The Altalena incident of June 1948 in which 16 Jewish fighters from the right-wing Irgun were killed by the left-wing Haganah, even after flying the white flag of surrender, was the low point in the Labor Zionist's extensive campaign against the Right. (By the way, the well-known story of the Altalena is full of disinformation). In fact, Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky once remarked that the Zionist leadership spent more effort opposing him than they did in creating the state. This is consistent with today's news that declassified documents show that legendary Leftist mayor Teddy Kollek was responsible for the arrest by the British of many right-wing Jewish activists:
A former leader of the pre-state Jewish underground that fought to drive the British out of Palestine, said Thursday that recently declassified British intelligence information indicating that the late Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek aided British authorities in the 1940's crackdown against the Jewish underground movement, was a long awaited outing of "hushed up" history.
The declassified document, which was first reported in the Yediot Aharonot daily, confirmed that Kollek supplied the names of dozens of Jewish underground activists to the British during the mandate period.
"Now the truth is finally crumbling out, it took years, but the truth is finally seeing the light," said Mordehai Tzipori, a one time Irgun (IZL) commander.
Tzipori was banished from then Palestine by the British, along with hundreds of other Jewish activists in 1944, as a result of his underground activity, and spent four years in Africa, only allowed to return after the establishment of the State of Israel.
He noted that until the rise of the Likud Party to power in 1967, he and his comrades were virtually boycotted in the country.
"For years I waited to see when these documents would come out and now the truth is finally out," Tzipori said.
"Kollek's senior position in the Jewish Agency at the time, gave him access to sensitive information that the British wanted," said Yossi Kistir, the director of the IZL museum in Tel Aviv.
"The position of the Hagana at the time, eager to gain the confidence and support of the British, was not to allow any activity by splinter groups and they actively collaborated with the British, giving them lists of names of the Jewish organizations," said Yizhak Avinoam, a former Irgun commander in Jerusalem. "The British document are historic confirmations for the actions that the Hagana, in general, and Mr. Kollek in particular took against the Jewish underground," he said.
Avinoam was exiled to Kenya in 1947 and was incarcerated there for the next year and a half.
Prof. Yehuda Lapidot, a former Irgun member, who has written a book about the Hagana's cooperation with the British, said that even though Kollek admitted to assisting the British government - boasting about his cooperation in a historical letter to a British paper - successive Israeli governments tried to keep the issue away from the public.
"Until Begin's election victory in 1977, they tried to erase this chapter from the history of the Jewish people," Lapidot said, noting that in the first decade of the Jewish state this episode did not appear in Israeli history books.
"The fact is that a whole new generation of Israelis does not know about this history at all," he added.
The Yediot report said that the Foreign Ministry had asked the UK to freeze the publication of the Kollek file until his death.
Kollek, who served as mayor of Jerusalem for nearly a quarter of a century, died in January at the age of 95.