Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Arab Revolt in Palestine -- The British Turn Their Attention to Jewish Fighters

A British raid in the Jewish Machaneh Yehuda market
in Jerusalem
The British Mandatory forces sought to crush the Arab Revolt in 1936-1939 with an iron fist. Arab militias were hunted down and even the Royal Air Force was deployed.  Widespread arrests and the destruction of Arab homes and even neighborhoods were common and were documented by the American Colony photographers and reproduced on these pages.

But the British also clamped down on Jewish fighters who organized to defend against Arab attacks and carried out retaliatory attacks against Arab targets.

British troops patrol Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on the
eve of Bar-Yosef's execution in 1938
Raids, arrests and even capital punishment were carried out against Jewish fighters, particularly members of the Irgun underground, led by Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
When the British responded to Arab demands to block Jewish immigration to Palestine, the Irgun organized illegal aliya -- Jewish immigration to Eretz Yisrael.

In April 1938, in reprisal for an Arab attack, three Irgun members attacked an Arab bus.  The three were captured by the British, and one, Shlomo Ben-Yosef, was executed in June 1938 despite appeals by the Jewish Yishuv's leadership.
Machane Yehuda market today - at the site of the 1930s
British raid (Photo credit: The Real Jerusalem Streets)

Ben-Yosef was the first of 12 Jews executed by the British, mostly in 1947, when underground groups sought to end the British Mandate and turned their guns on British targets.


  1. a) that second pic is of Zion Square, no?

    b) and here's a pic of the aftermath of an Irgun counter-terror reprisal attack on Mamillah Road cafe:

  2. Glad to provide the current scene, keep up your good work.

    Sharon A
    The Real Jerusalem Streets