Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Trojan Guards

Seems like the most colorful stories from history of humanity were invented either by malice or incompetence. Only later to become great analogies for events in real life. The story of Trojan Horse is one of those. Troy or no Troy, just how big would it have to be to fit all those warriors inside? How heavy? How did they moved it on rough terrain, on wheels that at the time had no axis because it wasn't invented yet? How clueless would Trojans have to be to not even take a look inside a wooden box of "enough space to fit an assault team" proportions? How clueless did Greeks had to be to leave a defenseless team of warriors in the horse, at the mercy of Trojan stupidity?

In short, Trojan horse was not ment to be. Yet, the idea of "Trojan horse" is alive and kicking. Meet Ariel Sharon. One of the most celebrated heroes in Israeli history. One of the most capable generals Israeli army ever had to offer, the man behind some of the most crucial victories of Israel Defense Forces. Co-founder (with Har-Zion) of the famous counter-terror Paratrooper Unit 101. Inspirer of the movement to settle Judea and Samaria. Co-creator of the major right wing Likud party. National political leader. Prime minister. Nation's savior. A living legend. Arik Sharon, the Man and the Steamer.

From the beginning Sharon's ambitions were very big, and he never was right- or left- wing. For example, in the beginning of his career he almost created a party by unifying whatever he was organizing at the time with radical left wing party of the time. That party eventually backed out after realizing who they are dealing with. So he joined Likud instead.

But long before that he was a soldier of Hagana. Being led by left wing ideologists Hagana was acting against Etzel and Lehi, the other two jewish military organizations of the time. This activity culminated in the sucking of Altalena, weapons-filled ship brought in by Etzel in the midst of the first war with Arabs. During the incident Hagana ("Palmah" at the time) soldiers were ordered to fire on Jewish sailors on the ship. To stop the bloodshed, trying to prevent war between brothers, Etzel soldiers laid down arms without resistance. Name of commander of soldiers that fired on Altalena was by the way Itzhak Rabin. Etzel veterans say if the ship wasn't sunk the entire Jerusalem would be in our hands in 1948...

Another big "activity" of Hagana was so called operation "Season" (1944 - 1945) aka "the hunting season". There was the Big Season, during which Hagana operatives kidnapped undercover Etzel operatives and handed them over into hands of British army. At that time Sharon was going to join Hagana, but did not do so because his father asked him not to. There was also the Little Season. During Little Season Hagana soldiers were only beating up and torturing Etzel and Lehi activists. According to Ben-Ami Zamir, still alive today, Sharon was head of one of such "assault" groups. He walked everywhere with his group and hoe's handle in his hands. Ben-Ami was "lucky" enough to be personally beaten with that handle by the future hero of Israel. Sharon simply showed up at the coffee house he was in, asked for some lemonade, and when Ben-Ami bended to get some, stroke him down. His group then trashed the coffee house, and escaped in a truck...

I wonder if he still keeps that club around.

4 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

But why did they do those things?

Yury Puzis said...

Do you mean why Hagana did those things to Etzel? They tried to disintegrate Etzel, “мытьём или катаньем”. Etzel refused to be melt down in the same pot with Hagana. So they tried to had as many as possible arrested or intimidated. Killed if nessesary. Etzel could morph into IDF forces instead of Hagana. Menahem Begin could become the prime minister. For left leadership of the "Yeshuv" it was equivalent of catastrophe. That's why they were doing this. Power. Ironically Begin later did became a prime minister, and following Sharon's advice (!) gave up the entire Sinai peninsula. But reason for that is a story in itself. In Israel the rift between right and left is a chasm. As spmeone once said, “the true left wing party is Likud. Anything left to Likud is out of state”.

Irina Tsukerman said...

I just don't understand those people. You'd think given Jewish history, they'd learn by now... But no.

Yury Puzis said...

Unfortunately most people don't even learn history, let alone from history... Besides, nowdays historical record is so twisted, you can't just learn it, you have to investigate it. Most don't care enough.