Stern (Gang) Group

   Also known as LEHI (Lohamei Herut Yisrael [Fighters for the Freedom of Israel]). The Stern Gang was a Jewish underground fighting force in Palestine that was formed by Avra-ham Stern ("Yair") in 1940 after a split in the Irgun Tzvai Leumi. At the outbreak of World War II, Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky, supreme commander of the Irgun, ordered the cessation of hostile activities against the British mandatory government in Palestine. Stern, insisting that Great Britain's involvement in the war presented the Jewish National Movement with the opportunity to force London to honor its obligations toward the Jewish people, advocated the intensification of anti-British activities. LEHI's activities were strongly opposed and condemned by the majority of the Yishuv, including the Hagana, and its policies were in contradiction even to those of the mainstream Irgun. In February 1942, British police officers found Stern and shot him, and subsequently, many leaders and members of the group were arrested.
   A command composed of Nathan Friedmann Yellin, Yitzhak Shamir (formerly Yzernitzky), and Dr. Israel Scheib (Eldad) took over responsibility for the military and political activities of the organization, which became known as the "Stern Gang." It adopted a policy of individual acts of terrorism. In the summer of 1944, the LEHI command decided to extend anti-British hostilities beyond Palestine. In November 1944, Lord Moyne was assassinated in Cairo. The Stern Gang-LEHI attacked the oil refineries in Haifa and various British military installations, businesses, government offices, British military and police personnel, and army trains and other vehicles, increasingly harassing the administration. Following the United Nations Palestine Partition Plan decision of November 1947, the Stern Gang fought the Arab irregulars who attacked the Yishuv. After the proclamation of Israel's independence of 1948, it was disbanded as an independent fighting force, and its units were incorporated into the Israel Defense Forces. Friedmann Yellin was elected on a LEHI slate to the first Knesset, but attempts to develop a cohesive political program and to form a political party proved ineffectual.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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