Mossad LeAliyah Bet

Mossad LeAliyah Bet

Mossad LeAliyah Bet

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The Mossad LeAliyah Bet (, lit. Institution for Immigration B) was a branch of the Haganah in the British Mandate of Palestine that operated to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine in violation of unilateral British restrictions. It operated from 1938 until the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. The name's origin is a play on words; the Yishuv referred to legal immigration as "Aliyah Alef", whilst illegal immigration was referred to as "Aliyah Bet".

Background

In late 1938, on the eve of Kristallnacht, the British government announced in (what became known as) the 1939 White Paper that it was to cease permitting Jewish migration to Palestine and at that point the main body of Zionism decided to cease conforming with British regulations.

Even though the Mossad LeAliyah Bet was officially founded on 29 April 1939, it had begun operating during 1938. Headed by Shaul Avigur, the Mossad was founded on the basis of the Ha'apala movement. Its activity was initially centred in Athens and later on its centre moved to Paris. The movement's leadership was drawn from both revisionist and main stream Zionist activists.

In the first years after it was created, the Mossad achieved a certain measure of success. Operating primarily through the sea, in 50 cruises it was able to bring as many as 20,000 Jewish immigrants to Palestine. When World War II broke, the Mossad became virtually...
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