Arazi, Yehuda

(1907–54)
   Haganah leader. Arazi became legendary for his activities in supplying the Haganah with arms and organizing illegal immigration. He was born in Lodz, Poland, and emigrated to Palestine in 1923. Two years later he was instructed by the Haganah to join the Mandatory police force, where he attained officer rank and worked in the political section. During his service (1926–34), he supplied information to the Haganah. In 1936 Arazi was sent by the Haganah to Poland. He had previously made the acquaintance of a Polish intelligence officer and now organized the purchase of arms for the Haganah in Poland and Czechoslovakia. When World War II broke out, Arazi narrowly succeeded in getting out and returning to Palestine. When the Haganah decided to co-operate with the British against the common enemy, Arazi was sent to do sabotage work in Romania. When he returned to Palestine he continued purchasing arms for the Haganah but the British discovered the arms sales and he had to go underground.
   After the war he was sent to Italy and there organized the boatloads of illegal immigrants. When the Italians, under pressure from the British, attempted to prevent the departure of the refugee ships, the Eliyahu Golomb and the Dov Hos, Arazi organized a hunger strike in Italy in which he himself participated, disguised as a Dr De Paz. After a fast of some seventy-five hours, the ships were permitted to sail for Palestine. Arazi sailed with them but when at sea returned secretly by a small boat to Italy. In 1947, when war with the Arab states seemed imminent, Arazi was sent to the United States by BEN-GURION to obtain heavy arms for the yishuv. This included tanks and aircraft and even some Flying Fortresses. After Israel independence, Arazi turned to business, and set up a tourist company which also built modern hotels.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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