Altalena is the name of the ship, with which the Irgun tried in the year 1948 to ship troops and material to Israel. The Altalena was designated after the alias of the Zionisten Zeev Jabotinsky.

Originally the Altalena Israel should to 15. May 1948, which achieve official day of the departure of the British mandate power. The weapon purchase and the organization of the action needed however more time than expected. The State of Israel was already with date 14. May proclaimed, so that all planning was outdated. The Irgun in Israel had agreed an agreement, according to which its units should be integrated into the again created IDF (Zahal). As return should be done without all weapon purchases.

At the 11. June left the Altalena with 940 fighters and weapons on board France.

Irgun headquarters in Paris did not inform its leaders in Israel, since it feared, the message can be intercepted. These however still experienced on the same day by radio London of running out the ship.

To 15. Begin met June and further leaders of the Irgun with representatives of the state, in order to negotiate about the further procedure. One agreed to let the ship land. The Irgun preferred the beach of Tel Aviv, the national representatives the beach of Kfar Vitkin. Controversy gave it also around the distribution of the weapons. Menachem Begin demanded and. A. to equip those into the IDF of again integrated battalions of the Irgun with the weapons contradicted the national representatives and demanded the delivery of the weapons to the army.

In the late afternoon 20. June reached the Altalena Kfar Vitkin. Begin and other leaders of the Irgun waited at the beach, than the Irgunkämpfer of board came and unloaded the ship.

While the Irgun at the beach of Kfar Vitkin unloaded the Altalena, met in Tel Aviv the members of the provisional government. Ben Gurion had arrived at the conviction that the Irgun was a threat of the state. It demanded the unconditional surrender of the Irgun and the delivery of all of its weapons. The IDF was requested to arrange all necessary one in order to move the Irgun in Kfar Vitkin to the task and the ship and the weapons konfiszieren. The commander of the Alexandroni brigade Dan Even (Epstein) was assigned to implement the instruction.

On the next day the area became spaciously surrounded around Kfar Vitkin. Dan Even requested the Irgun ultimatively to practice-give the weapons. It granted the Irgun under Menachem Begin 10 minutes considering time. Begin could not keep or did not want this ultimatum. The brigade attacked.

On switching of the settlers of Kfar Vitkin a fire break was agreed upon and the delivery of the weapons present on the beach to the army began.

In the meantime was the Altalena with Begin on board on the way after Tel Aviv. He hoped, there the remaining weapons ashore brings and at the same time new negotiations with the provisional government to lead to be able. But Ben Gurion instructed to concentrate Yigael Yadin immediately troops around Tel Aviv and to take the ship by force. At Ben Gurion the instruction, the Altalena gave to attack 16.00 o'clock. Garnet set the ship in fire.

The result of the action was the arrest of 200 fighters of the Irgun. 16 members of the Irgun and three soldiers of the IDF died with the actions into Kfat Vitkin and Tel Aviv


  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)