In Their Own Words

Aryeh Ben Eliezer


Aryeh Ben Eliezer who too had escaped from British internment in Africa had, together with Yitshak Izernitzky, a member of the Lehi leadership, reached Djibouti in French Somaliland and had there spent nearly a year seeking a way of returning to Palestine or at least reaching Europe. 

For months it was feared that the British might persuade the French authorities to hand over the two escapes.


The French however, after representations had been made to them in Paris, decided to apply to the two men the “theory of the right to asylum.”


Finally Ben Eliezer and Izernitzky were not only granted visas to outer Metropolitan France.


When it was pointed out in Paris that in passing through the Suez Canal they would be subject to British surveillance and possible recapture – the French Government decided that the “refugees” would be transported under direct French protection.


It was thus that, the day after my return to Paris, Ben Eliezer and Izernitzky arrived at Toulon aboard the French warship Dixmude.


I had not seen Ben Eliezer since the day twelve years earlier when he had driven me and Haskel and Marie Gattegno to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv at breakneck speed.


He had later been active in America for several years as a member of Hillel Kook’s group.


It was at their instance that he had come to Palestine at the end of 1943.


It was he who had proposed the transfer of leadership from Meridor to

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