Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Yitzhak Ben Ami, a leading activist in the 1930’s and 1940’s in efforts to establish a Jewish State in Palestine. He died of a heart attack in his Manhattan home Monday at the age of 71.
Born in Palestine, Ben Ami was educated in the Herzliya Gymnasia in Tel Aviv and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He joined the Irgun Zvileumi in 1932. In 1939, together with Irish Jewish leader Robert Brisco and Col. John Patterson, he founded the American Friends for a for illegal immigration to Palestine which was then under the British Mandate.
Later, he was co-organizer of the Committee for a Jewish Army and the Emergency Committee to save the Jewish People of Europe. From 1946 to 1948, Ben Ami was executive director of the American League for a Free Palestine. He was a long-time activist of the Herut Zionists of American and a member of its executive board.
Ben Ami was on the ship Altalena when the Irgun attempted to bring arms to Israel in June, 1948. The vessel arrived during a cease-fire and its unloading was forbidden by the Israel government. The order was resisted and the ship was destroyed off the coast of Tel Aviv with some loss of life.
In addition to his political activism, Ben Ami was also an author. His last book, ” Years of Wrath, Days of Glory; Memoirs of the Irgun, ” was published in 1983 by Shengold Publishers, Inc. of New York.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.