Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lechi and "Hebrew Christians" in 1948

In this source, "Operation Mercy on the Eve of the Establishment of the State of Israel – The “Exodus” of Jewish Disciples of Yeshua from the Land of Israel in 1948" by Gershon Nerel, the English translation of his Hebrew article published in Iggud – Selected Essays in Jewish Studies, Vol. 2 – History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewish Society, ed. Gershon Bacon, Albert Baumgarten, Jacob Barnai, Chaim Waxman, and Israel J. Yuval (Jerusalem: The World Union of Jewish Studies, 2009), 83–109, I found a quite astonishing claim:

there were a few Hebrew Christians who were arrested and interrogated by the so-called “Stern Gang” (known in Hebrew as LEHI, an acronym for Israel Freedom Fighters), the most militant of the pre-state underground groups, who suspected that as Christian agents they were spies and collaborators with the British enemy. Some of the LEHI members suspected that the regular religious association of “the baptized Jews” with the English in joint meetings in their churches was nothing more than a guise for an espionage organization

In the Hebrew version, there is an assertion based on a R.G. Allison that one member of the community was executed.

I had never read such a claim in any Lechi publication or in other research works. I asked Aryeh Eldad who recently published a history of Lehi in its last year in Hebrew.

I will investigate.

P.S. Palestine Post, June 17, 1948


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Who Was Joan M. Thompson?

According to the report in the Palestine Post of March 31, 1948, Miss J. M. Thompson was shot and killed in Jerusalem:

Joan M. Thompson was the Acting Deputy Director of the British Department of Social Welfare.  She had attended Mildred Marston’s funeral on Easter Monday, according to one source. Marston had worked for CMJ as a teacher at the Girl’s College (CMJ is "The Church's Ministry Among Jewish People" is an Anglican missionary society founded in 1809). 

Mildred and a colleague, Hannah R. Hunard writes, were on their way to St. George’s Cathedral on Easter morning (March 28) when there was a sudden burst of gunfire. The companion threw herself on the ground and was unhurt. However, the sniper fire struck and killed Mildred.

Thompson's life was recalled in this Palestine Post obituary:

Here is Bet Safafa on the 1945 British Survey of Palestine map:

and enlarged

The hospital mentioned is on another grid:

The Hebrew press carried the story and, in several versions, blame was apportioned to the Arab side. The Government version blamed the Hagana.

In this Davar report, while snipers are mentioned, the story, illogically, notes she was approached up close and shot.

HaBoker notes that Jewish snipers were targeting Arab vehicles traveling on the Hebron Road to and from Bet Lehem. The story claims Thompson was on her way to visit an Arab nurse recuperating at the Government Hospital in Bet Safafa. It adds that the car was driven by an Arab who also was wounded. The official notice of the Mandate press office suggested she was killed by Jews.

Haaretz (which calls her 'Majorie') asserts she was shot while standing by her car near the Bet Safafa hospital but adds "near Kilometer 5". It convery the response of the Hagana's "Kol HaMagen" radio denying any Hagana members were involved. The tstimony of an Arab nurse it quoted whereby, while standing some 150 yards away, she saw a Jew armed wih an automatic weapon approach the car and even though she yelled out that the woman was British, he opened fire and raked the car with bullets. Miss Thompson died at 5:45 the next morning:

Some more maps show the area, its relative emptiness, the distance from Ramat Rachel but closeness to other Arab villages:

Thompson was in Mandate Palestine eleven years. She arrived in the midst of the 'Disturbances', that violent three-year period of an Arab revolt. Why did she come? Where was she from in England? What was her early life? Did she only work with the Arab population?

There is so much here. Was she a Hebrew Christian missionary or just friends with members of the group?

Hopefully, to be continued.

Now see here.


I have been contacted now, June 15, by her relative who adds this information:

On June 5th you wrote an article about my great aunt, Joan Thompson.

Joan Thompson [born 1906], unmarried/no children, was the twin sister of my paternal grandfather, Douglas Thompson [decorated Royal Artillery Colonel in the British Army in WWII, later a bank manager].  It was my understanding from family members that the responsible Zionist paramilitary group apologised for the shooting (she was know to them but was not driving her own car at the time); she was well connected and liked by senior people at both the major Jewish insurgent and Arab liberationist organisations at that time.

If you were interested I could get information from my aunt (Jan’s niece) on where in England she was come and her early life. Per the attachment, her memorial service was held in London on 7 May 1948 at St Botolph’s Church in Bishopsgate.

Best Regards,

Paul Thompson


Thursday, April 08, 2021

Throwing Good Money After Bad - $310 Million

For the record, from the State Department Press Briefing – April 7, 2021 

by Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

MR PRICE: ...And today, we’re pleased to announce that, working with Congress, we plan to restart the U.S. economic – U.S. economic, development, security, and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. It includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, 10 million for peacebuilding programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, and 150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief Works Agency, or UNRWA. All assistance, of course, will be provided consistent with U.S. law.

Assistance includes, among other things, support for small and medium enterprises’ recovery from the effects of COVID-19; support for needy households to access basic human needs, including food and clean water; and support for Palestinian civil society. A portion of this funding will support the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, as it continues to provide the necessary and life-saving treatments to Palestinians. This funding is in addition to the $15 million in humanitarian assistance to address COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity that we announced last month.

U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinians serves important U.S. interests and values, including providing critical relief to those in need, fostering economic development, and supporting Israeli-Palestinian understanding, as well as security and stability in a volatile region.  It aligns with the values and the interests of the United States as well as those of our allies and partners.  The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, of course, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution.

The United States encourages other donors to support programs and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

QUESTION: So I got two things, both on the Middle East, including – well, one on that. When you say that all this aid is going to be provided in – well, consistent with U.S. law, I’m curious as to how actually you’re going to do that.


QUESTION: Because U.S. law – there’s several of them – says that the U.S. cannot provide money to the Palestinian Authority, or – perhaps more importantly – money that would be fungible, that would be used for projects and programs that they – that a government would otherwise do as long as they continue to pay stipends to people convicted of anti-Israel or anti-U.S. attacks and their families. So how exactly are you going to square this?


QUESTION: Because as you’re aware, since reports about this have come out for a week or so, there have been growing opposition in Congress.

MR PRICE: Well, let me just start there. And I don’t want to characterize the reactions of individual members, but I think it is fair to say that we have been gratified by the reaction that we have heard from Congress on a bipartisan basis. Members of Congress, just as we do, recognize that the aid we announced today is consistent with our interests, it is consistent with our values, it is consistent with the interests of those in the region, to include Palestinians not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also in the broader region as well, as well as the interests of our Israeli partners.

Now, you asked about how we ensure that this aid is consistent with applicable U.S. law, including the Taylor Force Act. I just want to underscore that —


MR PRICE: I’m sorry?


MR PRICE: And ATCA. And I just want to underscore that all of this aid is absolutely consistent with relevant U.S. law, including those two statutes. As we do around the world, we provide assistance in the West Bank and Gaza through experienced and trusted independent partners on the ground, and it’s these partners who distribute directly to people in need, not through government or de facto government authorities. Our development partners in the West Bank and Gaza have aggressive risk mitigation systems in place aimed at ensuring just that – namely, that U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance is reaching those for whom it is intended: the women, the men, the children in need of lifesaving assistance.

Now, you asked about this fairly technical issue as to how we ensure that this aid is consistent with the Taylor Force Act —


MR PRICE: — and that it doesn’t directly —

QUESTION: Okay, fine, but I would not say that that’s “fairly technical.”

MR PRICE: No, no, no – well, I’m getting to a technical point.

QUESTION: You’re either breaking the law or you’re following the law. That’s not a technical —

MR PRICE: Well, it is – you’re right, it is very clear. We are following the law. Everything we are doing here is quite consistent with it, scrupulously so. But you did ask about how we ensure this doesn’t benefit —


MR PRICE: Directly benefit the Palestinian Authority, which is the relevant provision, and assistance considered as quote-unquote “directly benefiting” the PA is actually defined in the Department of State – defined by the Department of State and was transmitted to Congress in May of 2018. And in making this determination, we take several conditions into account, including the intended primary beneficiary or end user of the assistance; whether the PA is the direct recipient of the assistance, of course; whether the assistance involves payments of Palestinian Authority creditors; the extent of ownership or control the PA exerts over an entity or an individual that is the primary beneficiary or end user of the assistance; and whether the assistance or, in some cases, the services provided directly replace assistance or services that the PA would otherwise provide.

So we take all of that scrupulously into account – not only Taylor Force, not only ATCA, every relevant statute – to ensure, again, that what we are doing is in service of our interests, our values, consistent with U.S. law, and betters the lives of the people in the region.

QUESTION: Okay. As it relates to the UNRWA assistance, the 150 million to UNRWA, the Israelis have already come out and said that they’re concerned about this, that they don’t think it’s a good idea because the – because UNRWA, they think, is – well, one, that it’s non-transparent and that it promotes anti-Israel activity; and then secondly, the previous secretary of state just before he left office really laid a – quite a harsh allegation against UNRWA, saying that there’re fewer than 200,000 refugees that it actually serves from 1948. So one, do you – or, well, one, when you say you take into consideration Congressional concerns, are you also taking into account Israeli concerns? And then secondly, are you repudiating former Secretary of State Pompeo’s criticism of UNRWA that it’s riddled with corruption and is not serving anywhere near the number of quote-unquote “real” refugees?

MR PRICE: Well, you asked about UNRWA. Let me just say one more word on the bilateral assistance we’re providing to the Palestinian people because it gets to your question about security, and that is, of course, that we have an enduring commitment to Israel’s security. It is a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East but also, beyond that, globally. Likewise, we are committed to advancing the safety and the security of the Palestinian people. As we said in a statement earlier this week, we believe that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of security, prosperity, and dignity.

Now, when it comes to U.S. security assistance, that has played a key role in strengthening Palestinian Authority security forces capable of or, in some cases, willing to partner with Israel to address regional instability. We expect that a key part of our security assistance going forward will be working to advance the rule of law in the West Bank for the benefit of all through the development of professional and accountable security and criminal justice institutions, institutions that, by the way, are able to maintain security and stability in the West Bank to uphold the rule of law, to contribute directly to regional security, and to protect the population. That is not only in the interests of the Palestinian people. That, of course, is in the interests of our Israeli partners.

And as you know or as you might have guessed, we have engaged at multiple levels repeatedly with our Israeli partners on these questions. Of course, it was noted in the recent readout of the call between Secretary Blinken and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Ashkenazi. I wouldn’t want to characterize any further those diplomatic conversations, but we do all of this, again, consistent with the interests and the values of this country.

QUESTION: You don’t have to characterize it because the Israelis have already come out and said they think it’s a bad idea. So – or so the reservations that Congress has about this and the opposition that Israel has about this doesn’t matter; is that what you’re saying?

MR PRICE: Matt, we are doing this consistent with the values and the interests of the United States and also with the interests of those in the region as well. You did ask about UNRWA —


MR PRICE: — and concerns there, so let me just take a moment to note how seriously we take oversight of – our oversight role of UNRWA when it comes to UNRWA’s policies, programs, and finances. We take them extraordinary seriously. Got a long answer here.

QUESTION: You don’t really have to go on – you don’t have to drone on forever about it. But just, like, you are repudiating what the former administration thought about UNRWA? Do you still – do you believe, as the previous secretary of state did, that UNRWA serves a very, very small number of Palestinian refugees as opposed to what they claim to serve?

MR PRICE: I’m not going to characterize what the previous administration might have said or might have concluded. I am relaying here what this institution, what this secretary of state, what this administration, and what this building thinks and has concluded. And that is, again, that is that these steps and measures that we’ve announced today are consistent with our interests and our values.

I think the other point I would make is that even when the United States had stopped its support for UNRWA, the United States, and in this case the previous administration, did maintain a dialogue even in the absence of funding with UNRWA. By resuming this assistance today, not only do we have that dialogue, but we have a seat at the table. We can help drive UNRWA in the ways that we think it is in our interest and consistent with our values to do. Obviously, there are areas where we would like to see reform. We will continue to be in a position, an even greater position to drive and to steer UNRWA in a direction that we think is productive and useful with this step today.


QUESTION: Can I actually get you to elaborate on that? So you do think that UNRWA needs to be reformed. Can you identify in which areas? And also, by restoring this aid today, are you guys working towards restoring to the amount of $365 million, which was in 2017? Is that what you’re aiming for, and what’s the path to that look like? But don’t forget the first one I asked.

MR PRICE: Well, let me start with the first one. It is absolutely the case that we are committed to closely engaging with UNRWA to uphold its neutrality, to promote human rights and tolerance and education, and to improve the agency’s effectiveness and sustainability, and we plan to do that in a few different ways. One, we plan to do that bilaterally with the agency, with UNRWA, to improve its transparency, accountability, and internal governance and oversight processes. And two, multilaterally to improve its sustainability over time.

The point I made before is absolutely a critical one. Even in the absence of the funding that the previous administration halted, we – in this case the previous administration maintained a dialogue with UNRWA. Now not only do we have a dialogue, but we have a seat at the table. We are able to help effect these reforms – these reforms that we think are necessary, these reforms that we think are important – in a manner that is much more – that will be much more effective going forward.


QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. I have two questions on the Palestinians and one on Iraq. On the Palestinian issue, so would you say that any part of this money will go to support election in East Jerusalem since you value the democratic process? Number one. And number two, would you say that this money is trying to address a severe humanitarian need or also double as a carrot for the Palestinian Authority to come back to the negotiation table?

MR PRICE: This is – these are humanitarian steps when it comes to the humanitarian aid that we have announced today. The Secretary was speaking in a completely different context earlier this week when he said that we don’t trade shots in arms for political favors. But I think the broader principle is one that stands. This is consistent with who we are as a people. It also happens to be consistent with what is in our interest. And when we talk about the humanitarian funding that we are – I would – that we have announced today, it is to alleviate the – in many cases the humanitarian suffering that Palestinians have endured, whether it is in the West Bank, whether it’s in Gaza, or whether it’s in the broader region.

Now, when it comes to the question of elections, again, I would make the point that everything we are doing is going to be consistent with ATCA, it’s going to be consistent with the Taylor Force Act, and as we do around the world, we are providing this assistance through experienced and trusted independent partners on the ground who in turn distribute that aid. Palestinian elections are a matter for the Palestinian people. I think I would leave it at that in terms of our announcement today.


QUESTION: Yes, I was just wondering if the Secretary or any official in this building has made sort of calls with the Palestinian officials ahead of today’s announcement. If not, when would they do that? And another question: Is there any update about the pledges to reopen the diplomatic – the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.?

MR PRICE: Well, I would reiterate the point I have said before that we believe it is important for us to have a partnership with the Palestinian people and with Palestinian officials. I don’t have any calls to read out – I would imagine if Secretary Blinken had a call with his Palestinian counterpart, we would be in a position to read that out – nor do I have any calls to preview, but it is true that we have engaged extensively with stakeholders, including officials in the region, but I don’t have any details of that to read out.

Now, when it comes to the ways in which we will engage with the Palestinian people and Palestinian authorities, obviously today’s announcement, the announcement of funding on a bilateral basis for the Palestinian people and through UNRWA is an important element of that, but it is not the only way in which we intend to do that. But I just don’t have any announcements to preview at this time.

QUESTION: I don’t think you answered my first question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) 365. Is that the aim that you’re going to eventually increase this? Is that where you’re going?

MR PRICE: I’m not going to – I’m – today we’re talking about a significant, a sizable, an ambitious announcement of funding. I don’t have anything to preview beyond today.

QUESTION: Did you have any comment that —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) this is the first tranche, because I know that the administrations have usually provided their UNRWA funding in trenches – tranches, whatever – leading up to the full amount. So you haven’t made a decision about whether you’re going to go back to that historic amount of (inaudible)?

MR PRICE: I just don’t have anything to preview today. We are in April of 2021. Of course there are many months left in this fiscal year. But I just don’t have anything to preview today as to where we are heading.

QUESTION: But then I turn to the security assistance. That’s – is that like the 60 million extra that’s not part of the number that you put into this press release?

MR PRICE: We – I’m sorry.

QUESTION: The security assistance.


QUESTION: You said we’re also resuming vital security assistance programs. So that’s separate from the numbers that you have in this press release, right?

MR PRICE: We can – we can – if we have more details on exactly what that security assistance looked like – looks like in terms of numbers, we can let you know.

QUESTION: Did you guys ever have a response to the GAO report that found that USAID had not followed all of the – all of the requirements of the Taylor Force and ATCA laws in awarding not direct grantees but sub-grantees?

MR PRICE: Well, we are of course aware of the GAO report. We have welcomed the report. We take it, its findings, very seriously. It’s important to note that this GAO report found no cases of U.S. funding going to parties, providers on the ground who failed vetting. USAID is already taking steps to strengthen its existing, extensive antiterrorism procedures. I would also say that the funding we have announced today takes into account that report and our implementation of that funding has and will take into account what the GAO put forward. Again, the bottom line here is that this administration is firmly committing to – committed to ensuring that all U.S. assistance is provided in accordance with antiterrorism requirements and all U.S. laws, including the Taylor Force Act.


Monday, April 05, 2021

The Murder at the Temple Mount

This article appeared originally at the Jerusalem Post Magazine and I've added more graphics here:

The Murder on the Temple Mount

On April 11, 1947, Asher Itzkowitz, along with his acquaintance – and despite the shared family name no family connection – Yitzchak Itzkowitz, walked from entered the Old City through the Damascus Gate and continued on towards the Western Wall.  It was Asher’s first time visit.

For some reason, perhaps first-time disorientation, they turned left towards a gate and proceeded towards the Temple Mount. Asher never made it to the Wall and never left the Old City alive.

-  - -

It was either during the late Ayyubid 1187-1250, or the early Mamluk (1250-1517) period, or perhaps from the time of Saladin’s victory over the Crusaders in 1189, that a ban was instituted forbidding non-Muslims from entering the compound of the Temple Mount.

Islam’s tenet was it was the sole true religion rather than Christianity or Judaism. It alone carried on the heritage of Abraham. That ban was extended also to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the form of the infamous ‘seventh step’. It is quite possible that despite Jews visiting the Temple Mount in the previous centuries, notably, Maimonides, that ban was sublimated into later Rabbinic prohibitions on Jews from entering the site.

Nicholas Tavelić, Peter of Narbona, Deodatus of Ruticinio and Stephen of Cuneo became the first Franciscan martyrs of the office of the Custody of the Holy Land when, having been in Jerusalem since 1384, they decided to take their charge to spread their faith to the Qadi of the city who was singularly unimpressed.

On November 11, 1391, they entered the Temple Mound compound, appeared before the Qadi’s gathering and began to preach. They were arrested, refused an option to convert to Islam and near the Jaffa Gate on November 14, they were executed, beheaded, their bodies blown up and their remains completely burned. Their ashes were scattered. In June 1970, they were declared Saints in the Vatican Basilica by Pope Paul VI. 

In May 1818, Sarah Belzoni disguised herself as a Muslim female and, retaining the services of a 9-year old Muslim boy in order to facilitate entry, she managed a peek inside the Dome of the Rock. On November 13, 1833, the English architect Frederick Catherwood dressed up as an Egyptian officer and entered the sacred precincts, eventually spending six weeks “investigat[ing] every part of the mosque and its precincts" and made the first complete survey of the Dome of the Rock.

In 1839, following the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman administration, non-Muslims were permitted to enter Temple Mount on receiving the special permit from the governor. In the 1850s, an Italian military engineer named Ermete Pierotti was engaged as architect and engineer to the Ottoman authorities in Jerusalem, a position that provided him unrestricted freedom to study the Temple Mount. His 1864 book, Jerusalem Explored, describes his findings.

In March 1855, the Duke of Brabant, the future King Leopold II of Belgium, toured the Temple Mount while club-wielding Sudanese from Darfur guards were locked in their quarters for fear they would attack the infidel. In June that year, Archduke Maximilian, the heir to the Habsburg Empire, also was permitted entry. 

As for Jews, Moses Montefiore and his wife Judith toured the site on July 26, 1855 including the underground Ancient Al-Aqsa to the Southern Wall and, apparently, on other occasions. The Palestine Exploration Fund got Charles Warren of the Royal Engineers into the area in 1867 and his diary entry of April 8, 1869 begins, “I visited the Dome of the Rock.” 

-    -    -

On Wednesday, January 29, 1873, the 56-year old Yosef Assa, like Asher Itzkowitz six decades later, erred while walking to his study session at an Old City bet midrash. Being blind, he missed a turning perhaps and entered to Temple Mount. As reported in HaLevanon on February 5th, his body was found the next day, seemingly tossed over the ramparts into the valley below. Obviously, unauthorized entry was an extreme danger. 

In the few years prior to World War One and just after, matters were more relaxed. We know that Tel Aviv’s Herzliya school pupils toured the site during Passover 1912 as did others during the Second and Third Aliyah periods. Rahel Yannait did so in 1908, Berl Katznelson in 1918 and Uri Tzvi Greenberg in1924.

Asher Itzkowitz, most probably born in Ivanovice Vilkhovets (Irhóc) in the Máramaros district of north-east Hungary in 1927 although another source has his birthplace as Drohobycz, was taken to Auschwitz during the war. His parents, from whom he was separated, did not survive the Holocaust but a sister did. Making his way to Budapest, he joined a Dror Zionist youth group despite being religiously observant, boarded the Yagur clandestine immigration ship and was sent to a Cyprus detention camp. He arrived in Israel in late 1946. He lived in Tel Aviv and worked as a carpenter.

On the last day of Passover, Shvi’I shel Pesach, April 11, 1947, he walked from the Beit Yisrael neighborhood with a friend (but not a relative), Yitzhak Itzkowitz, 36, to the Western Wall. Becoming perhaps disoriented in the alleyways unfamiliar to them, they walked down David Street and missed the right-hand turn to the Western Wall. 

They approached the Chain Gate at approximately three o’clock in the afternoon. The presence of non-Muslims so close to the Haram precincts incensed the crowds. Some records note that the Moslem holiday of Nebi Mussa, always a heightened time of potential violence since 1920, was coetaneous that day. Both were set upon by over 30 rowdies. They were beaten with heavy sticks, called nabbot, metal rods, stoned and stabbed. The newspaper reports were contradictory as to what happened next. 

The first information was that they had unwittingly entered the Temple Mount. Such an act would have been cause for such violence. Indeed, as reported in this paper on December 16, 2020, over 70 years later, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, a Palestinian Authority appointee, declared there is “no place for non-Muslims in any way in this mosque, whether through schools, churches or other places of worship.” 

In fact, the Palestine Government press office had issued a press release that was broadcast over the official Mandate’s Voice of Jerusalem radio that the murderous assault indeed took place inside the compound. Subsequent items appearing in the press related that they were attacked outside. 

Yitzchak was saved by an Arab policeman, a corporal, who dragged him into the courtyard who then closed the gate on the mob. Asher was left outside to be finished off. Suffering severe loss of blood and critical head injuries, Asher died. The HaTzofe newspaper indicates the corporal, who was on duty inside the sacred compound, at the police station on the north side of the raised platform, found them inside the gate when he rushed over in response to the shouting.

Asher’s funeral service was conducted Saturday night in the courtyard of the Bikur Cholim Hospital and was addressed by Rabbis Aryeh Levin and Zalman Brizel. From there, his bier was carried through Meah Shearim until the police intervened and insisted it be placed in a van. Shouting and shoving then ensued. Eventually, the procession made its way to the Mount of Olives where Itzkowitz was buried. If you seek out his grave, you will find a barely recognizable plot with the text illegible.

The “Situation Committee” of Jerusalem’s Jewish Community Council decried the murder and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice. At the same time, they called for restraint on the part of Jews as on the Shabbat, two Arab ice cream vendors along Aggripas Street were beaten moderately by a crowd. The previous week, in a retaliation against the Palestine Police for the murder of Moshe Cohen on April 7, the Lechi underground had shot the 20-year old Basil Forth, who had been in the city but a week, killing him.

Most papers did not carry the story on their front pages. By the following Monday, he murder disappeared from the pages of the Yishuv’s press. The Communist organ, Kol Ha’Am, devoted but seven lines to the incident. Other news, of the escape of Geula Cohen and the forthcoming hanging of Dov Gruner and his legal battle were more prominent. 

There is no memorial plaque near where he was murdered. He lies in a forsaken near-unmarked grave. He has no progeny. He is a forgotten martyr.





The grave two years ago

The grave today