An Israeli museum proudly tells the story of how Jewish militias were preparing for their “war of independance” to expel Palestinians long before 1947/48. The Jewish National Fund (KKL in Israel) today conducts regular day-long educational tours for groups of (mostly American Jewish) tourists visiting Israel. The Ayalon Institute – an underground munitions factory for Zionist militias – was one stop on the tour I took. Read more….
Our guide led our small group down a narrow spiral staircase under a modest looking building in what was once a “kibbutz” in the northern Negev desert in Israel. In the cramped basement quarters, I saw a model of men and women preparing guns and ammunition in preparation for a coming war. This is the Ayalon Institute, today an Israeli museum, which I visited on a day long tour of the Negev organized by The Jewish National Fund known in Israel as the KKL.
Beginning in 1932, this building was ostensibly the bakery for a kibbutz. But under each of the rooms there lay a trap door; one beneath the bakery’s 10-ton oven and the other under the drum of the deceptively lightweight washer.
By moving the fake washer, entrance was gained to the underground weapons factory.
A young Israeli guide explained to our group that as early as 1932, Zionist pioneers worked clandestinely under the eyes of the British, to produce the bullets they planned to use in the coming military struggle to take over Palestine and create a Jewish State.
Read more and see more pics at Ayalon Institute website.
The Zionists were preparing for what they would call Israel’s “War of Independence”. The Palestinians would call it the “Nakba”.
NOTE: My tour took place before current COVID restrictions on travel to Israel were applied. A description of the entire JNF organized tour can be found at “One Day Tour of the Northern Negev” and will probably be eventually reinstated. During the whole day, we didn’t see any Palestinians or any Bedouins. In fact, they were hardly even mentioned. Remarkable.
Of the 7 participants on my tour, only two of us were not Jewish. But in principle the tour is open to anybody interested. At $50 US, including lunch, the JNF tours are cheap and interesting for anyone interested in Zionist history and Zionist thinking.
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