Israeli Government Outlaws Terrorist Groups; Hundreds of Sternists Rounded Up
Menu JTA Search

Israeli Government Outlaws Terrorist Groups; Hundreds of Sternists Rounded Up

Download PDF for this date

Emergency regulations to halt the spread of antigovernment terror, outlawing underground terroristic organizations and making membership in them illegal as well as declaring all aid to such extremists a crime were promulgated in Israel today following a four-hour meeting of the Cabinet. All Cabinet officers have been armed and provided with armed escorts.

Issuance of the regulations, approved in principle and in the draft from by the Cabinet and not requiring further authorization from the State Council, came during a day which saw vigorous action to apprehend the murderers of Count Folke Bernsdotte and Col. Andre Serot, his aide. Although the curfew imposed in Jerusalem early yesterday were lifted today to permit life to return to normal, raids were being carried out on all know and suspected Sternist centers.

In parallel actions in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and other parts of Israel hundreds of Sternists were rounded up and their documents and files confiscated. Two hundred Sternists have been transferred to Jaffa where it is planned to draft them into the Israeli Army.

Meanwhile, a Sternist underground appeal declared that the “Ben Gurion Government is using the methods of the British” against the Sternists although their party is now legally registered with the government. “Because somebody of our complicity, our people are being arrested and our offices are being closed.”

A confession of responsibility for the assassinations was sent to all foreign consulates in Jerusalem yesterday by a group which signed itself “Hazith Hamoledeth–Fatherland Front. The government asserts that this is a splinter group of the Sternist movement, but a Sternist source insisted that “we never heard of it.” The Fatherland Front note said: “We killed Bernadotte because he worked for the British and carried out their order.”


Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok and Dr. Ralph Bunche, American U.N. official who has been named temporarily to succeed Bernadotte as head of the mediation and truce machinery, conferred here today for over an hour. Shertok expressed Israel’s sympathy and sorrow at the murder and outlined the measures which the government is taking to apprehend the assassins. Bunche reported that U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie had placed the Palestine situation on the General Assembly agenda and that Gen. Aage Lundstroem, U.N. aide to Bunche, has been ordered to make an investigation of the incident. Bunche’s earlier statement holding the Israeli Government responsible for the deed was not discussed.

Bunche’s blast, addressed to Shertok, yesterday said, “the act constitutes a breach of the truce of the utmost gravity for which the Provisional Government of Israel must assume full responsibility.” He added that statements by Shertok and gal Yadin, Army Chief of Operations, to the effect that the truce was not being served carefully and that the observation staff was too small to do the job, are “not the kind of statements which would be calculated to discourage reprehensible acts of this kind.”

Last night, a government statement deplored Bunche’s “recriminatory” note and appointed out that the murder was carefully premeditated and could not have been influenced by Shertok’s statements which were published only Friday morning. In addition, the spokesman said, the Shertok and Yadin criticisms were not aimed at Bernadotte but at the observation set-up.


The bodies of Bernadotte and Serot were today placed aboard a plane for Geneva after a Solemn Ceremony at Haifa where they had lain in state overnight. Representatives of the Israeli Government were present at today’s ceremony. The bodies were brought to Haifa yesterday from Jerusalem under armed escort.

Lundstroem was informed today that he and other U.N. personnel who witnessed the murders would be asked to check all arrested suspects in a line-up in an attempt to identify the killers. Shortly after the Cabinet’s first session on the assassination, an official statement was issued. It declared that the government was taking all steps to mobilize the power of the state to stamp out this “treason at home.” It added that the “Jerusalem outrage is a stab in the back of the Israeli Army” and the “act also attempts to sever the good relations between the state of Israel and the United Nations and it is a desecration of Jerusalem’s holiness.”

Lundstroem’s statement yesterday that the truce is still in effect, was given additional support today with the announcement that the U.N. staff had finally worked out an agreement whereby the Israelis will be permitted to use a disputed road in the Negev for supplying settlements behind the Egyptian lines. Under the agreement the Jews will be permitted the use of the road for six hours out of each 24 and the Arabs will use the road for a like period.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund