P. 141

Several days after the "Black Sabbath," things began to clarify. It turned out that the British arrested thousands, but not always those they particularly wanted to arrest. That was how a member of the "Haganah" National (Civilian) Headquarters Yisrael Galili and the organization's Acting Chief of Staff Yitzhak Sadeh, managed to evade them. The Head of the "Haganah" National (Civilian) Headquarters, Moshe Sneh, was not found in his Tel Aviv apartment when the British came to arrest him, and had managed to slip out of the Land of Israel several days later under a false identity.
Some miracles had also occurred. In a search of Kibbutz Mizra, the British managed to find a card catalogue of Palmach members in the organization's headquarters that resided in that kibbutz, but were unable to crack the encryption in which the names were written.
During the searches in the kibbutzim, four were killed and dozens injured. A great deal of property was looted and many British soldiers were drunk during the searches.
In Paris, Ben-Gurion was receiving regular reports on the happenings in the Land of Israel in general and in the National Institutions Building in particular, including the raid on his office and the impounding of the files and documents. He was furious at the British and told the people who worked with him: "Now we must establish a Jewish State." He also intended to return to the land of Israel as soon as possible despite the concern of being arrested. Everyone who heard about this tried to stop him and eventually he gave it up, after receiving a firm telegram from the Zionist leadership in the United States that he dares not risk himself and the entire enterprise.
Ben-Gurion was restive for many days over "the pogrom," as he called it, that the British conducted in the Jewish Yishuv, the arrest of part of its leadership and the actual looting of its home. He expressed this in speeches, letters and memoranda he wrote on this issue. Among other things, he sued the British for compensation for the damages and losses they inflicted on the Yishuv in general, and the many damages they inflicted on the National Institutions Building in Jerusalem in particular.
In the first days of July 1946, the British in the Land of Israel and in London tried to explain their extreme measures against the Jewish Yishuv. They tried "to crown" a new leadership on the Yishuv, which would replace the leadership that was imprisoned and those senior members could not return from abroad for fear of being arrested. An attempt was made to convince Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, who then resided in the Land of Israel, to accept the position of leader of the Yishuv. He refused and announced that a condition of any contact with the British was the release of the leaders.
In a debate in Parliament in London on July 1, Prime Minister Clement Attlee explained that the government was not committed to any rash action, as it had been accused by members of Parliament and several of the newspapers. It was forced to act due to the increase in Jewish

   139   140   141   142   143