By Mordechai Bar-On
Twelve Israeli historians and writers revisit the exterior and inner conflicts that experience characterised Israeli heritage to supply context, research, and classes for the longer term.
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Extra resources for A Never-ending Conflict: A Guide to Israeli Military History
Instead, they adopted an offensive approach and launched a series of retaliatory attacks against Arabs, including civilians. On July 6, 1938, a small group of IZL members penetrated the Arab market in Haifa and threw a bomb in the middle of the heavy crowd. Twenty-five Palestinians were killed and 100 wounded. More bombs were thrown in populated places in Jerusalem and Jaffa and wanton fire was opened in a number of other places against Arab crowds. IZL claimed that these attacks came as reprisals for Arab attacks, but the net effect was the heightening of tension between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.
In addition, more Jews were trained to man the little forts scattered along all railways. The high commissioner told the secretary for the colonies that in time of a general rebellion the government would be obliged to recruit and arm many more Jews and use them for offensive operations. He was aware of the heavy political implications of such a move, and knew that it could have been considered only as a last resort. 39 A symbolic step in this direction was taken already by General Wavell, who was looking for new methods to combat the Arab guerrillas.
Nevertheless, since the Arabs directed many of their attacks against Jewish targets and the British forces were not always available to repel those attacks on time, the Haganah had to, as was expected by the authorities, take on many defensive functions, at least until the British army or police arrived on the scene. Sadeh and Ben Hur offered a wider interpretation of this primarily defensive function. Instead of waiting inside the perimeter of the Jewish settlements until the Arabs arrived and only then repelling by firing from fortified positions, they decided to preempt such attacks by ambushing Arab gangs and even attacking the Palestinians in their own bases.