P. 151

The Convoys War raged in the Upper Galilee, the Western Galilee, on the roads to the south and the Negev, but primarily on the road up to Jerusalem, since the Arabs made every effort to "strangle" Jewish Jerusalem, at a time when about 100 thousand people lived in it, alongside about 60 thousand Arabs in the Arab neighborhoods.
When the harassment of Jewish transportation to Jerusalem and to the other settlements began, it was determined that several vehicles would travel together, accompanied by Jewish security personnel. Within a few weeks, it became clear that only large and guarded convoys can overcome the barricades and ambushes set up by the Arabs.
The war for the road leading up to Jerusalem was crucial, and Lieutenant General (Res.) Chaim Laskov was correct when he said: "If Jerusalem is the flower of the People of Israel, then the path to it is the stem, and without a stem, there is no flower." And the first Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moshe Sharett, determined: "The convoys did not just bring up equipment, supplies and reinforcements to Jerusalem, but also the Israeli sovereignty."
How are the convoys to Jerusalem connected to the National Institutions Building? It turns out there is a deep and unequivocal connection, since the "heart" of the convoy operations to the capital in the winter and spring of 1948, the "Convoy Headquarters," resided in the National Institutions Building. To conceal it, as these were the days of the underground and the British still controlled the Land of Israel, they assigned it to the room of a clerk named Shimon Furman, someone who never existed. Furman in Yiddish – means coachman, thus alluding to the drivers who were humorously called in those days "coachmen," who were escorted by security guards – young men and women, Palmachniks, who were called not coincidentally "Foremen".
Hadassah Avigdori-Avidov, one of the escorting guards, told of this:
Our office, that of the convoy escorts, was located in the Agency's building and on its door was a small sign that read: Shimon Furman, for concealment. Thus, the office was similar to the other offices whose doors noted the names of the clerks that manned them. In our office sit the commanders, the financier and the secretary, who registered the drivers who intended to drive and the cargoes they must haul, as well as set the order of the convoy and the place of each vehicle in it, the escorts' arrangement of work, the convoy's date of departure and point of origin. The weapons and security arrangements are also organized.
The financier who was mentioned was a kind young man who smiled readily named Yossi Margalit. He was killed in his room on March 11, 1948, in the bombing of the National Institutions Building. Yet the convoys kept moving...

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