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British Troops Invade Tel Aviv in Hunt for Floggers; Jew Doomed for Attack on Plice Hq

January 2, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A full brigade of the British Sixth Airborne Division, assisted by police and accompanied by armored cars, tanks and light artillery moved into the Karton quarter of Tel Aviv, in the south-West portion of the city, at dawn today and launched house-to-house raids in search of the persons who flogged a British officer and three sergeants on Sunday.

A curfew was clamped down on the area until late afternoon and thousands of persons were questioned. All boys and men between the ages of 15 and 50 were screened in barbed-wire cages and 47 were held for further interrogation. Among the raiders were two of the sergeants who were whipped. High municipal authorities were invited to witnese the operation, which ended around 5 p.m.

While the raid was in progress, a British military court sitting in Jerusalem sentenced to death Dov Gruner, 33, a vetern of four years’ service with the British armed forces, at the conclusion of a one-day trial at which he was convicted of participating in an attack by the Irgun Zvai Leumi on a police station at Ramat Gan last April 23.


After the sentence had been read, Gruner, who was just released from a military hospital where he spent six months as a result of wounds suffered during the raid, rose and cried out in Hebrew: “In blood and in fire Judah fell; in blood and in fire Judah will rise.” At the opening of the trial, he had spurned the aid of counsel and declared that he did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court.

In reply to questions from the president of the tribunal, he read a statement charging the British with converting the Mandate into a scrap of paper and added: “You share the Germans’ desire to annihilate the Jewish people.” He accused the British of “converting Palestine into one of your strongholds, while you rob our litale country.”

Gruner’s sentence, coming as it does on the heels of the flogging incidents and the military authorities’ confirmation on Monday of a flegging sentence imposed on a second Jewish youth, can be expected to increase the tension in the country, responsible Jewish circles pointed out. They charged that Lieut. Gen. Sir Evelyn Barker’s refusal to reverse the sentence of 12 lashes imposed on 17-year-old Aaron Cohen is “open provocation by an officer who will not bear the responsibility, since he is leaving Palestine shortly.” Barker is to be relieved within the next month or two.


During searches in Nathanya, Petach Tikvah and Rishon Le Zion for the terrorists who whipped the officers and three soldiers, troops brutally beat many Jews, desecrated a synagogue, looted homes and stole many valuables, according to reports received today.

The searches ended yesterday afternoon, when the curfew which had been imposed on the three towns was lifted and the troops withdrewn. Of 2,500 persons screamed. 49 were detained for further interrogation. One, Eliahu Weinberger, was allegedly recognized by Major Paddy Brett, the flogged officer, as one of the men who kidnapped him. The men who are being held were sent to Latrun detention camp.


In Rishon Le Zion, many residents were beaten when they were unable to continue to stand facing a wall with their hands above their heads as directed by the interrogating officers. In Petach Tikvah, pews were damaged in several synagogues and two sets of tephlim were stolen. A huge swastika was scrawled on a blackboard in a schoolroom with the words “Red Jews” under it.

Mayor Joseph Saphir of Petach Tikvah filed a formal protest with the officer in charge, while the head of the local council in Rishon Le Zion refused to sign a document presented to him after the searches by the commanding officer, stating that the hunt had passed without incident.

Jerusalem resembled a dead city on New Year’s Eye, with shops, cafes and places of entertainment closed down to prevent incidents by celebrating soldiers. Most Jews stayed off the streets. Earlier yesterday all roads leading out of Jerusalem were combed.

The Irgun secret radio, “Voice of Fighting Zion,” warned tonight that night attacks on British army transport in Palestine, which had been called off for the duration of the Zionist Congress, will be resumed.

In a second cable to several Palestine papers, Rep. Joseph Clark Baldwin, chairman of the Political Actions Committee for Palestine said that his recent appeal to Irgun leader Meanchen Begin to suspend operations had been conditioned on the British not offering any provocations. However, in view of the flogging of Benjamin Kimchin last week, he was withdrawing his appeal, Baldwin added.

A Jewish Agency spokesman yesterday read several cables from prominent Jewish Agency leaders in Basle, including Moshe Shertok, Moshe Sneh and Goldie Meirson, condemning the whipping of the British soldiers and calling on the Jewish community to take all necessary steps to end such “rowdyism.”

Moshe Saadia, a Jewish youth who was kidnapped from his home in Jerusalem a few days ago, yesterday appeared at the Red Mogen David station in Tel Aviv asking for medical aid. He stated that he had escaped from Sternists who placed him “on trial” near an Arab cemetery in the vicinity of Tel Aviv and tortured him. He showed signs of injuries and was admitted to the hospital where he is under police guard.

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