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Ben-Yosef (Tabachnik), Shelomo


BEN-YOSEF (Tabachnik), SHELOMO (1913–1938), first Jew executed by the British in Palestine. Ben-Yosef, who was born in Lutsk, Poland, joined *Betar in 1928. In 1937 he reached Palestine as an "illegal" immigrant and joined the Betar work brigade at Rosh Pinnah. Ben-Yosef and two of his comrades, Shalom Zurabin and Avraham Shein, decided to retaliate for the murder of Jews by Arab terrorists, and on April 21, 1938, tried to attack an Arab bus on the Rosh Pinnah-Safed road. The attack failed and the three were arrested and brought before a military court. Ben-Yosef and Shein were sentenced to death and Zurabin to imprisonment. Shein was reprieved because of his youth. All efforts to save Ben-Yosef from execution were in vain. He went to the gallows at Acre prison on June 29, 1938, singing Betar songs. On the day of his execution, riots broke out in Tel Aviv when demonstrators clashed with the British police. Ben-Yosef was buried at Rosh Pinnah, and after the establishment of the State of Israel a monument was erected in his memory on the Rosh Pinnah-Safed road.


Y. Nedava, Sefer Olei ha-Gardom (1952); Dinur, Haganah, 2 pt. 3 (19642), index; Tidhar, 4 (1950), 1764–66; D. Niv, Ma'arkhot ha-Irgun ha-Ẓeva'i ha-Le'ummi, 2 (1965), 61–74.

[David Niv]

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