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Yehiam Convoy - Definition

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Yehiam Convoy - (Hebrew - Shayeret Yehiam) - A convoy that was intercepted at Kabri on March 27, 1948, attempting to bring supplies to Kibbutz Yehiam in Northern Israel. The incident was part of the "war of the roads" during the Israel War of Independence. Yehiam is a Kibbutz of Hashomer Hatzair in the Western Galilee, about 10 KM due east of Nahariyah. It was founded as Kibbutz HaSela, (the Rock) named after a local crusader fort. It was renamed Yehiam after Yehiam Weitz, son of Jewish Agency official Joseph Weitz. Yehiam Weitz was killed in the "Night of the Bridges" in 1947.

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. Following is excerpted from an account by Haddassah Bat Haim:

One of the survivors, Rivka Gershon, describes the event. The details are engraved in her memory; retelling it her face reflects the desperation of that dreadful night.

Kibbutz Yehiam was, like the rest of Western Galilee, under siege. Supplies were short and the defenders of the settlements were running out of ammunition. A convoy was planned to be led by Ben Ami Pachter, aged twenty two, but the date had to be postponed as word reached that many enemy troops were deployed along the route. A week later, seven trucks, loaded with supplies and personnel, set off from Kiryat Haim.

Rivka recalls. “We were near Kabri, going very slowly because obstacles in the way had to be cleared, when suddenly on both sides of the road the bushes exploded with bullets. Ben Ami was in the lead car. He stuck his head out of the window and shouted to those behind that it was an ambush and that they should get out anyway they could. He had no time to say more. A bullet hit him in the head and the car, with his body and others who were wounded, reached Yehiam shortly afterwards.”

Rivka’s truck was the fifth in line and the driver tried to force the vehicle up a small track which he thought led out of the line of fire. But all their tires had been punctured and driving was out of the question. The noise of gunfire and yelling was very close. Rivka discovered that she had been wounded. A ricochet had torn a strip of skin off her scalp and blood was running into her eye. Her leg had been hurt too, but she was still able to move.

The group tried to figure out how they could get to safety. Several of them were badly hurt and could only be saved by immersing their bodies in a nearby stream, with their heads in the reeds to wait till medical help could reach them. A small party went cautiously ahead, in what they hoped was the right direction. ýRivka, with two companions, also wounded, followed slowly.

Rivka and one of the boys crawled and dragged their way through the tall grass and over stones. Several times they hid in holes in the ground. They were afraid to cry out, desperately readying their precious Sten guns, which they had not relinquished. Darkness helped their progress a little as Rivka was slightly familiar with the terrain and they could stand up without fear of being seen.

Ragged and exhausted finally they came to the outskirts of Naharia. The moment Rivka heard a voice in Hebrew inquiring who was there, she fainted, to wake up in a hospital. Her companion also survived and ten of the sixteen from her truck eventually found their way back or were rescued. Of the forty-seven killed, all were between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two. Yehiam held out in spite of everything and the siege was lifted in May 1948.( source: W.Z.O. Department of Information, 1982)

Synonyms and alternate spellings: Yechiam Convoy

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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