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Nebi Daniel Convoy Definition

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Nebi Daniel Convoy - Nebi Daniel is located on the road between Jerusalem and the Etzion bloc (Gush Etzion), near Bethlehem. A bend  in the road provided a convenient place for an ambush.

The ambush of the Nebi Daniel Convoy was part of the "war of the roads" during the Israel War of Independence. The first phase of Israel's War of Independence began immediately after the UN Partition Plan, Resolution 181, was announced on November 29, 1947.  Blockading of roads to isolated Jewish settlements was part of the Arab plan for genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, announced by the Arab League.

In March 1948, the Haganah decided to significantly reinforce the Etzion Bloc (Gush Etzion) to prepare it for siege. David Ben-Gurion insisted that no settlement was to be abandoned at whatever price. Besides, Gush Etzion sat astride the road from Aqaba to Jerusalem, and could disrupt the steady flow of supplies that the British were unloading in Aqaba for the Arab forces in Jerusalem.

A large convoy was planned, carrying supplies, military equipment and troops. As several convoys had been ambushed, the need for surprise and rapid movement was known in advance. The convoy was to leave Jerusalem at 4:30 in the morning, to reach the Etzion Bloc within an hour,  unload within 15 minutes at most and then to set out on the return journey. The Arabs would thus not have a chance to set up roadblocks and the convoy could return safely to Jerusalem. But things did not go according to plan.

The convoy included virtually all of the armored cars and vehicles of the Haganah in Jerusalem. There were 33 armor-plated trucks carrying supplies, 4 armor-plated buses carrying unarmed troops to replace those at the Bloc, and 14 escorting armored cars. It set out two hours late. They reached the Bloc an hour later without incident and the supplies were rapidly unloaded. However, the convoy was delayed for two hours by attempts to load the fuselage of a damaged Piper cub onto one of the trucks and a prize seed bull, which was to be transported to Jerusalem, but refused to mount the truck.

This delay and the late start sealed the fate of the convoy. It was traveling in broad daylight. Near Nebi Daniel, several kilometers southwest of Bethlehem, the convoy encountered an impassable roadblock and came to a halt. The convoy remained stranded on the road, unable to move. The Arabs, positioned on both sides of the road, opened fire, and the fighters abandoned their vehicles and took up positions in a nearby isolated house. The command vehicle and some others managed to withdraw to the Etzion Bloc.

The Haganah had no resources to extricate the convoy. Reluctantly, Shaltiel, CO Jerusalem district, contacted the British and ask for their help. The British did nothing until the following day. The British stipulated that the Jewish troops had to surrender their arms and return to Jerusalem unarmed, as part of the deal they made with the Arabs.

Jewish casualties at Nebi Daniel numbered 14 or 15 dead and 73 wounded. About 150 weapons were lost. Losses included 10 armored cars, 4 armored buses and 25 armor-plated trucks - most of the Haganah's fleet of armored transport vehicles. (account based on (Collins and Lapierre, O Jerusaelm!, 1973 and other sources).

 Arabs had 25 dead and 60 wounded (Levi 1986 p 444)

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:  Israel War of Independence

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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This work and individual entries are copyright 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel


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