Arazi, Yehuda

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ARAZI, YEHUDA (1907–1959), Haganah leader and organizer of "illegal" immigration to Palestine. Arazi was born in Lodz, then Russian Poland, and settled in Palestine in 1923. While serving with the Palestine Police from 1926 until 1934, he passed on information to the *Haganah, helped its prisoners, and engaged in arms smuggling. In 1936–39 Arazi secretly purchased arms from the Polish government which were smuggled into Palestine. During the early part of World War ii, Arazi continued to buy arms for the Haganah, particularly from British Army sources in the Middle East and North Africa. His activities were discovered by the British in 1943, but Arazi evaded capture. At the end of the war, he left Palestine illegally, went to Italy and was appointed head of "illegal" immigration activities there. In the spring of 1946 the Italian authorities tried to prevent the departure of two refugee ships, Eliyahu Golomb and Dov Hos, which were carrying Jewish survivors of the holocaust as "illegal" immigrants. Arazi organized a mass hunger strike of the refugees. The pressure of world opinion forced the British government to permit the entrance of the ships with their passengers into Palestine. In the summer of 1947 Arazi went to the U.S. and organized the purchase and smuggling of light and heavy arms and aircraft to the Haganah. A considerable amount of material reached Palestine.


Dinur, Haganah, 2 pt. 3 (1963); A. Cohen (ed.), Be-Ru'aḥ Se'arah (1966); Tidhar, 5 (1952), 2260. add. bibliography: A. Cohen, Alon be-Sa'ar (1973).

[Yehuda Slutsky]