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LEHI Definition

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LEHI- (Hebrew) - Acronym for Lohamei 'Herut Yisrael - Freedom Fighters of Israel (also LHI)  (also called "the Stern Gang" after its founder, Avraham ("Yair") Stern. Organization founded 1940 by Avraham Stern as the Irgun Tzvai Leumi Beyisrael (National Military Organization in Israel), a breakaway from the Irgun in Palestine under the British Mandate to fight the British and bring about an end to the mandate. Lehi disagreed with the Zionist program of cooperating with the British in fighting the Axis powers, because the British were preventing Jewish immigration to Palestine.   Irgun Tzvai Leumi Beyisrael  carried out mostly abortive operations against British personnel initially, killing Jews instead of British personnel. In 1941 LEHI tried to offer cooperation to the Nazis in a bizarre attempt to enlist German aid against the British and to save the Jews of Europe. Stern was killed by the British in 1942. The group was then reorganized by Yitzhak Shamir, Nathan Yellin-Mor and Israel Eldad as LEHI.  The  Lehi had leftist anti-imperialist ideological components as well as right-wing ones. It refused to be accountable to any Zionist organization including the Jewish agency, but the entire Jewish community had to suffer the consequences of its actions.

LEHI was a self-proclaimed terror group, its terror being aimed against the British. A quote from their newspaper reads:

""But above all terror is part of our political battle under present conditions and its role is large and great:..."

(He 'hazit - the front - Issue 2, August 1943).

LEHI was responsible  for the following operations:

1944 - Assassination in Cairo of Lord Moyne. Moyne was in charge of British immigration policy. The result of the assassination was to turn Winston Churchill against the Zionist project.

1948 - Participated with the Irgun in the attack and massacre at Deir Yassin. This was an attack on an Arab village near Jerusalem that had a pact with the neighboring village of Givat Shaul, approved by the Jewish Agency. The attack was carried out against the advice of the Haganah and without the knowledge of Zionist leadership. It turned into a massacre apparently, though it was not planned as such. Four Irgun and LEHI fighters were killed and over 100 Arabs, mostly women and children.

1948 - Assassination of U.N. Mediator Count Bernadotte in Jerusalem. This created a bad atmosphere for Israel in the UN and was in part responsible for UN Resolution 194, which called on Israel to allow Palestinian Arab refugees to return.

LEHI was officially absorbed into the IDF on May 31, 1948 but continued independent operations. After the assassination of Count Bernadotte it was forcefully disbanded.

Synonyms and alternate spellings: LHI L"HI Stern Gang

Further Information: 

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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