrastructure, later making Mapai the dominant political faction in Zionist politics. It was also responsible for the founding of Hashomer and Haganah, the first two armed Jewish groups who secured the people and property of the new and emerging Jewish communities. By the early 1930s, David Ben- Gurion had taken over the party, and had become de-facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine (known as the Yishuv).

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

4 http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/Yishuv.htm

5 http://wikibin.org/articles/assassinations-of-jewish-leaders-relating-to-israel-and- zionism.html

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Proposal

7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haganah

8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabotinsky

9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Ben_Gurion

10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revisionist_zionism

11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Weizmann

12 http://www.zionism-israel.com/bio/Chaim_Weizmann_biography.htm

13 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0020_0_20251.html

14 http://jewishmag.com/148mag/jewish_legion/jewish_legion.htm

15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_agreement

16 Magda Goebbels by Anja Klabunde, Little Brown, 2001 (Time Warner Books U.K. ) pg. 186- 187

17 Ibid. pg. 188

18 Ibid. pg. 189

19 Ibid. pg. 191

20 Ibid pgs 191-192

21 Ibid. Pgs. 193-199

22 Ibid. Pg. 200

23 The Seven Lives of Colonel Patterson, Denis Brian Syracuse University Press New York 2008 pgs. 169- 171

24 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Stavsky

25 Ibid. pg. 171-175

26 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altalena_Affair

27 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Yitzhak_Rabin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Rabin

28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yigal_Amir


from the December 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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