Prison Chaplain Under Mandatory Regime Honored by Ex-prisoners

The “father of the prisoners,” Rabbi Aryeh Levin, returned to his former prison haunts yesterday, but this time it was not to comfort those who had been sentenced to death. Instead he was presented with a scroll, signed by some 1,000 former prisoners of the British during the Mandate days, paying tribute to him, as part of a reunion of the former prisoners.

The ex-prisoners, one-time members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and Sternist organizations, gathered to honor Rabbi Levin, who had never been officially appointed chaplain, but devoted thirty years of his life to visiting the prisoners and comforting them. He was especially devoted to those who had been rounded up in their fight against British rule.

The former central prison in which yesterday’s reunion was held, is now a store house of the Jewish Agency. In its yard, the former prisoners lined up before the rabbi in groups labeled “Condemned to Death,” “Latrun.” “Acre,” “Jerusalem,” “Bethlehem,” and “Kenya”–according to what their sentences had been. The men and women who honored their “father”–as he had been nicknamed–include three members of the Knesset, a mayor, a number of government officials, army officers, and persons from all civilian walks of life.

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