LEHI (Hebrew) is an acronym for Lohamei 'Herut Yisrael - Freedom Fighters of Israel (also LHI
and LECHI) (also called "the
Stern Gang" after its founder, Avraham ("Yair") Stern). LEHI was founded in 1940 by Avraham Stern. It had broken away from the
Irgun in Palestine under the British Mandate
to fight the British and bring about an end to the mandate, after the mandate had closed Palestine to massive Jewish
immigration in violation of the terms of its mandate, trapping the Jews of Europe under Nazi domination.
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. Initially, LEHI carried out mostly
abortive operations against British personnel, often killing Jews by mistake instead of British personnel. In
1940 or 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. It is
not clear if the offer to set up a Nazi Jewish state was in any way motivated by ideology or if it
was just an attempt to enlist German cooperation. It is also claimed that the
letter, produced by German intelligence, may have been a forgery by Vichy French
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 aspects. 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. Stern was not a Fascist and refused
to join a Fascist movement when he had studied in Italy. He did found a
socialist Zionist youth group elsewhere in Europe. Nonetheless, LEHI members had
apparently trained in Italy.
LEHI was a self-proclaimed terror group, its terror being mostly aimed against the British. A quote from their
""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. Moyne himself was apparently not in favor of
limiting immigration, and was only carrying orders.
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. The
evidence shows Irgun and Lehi
killed over 100 Arabs, mostly women and children, and that most of them were
killed in cold blood. Apologists for the Irgun and Lehi claim that the village was firing on
the road to Jerusalem, but the site of Deir Yassin was and remains separated from the Jerusalem road by a massive
stone ridge, that would prevent any possibility of sighting the road or firing on it from Deir Yassin using artillery
or mortars. It is also claimed that the victims died when houses were dynamited, but several eyewitnesses reported that
people were shot in the head at close range, including 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
LEHI was officially absorbed into the IDF on May 31, 1948 but continued independent operations until after the
Bernadotte assassination, when it was forcibly dissolved by the Israeli government. At that point, Israeli PM Ben Gurion
gave orders to round up the LEHI fighters and to shoot those who resisted.
Synonyms and alternate spellings: