Irgun (National Military Organization)

Right wing counterpart to the haganah, 1931-1948

The Irgun is one of the most legendary and controversial organizations in Israeli history. Early in the 1930s, Vladimir Jabotinsky formed his own military group, the Irgun, under the Revisionist Zionist tree branch. It reflected Revisionist ideas: that Jews had a right to immigrate to Palestine, and that the Arabs would never accept a Jewish homeland and therefore only an “iron wall” of military force would ensure the protection of the Jewish community. The Haganah and the Irgun didn’t get along very well. Although the Irgun at first held to the Haganah’s policy of restraint, by the end of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 the Irgun switched tactics to an '“active defense” that involved striking back at the Arabs.

When Menachem Begin took over the organization in the early 1940s, he launched an offensive against the British colonial occupation of Palestine. The Irgun carried out its most infamous attack against the King David Hotel in 1946, killing over 91 people. The Irgun’s campaign of terrorism played a huge role in convincing the British to leave Palestine and to turn its future over to the United Nations in 1947. The Irgun was disbanded soon after the creation of Israel in 1948 and folded into the new Israel Defense Forces.

Appears in

Episode 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 57, 58

Mentioned in Episodes 40, 44, 49, 54, 55

Connected To

Vladimir Jabotinsky

David Ben Gurion

Menachem Begin