Irgun

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Irgun (Hebrew: ארגון‎; shorthand for Ha'Irgun HaTzva'i HaLe'umi BeEretz Yisra'el, הארגון הצבאי הלאומי בארץ ישראל, "National Military Organization in the Land of Israel") was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in the British mandate of Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah (Hebrew: "The Defense", ההגנה). Since the group originally broke from the Haganah it became known as the Haganah Bet (Hebrew: literally "Defense 'B' " or "Second Defense", הגנה ב), or alternatively as Haganah Ha'leumit (ההגנה הלאומית) or Ha'ma'amad (המעמד‎).[1] Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defence Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. In present-day Israel, the Irgun is commonly referred to as Etzel (אצ"ל), an acronym of the Hebrew initials.

The Irgun policy was based on what was then called Revisionist Zionism founded by Ze'ev Jabotinsky. According to Howard Sachar, "The policy of the new organization was based squarely on Jabotinsky's teachings: every Jew had the right to enter Palestine; only active retaliation would deter the Arabs; only Jewish armed force would ensure the Jewish state".[2]

Some of the better-known attacks by the Irgun were the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946 and the Deir Yassin massacre (carried out together with Lehi) on 9 April 1948.

Critics of the Irgun have seen it as a terrorist organization. It was legally classified as such by the new State of Israel in 1948.[3]

The Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel's right-wing Herut (or "Freedom") party, which led to today's Likud party. Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977.

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