Tel Hai

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Pioneer Jewish settlement in Palestine that became a national symbol.

Tel Hai is a Jewish settlement founded in 1918 in Galilee, on the northern frontier of Palestine, as an attempt to influence the drawing of the boundary between British and French colonial possessions. After the British gave up responsibility for Syria and Lebanon at the end of World War I, and before the French Mandate began, a hiatus in authority led to irregular warfare endangering Jewish settlements in the undefined upper Galilee/northern border area. Many Zionist leaders, among them Vladimir Zeʾev Jabotinsky, advised the small number of settlers at Tel Hai to withdraw because a reasonable defense could not be mounted. They remained, and six Jews died in the final attack in 1920, among them the military hero Yosef Trumpeldor, who had been sent to organize their defense. Tel Hai became a national symbol of the determination of Zionists to hold on to settlements at all costs and a metaphor for the principle that Jewish national life in Palestine required personal sacrifice.

see also trumpeldor, yosef.


Zerubavel, Yael. "The Historic, the Legendary, and the Incredible: Invented Tradition and Collective Memory in Israel." In Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity, edited by John R. Gillis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Zerubavel, Yael. Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

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