Joanna M. Saidel

Altalena: The ship that never stopped burning

Altalena burns (photo credit: Israel Government Press Office)

This is the 67th anniversary of the sinking of the Irgun ship, Altalena, by the Haganah, off the coast of Kfar Vitkin, causing a major, long lasting rift between Israeli political parties.

The players?

Former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, Irgun commander of the ship, who made an agreement with…

Former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, Haganah leader who ordered the firing of the “Holy Canon” that sunk the ship;

Former Prime Minister and Lehi leader, Yitzhak Shamir, who condemned the event and the actions of…

Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban, who praised the sinking of the ship and  was thereby lambasted by…

Prime Minister Begin’s advisor and member of the Irgun High Command, Shmuel Katz, who called Eban a “bastard,” a “pathological liar,” “dishonest,” and “a terrific blower to his own trumpet.”

Read all about it in my Times of Israel  article, “Fire in the Hole: Blasting Atlalena

About the Author
Joanna M. Saidel, Ph.D was the personal research assistant for the late Professor Benzion Netanyahu, father of the current prime minister, from 2000 to 2010. She authored the Doctoral dissertation, Revisionist Zionism in America: The Campaign to Win American Public Support, 1939-1948, and the Master’s thesis, Jewish Life in Latin America. She was awarded "First Place" in the International Art Competition, "My Jerusalem," by Mayor Teddy Kollek and Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
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