Yossi Harel, Commander of ‘Illegal’ Pre-State Aliyah, Dies at 90

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A great Jewish hero. Via INN: Yossi Harel, who commanded four ships bringing Jews to Israel illegally, died at the age of 90 in Tel Aviv Saturday. Harel assisted 24,000 Jews in reaching Israel aboard four ships, including the famed SS Exodus, between 1945 and 1948. Great Britain, which controlled the region at the time, banned Jewish immigration due to Arab pressure. The other three ships were called Knesset Yisrael (Gathering of Israel), Atzma’ut (Independence) and Kibbutz Galuyot (Ingathering of the Exiles). The Exodus was made famous by a film of the same name. Born in 1919, Harel was the

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How Amateur Astronomers Helped Israel Win the War of Independence

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From How Amateur Astronomers Helped Israel Win the War of Independence: Mordechai Gihon, 85, a professor, archaeologist and historian, was a former intelligence officer in the pre-state Haganah’s astronomers unit – amateur astronomers who assisted in gathering intelligence about the Arab Legion’s movements in and around Jerusalem. Gihon recalls that in the fall of 1947, David Zaichik, a botany professor and an amateur astronomer, “said that he could help us with his telescopes. We tried it and discovered that his telescopes permitted us to see deep into enemy territory, 100 times better than we had in the past.” About 30

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“Historical insight” from a Jewish self-loather

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An excerpt from the excellent, must-read essay by Seth Frantzman, currently in the doctoral program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and whose master’s thesis was on the 1948 war, in a counterpoint rebuttal of Ilan Pappe, a communist anti-Zionist self-loathing Jewish historian at Haifa University who has defended a student, Teddy Katz, for written essays documenting a fictitious Israeli massacre at the village of Tantura in 1948, and presenting it as truth.

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Tales from the underground

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From Tales from the underground: With the green lawns of the Charles Clore Park on three sides and the azure waters of the Mediterranean on the fourth, the stone and black glass Etzel Museum building on the Tel Aviv shoreline is certainly impressive. A blue cloudless sky and attractive layered Jaffa skyline in the near distance are additional factors making the museum building stand out – while at the same time somehow blending in with its surroundings. An enormous Israeli flag flaps high in the sea breeze above the museum, built over the ruins of a former Ottoman-period building. The

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The Battle of the “Exodus” Against the British Army

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From OU: Sixty years ago, on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Av 5707 (1947), an immigration ship by the name of “Leaving Europe 5707” (also known as “Exodus 1947”) arrived in Eretz Yisrael. This was a fairly small ship that the Hagannah had bought from US Navy surplus, and 4,500 refugees from Europe had been packed into it. As soon as the ship left France, British warships began to follow it, with a fighter plane flying overhead at all times. Any reasonable person could see that this was not going to be a fair fight. It was clear that the

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