Sunday, September 25, 2016

Palmach vs. Palmach and What About That Castration?

I caught this in Haaretz this week:

“Have a little sensitivity. Our generation may be nearing the end of the road, but we have children, grandchildren and families,” said Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Horev, 92, on Wednesday.Horev, a Palmach veteran, has joined the Palmach veterans’ protest against a cabinet decision to build a permanent memorial to former minister Rehavam Ze’evi at the national memorial site at Sha’ar Hagai, near Jerusalem – one of the symbols of the Palmach generation and its Harel Brigade.“The Israeli government did a terrible thing; this isn’t wise or fair,” said Horev, who took part in Palmach battles near Jerusalem in the War of Independence.

A "terrible thing"?

Not "wise"?

Not "fair"?

No "sensitivity"?

A little research will reveal something interesting about Horev, who waves about now the banner of "purity of arms".

In 1945 a series of sexual assaults troubled the Jewish inhabitants of Beit She’an Valley [and] motivated the regional commander of the Haganah to react. The suspect was identified shortly after the first incident...[as] Aref Ben Ahmad Esh Sharida, a nineteen year old Arab from Biesan, was arrested, identified [ Amos Nevo, a journalist who interviewed Palmachniks who participated in the operation, identifies the rapist as Mohammad Tawash. This indiscrepancy might be attributed to the fact that the rapist had an accomplice. Amos Nevo, "The Punishment," Yediot Ahronot April 30, 1993]...members of the Palmach, the striking forces of the Haganah, made their own inquiries about the identity and whereabouts of the suspect, and resolved to castrate him (after two more sexual assaults had occurred). The operation was approved by the Palmach’s chief commander, Isaac Sadeh, who decided they should teach a lesson, but not kill. A Palmach unit prepared for the operation. Undercover agents gathered information about the suspect and consulted with a doctor [Mendele of the Kupat Holim Clalit] who instructed them how to use ether and which veins to cut. Disguised as Arabs, they came to the suspect’s house and lured him to come with them to a wadi. Despite the anaesthesia their victim remained confused and active, and was therefore stunned with a club’s blow on his head. The primitive operation was performed with a shaving knife and the veins were tied with a shoe lace...The brutal castration was commemorated in a popular Hebrew song “We castrated you, Mohammed!”...

Two members of the Palmach unit were Yochai Bin-Nun and ... Amos Horev, himself. A book by Gamliel Cohen, “Undercover: The Untold Story of the Palmach’s Undercover Arab Unit,” published by the Ministry of Defense and the Galili Center for Defense Studies, provides more details.

Would Ze'evi had done this?



To be fair to the Hagana:

A similar occurrence took place in late 1946, when a mentally-ill Jewish woman was raped near Ramat Gan by an Arab greengrocer from Sheik Munes, who was consequently arrested, but released on bail despite his admission. (HA 173-23, HA 177-27).  The Haganah abducted the man, Mahmoud Mohammad Shoulabi, upon his release. The castration was performed in a forest near a governmental hospital (Bellinson Hospital, in Petach Tiqva), by Dr. Reuven (Rudolph) Meir, a psychiatrist. After the operation, an anonymous caller notified the police about a wounded Arab in the forest. Mahmoud was hospitalized. He was eventually convicted, but given a short sentence in consideration of what he had gone through. One Haganah member indicated that after a while the castrated victim became their informant, and was subsequently murdered by fellow Arabs who suspected him.  A critical Jewish newspaper article titled “Rascals take the law into their own hands” denounced the operation.


1 comment:

ketzel said...

Thank you, you made my day!