Altalena Affair

   In June 1948, a ship arrived on the coast of Israel from France with immigrants (see ALIYA) and arms and ammunition for delivery to the Irgun. The nascent government under Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered that the ship and its cargo be placed at its disposal, but the Irgun refused. In the subsequent battle between the army and the Irgun, the government prevailed, and the ship was sunk. Soon afterward, the Irgun was disbanded, and its members were incorporated into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The incident made it clear that the government would not tolerate challenges to its authority or the existence of armed forces competing with the IDF. The incident contributed to the personal animosity between Menachem Begin and Ben-Gurion that characterized Israeli politics in subsequent decades.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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