Friday: Clandestine Immigration and the Bullet Factory
Whenever events in Palestine were not to the liking of the Arabs they began longer or shorter periods of rioting. In 1933 Hitler came to power and many Jews tried to leave Europe. As more and more Jews arrived in Palestine, the Arabs began a series of riots that were accompanied by strikes when they did not work or serve Jews. This proved to be an erroneous policy as the Jewish community learned to be independent during the riots of 1936-1939.
Britain had the Mandate over Palestine and did not know how to handle the situation and called for a commission of investigation which ended up with an essential withdrawal from the Balfour Declaration and a severe limitation on Jewish immigration. As Jews were trying to escape what later became known as the Holocaust Britain limited Jewish immigration (but not Arab immigration) to Palestine to a mere 75,000 over a five year period.
The Jews tried to sneak into the country in a period known as illegal or Clandestine Immigration. When more Jews came, they were placed in detention camps until they were able to obtain certificates to live in Palestine.
We visited one such detention camp which included barracks and showers that showed the insensitivity of the British. Jews escaped concentration camps to arrive into what looked like concentration camps.
Eventually, Jews began to fight the British who suffered seriously from the Jewish attacks.
From the camps in Atlit, near Haifa, we travelled to the Ayalon Bullet Factory in Rehovot. This was a camouflaged Kibbutz that secretly manufactured bullets for the guns that the Hagganah possessed. Millions of bullets were secretly produced under the nose of the British without ever being caught.
Shabbat: The Kotel, The Museum and Ben Yehudah
On Friday night we travelled to the Kotel prior to Shabbat and gathered at the egalitarian part of the Kotel. We held a very moving service completely conducted by our students who concluded with a personal prayer at the wall.
We concluded the day with a spirited Hebrew sing-song.
On Saturday morning we walked to the Israel Museum where a guide showed us the essential parts of the museum.
On Saturday night we finally went shopping on the famous Ben Yehudah Mid-Rechov.
It was a great night and we are now looking forward to our last day on Sunday when we will visit the Herzl Museum and the military cemetery.