List of Irgun members

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This is a list of notable members of the Irgun, either having been listed by the Irgun's website[1] or by reputable independent sources .

Former Irgun members[2] have held positions of highest influence in the Israeli political and security establishments since independence, and the lasting effect of the ideology espoused by extremist groups such as the Irgun and the Lehi continues to be a source of active research and debate among responsible historians and political observers to this day.

Persons listed on the Irgun website[edit]

Irgun Chief Commanders[edit]

The Gallows[edit]

The Irgun website lists the following as having been executed during the British occupation; though many were indeed hanged at places such Acre Prison, others were killed during firefights, or committed suicide to avoid capture.

See also: Olei Hagardom

Senior Commanders[edit]

  • Aharoni, Yaakov-Sika
  • Elis, Shraga – "took part in planning the blowing up of the King David Hotel, the attack on the British officers club and other operations."
  • Amitai, Shmuel (1920–1998)
  • Amitzur, Bezalel – later chairman of the board of directors of Maman Aerospace, and founded the Irgun Museum at Jabotinsky House.
  • Amrami, Yaakov (1916–1996) – set up the Hadar publishing house, which mainly published books connected with the anti-British underground. Wrote a book entitled Hadvarim Gdolim Hem Me-itanu (Hadar, 1994).
  • Ashbel Michael (1922–1947) known as Mike. At first sentenced to death by hanging together with IZL member Yosef Simchon. After the IZL captured two British officers their sentence was lightened to lifetime in prison. Michael was killed during the Acre prison breakout - for six hours the British let him bleed to death in the Acre police courtyard. He wrote several songs which became well known throughout Israel ('Little Sarah - Upon Barricades' etc.)
  • Assaf, Avraham (1914–1980)
  • Avinoam, Yitzhak (1921-2015) – Head of Irgun intelligence branch, and Irgun district commander in Jerusalem from 1945 to 1947. Irgun operations carried out in the Jerusalem area during his time as district commander include a bombing of the local British intelligence offices, the King David Hotel bombing, the bombing of the Goldschmidt Officer's Club, and the attack on the Schneller Camp. Arrested in March 1947, exiled to Eritrea, and returned to Israel in July 1948.
  • Avni, Yosef – took part in a bombing of the British intelligence offices in Jerusalem, the King David Hotel bombing (where he commanded the first group ("the porters") that arrived at the King David Hotel prior to Yisrael Levi's "strike force"), the attack on the Schneller Camp. Arrested in 1947 and detained in Latrun, he was released in March 1948 and took part in the attack on Deir Yassin (where he was wounded during an attack on the Mukhtar's house).
  • Ben-Eliezer, Aryeh (1913–1970) – co-founder, Committee for the Rescue of European Jewry and later on the Committee for National Liberation. Elected to the Knesset as a Herut member and served as Deputy Speaker.
  • Cohen Dov ("Shimshon") (1915–1947) Served in the British army until 1945. An excellent officer. Joined the Irgun and commanded the Acre Prison break, in in which he was killed while trying to save his men.
  • Cohen, Ben-Zion ("Giora") – "[c]ommanded the capture of the village of Dir Yassin and served as deputy commander in the capture of Malha." Later joined the IDF and attained the rank of Major, and "participated in various security projects within the framework of Raphael (The Authority for Development of Weapons)."
  • Cohen, Rahamim ("Gad")
  • Efrat, Dov
  • Eliav, Yaakov ("Yashka") (1917–1985) – during the split the Irgun, sided with Avraham Stern and became one of the founders of the Lehi, and later, its Chief Operating Officer for several years.
  • Fallan, Chaim
  • Germant, Natan-Niko ("Shimshon")
  • Gershoni, Shalom ("Nachum") (1916–1991)
  • Globman-Naot, Yehuda ("Avitagar")
  • Goldshmid, Yehoshua ('Gal") (1925–1948) – took part in KDH bombing, attack on Camp Schneller, planned the attack on Deir Yassin, and led the capture of the police academy at Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem on May 14, 1948. Killed in action on May 19, 1948, during an Arab Legion counterattack on the police academy. The youngest Irgun member to be commander of Jerusalem. Admired by all who knew him.
  • Grosbard, David (1915–1990) – served as a member of the central institutions of the Herut movement and manager of the Herut newspaper.
  • Heichman, Aharon – listed by other sources as a High Commander;[3] later a manager of ZOA House in Tel Aviv.
  • Hillel, Yaakov ("Asher") – according to the Irgun website, "took part in reprisals against Arabs rioters", in the blowing up of income tax offices in Haifa and in the embarkation of the Altalena from France.
  • Katz, Shmuel (b. 1914) – one of the founders of the Herut movement and a member of the First Knesset; was later inivited by Menachim Begin to be his propaganda advisor.
  • Koenig, Zvi ("Yishai") (1924–1948)
  • Kook, Hillel – operating within the U.S. during WW II, set up the Committee for the Rescue of European Jewry, and the Hebrew Committee for National Liberation. Elected to the First Knesset as a Herut member.
  • Landau, Haim ("Avraham") (1916–1981) – Herut founder, Knesset member, held positions in the Begin government.
  • Lapidot, Yehuda ("Nimrod") – commanding roles in the assault on Ramat Rachel and in Operation Kedem; later an advisor to Begin and noted author.
  • Lenkin, Eliyahu ("Benyamin") (1914–1994) – commanded the Altalena; later a battalion commander in the IDF, and a member of the first Knesset.
  • Lev-Ami, Shlomo
  • Levi, Yisrael ("Gideon") (1926–1990) – commanded the "strike force" that delivered explosives to the King David Hotel.
  • Levi, Yosef ("Uzi") (1916–1948)
  • Livni, Eitan (1919–1992) – took part in the Night of the Trains attack, a joint Irgun-Lehi-Haganah bombing of the country's railroad network on October 31-November 1, 1945. Later active in the Herut movement and served as member of the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Knessets; father of Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni. Eitan's gravestone bears a map of Greater Israel with borders extending out to the Jordan River.[4]
  • Malatzky, Menahem
  • Mazali (Pshadetzky) Aryeh (1917–1983)
  • Meiten, Shmuel
  • Meridor (Vizhvolovsky) Eliyahu ("Dan") (1914–1966) – active in the Herut movement and member of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Knesset; father of Finance Minister Dan Meridor.
  • Nathanson, Isser (1916–1977) – later joined the Department of Physics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Nehmad, Moshe ("Shimshon") (1912–1963)
  • Paglin Amichai ("Gidi") (1922–1978) – became the IZL chief of operations from 1944 when Eitan was exiled to Africa. A tactic genius - he planned major operations, including the KDH bombing, the break-in to the Acre prison and the Capture of Jaffa in 1948. The IDF refused to enlist him in 1948 - they refused to enlist many key IZL men; politics above defense. Therefore returned to the family oven business. He built the oven in which Eichman's body was burnt. Was very dear to Begin, and upon Begin's election to Prime Minister was appointed National Advisor for Arab Relations. Tragically, Gidi and his wife Tzipporah (also an IZL member) were killed in a suspicious car crash in 1978.
  • Pedahzur Eliezer ("Gad")
  • Raanan-Kaufman, Mordechai – had a key role in planning the Deir Yassin assault.
  • Raz, Yaakov (1919–1938) Among the first IZL to fall. He was attempting to plant a bomb in an Arab market in retaliation to Arab murderous attacks on Jews. Israel National Poet, Uri Zvi Greenberg, wrote a song in his honor.
  • Russo, Nissim ben Yaacov (1933–2006) – "Participated in the blowing up of the King David Hotel, the attack on the British officers club and many other operations. Was seriously wounded in ambush by British military while attempting to carry out another operation."
  • Salomon, Dov ("Yishai")
  • Schiff, Menahem ("Zeev") (1926–1983)
  • Shamir, Petachia – Herut founder, serving as head of its Organizational Division; also served as Betar commissioner
  • Simchon, Yosef (1926–1955)
  • Stern, Avraham ("Yair") (1907–1942) Split with the IZL in 1940 following the IZL decision for a unilateral cease-fire during the war. Founded the Lehi and gave it its anthem and ideology.
  • Sudit-Sharon, Eliezer ("Kabtzan") (1925-2011)
  • Tahori, David ("Yitzhak") – took part in the September 29, 1947 Haifa police station bombing, in which 4 British policement, 4 Arab policemen and 2 Arab civilians were killed, and 46 persons injured.
  • Tamler, Eliyahu ("Yehoshua") (1919–1948)
  • Tamir, Shmuel (1923–1987) – lawyer in the Rudolf Kastner case, Knesset member (1965–1980), Minister of Justice in the Begin government (1977–1980)
  • Tavin, Eliezer-Yaakov (1919–1994)
  • Verner-Vered, Shalom ("Shimshon", "Giora")
  • Virnick, Yisrael ("Zvi") (1921–1948)
  • Zeroni, Benyamin (1914-2008)

Persons cited in other sources[edit]

The Irgun's exact membership roster is not known, and like many paramilitary and clandestine organizations, was somewhat nebulous; and in any case certain highly notable early Irgun members (such as Yitzhak Shamir) simply are not listed on the Irgun website. The following persons have been attributed by reputable sources as having significant roles, either as bona fide IZL members, assets or close affiliates.

  • Yitzhak Shamir, joined the Irgun in 1937; joined the Stern faction in 1940; commander of the Lehi after Stern's assassination.
  • Uri Avnery, joined as a teenager (1938–1942); later became a radical socialist activist. In 1945 he would publish a pamphlet, "Terrorism: the infantile disease of the Hebrew revolution".
  • Israel Eldad
  • Benjamin M. Emanuel, passed "secret codes" to Menachem Begin.[5] A Chicago pediatrician, he is father to Rahm Emanuel, Ari Emanuel and Ezekiel J. Emanuel.[6][7][8]
  • Natan Yellin-Mor
  • Sarah Agassi, b. 1926, who reminisced about her experiences casing the King David Hotel in preparation for the famous bombing attack, at a 2006 commemoration of the event.[9]
  • Zippora Levi-Kessel, staff secretary at the time of the Altalena affair[10]
  • Moshe Hason, also listed by Lapidot as a High Commander during the Altalena Affair.
  • Abraham Stavsky, who procured the Altalena for the Irgun (though not a member); also said to be active in the so-called Bergson Group (the Irgun delegation to the U.S.)[11]
  • Victor Ben-Nahum, also part of the Bergson Group.
  • Uzzi Ornan, detained by the British in 1944. Later became a linguist and a political activist
  • Elie Wiesel.[12] As a student in Sorbonne, Wiesel translated from Hebrew to Yiddish for the Irgun newspaper (November 1947 – January 1949). He later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in appreciation for his lifelong activities on behalf of persecuted peoples of the world as well as for his educational activities regarding the Holocaust, of which he himself was a survivor.
  • Zvee Aroni, internationally renowned cantor, recounts his time with the Irgun here.

Contract affiliates[edit]

Persons of notable affiliation to the Irgun, but who were probably not members in any formal sense.

  • Lt. Monroe Fein, the U.S. naval officer who captained the Altalena.

ZZW / IZL issues[edit]

The whole issue of the Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (known in Hebrew as Irgun Zvai Leumi and in English as the National Military Organization), the Revisionist Zionist resistance organization in Warsaw under the time of the German occupation, is rather complicated due the ZZW's being largely ignored by the "mainstream" Irgun in Israel, while all the same there are ZZW members such as Dawid Wdowinski who pointedly describe theirs as a bonafide IZL faction.[13][14]


  1. ^ Irgun commanders
  2. ^ Numerical estimates of total Irgun membership have ranged from 4,000 to 10,000. (Compare with outer estimates of 1,000 for the Stern faction, and 60,000 for the Haganah.)
  3. ^ Devora Publishing - Golan, Zev (author)
  4. ^ Doyle, Leonard (March 2, 2006). "Israeli 'ruler-in-waiting' plans to starve Hamas". The Independent (London). Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  5. ^ Elizabeth Bumiller, The Brothers Emanuel, New York Times, June 15.
  6. ^ Matthew Kalman, Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is no pal of ours, Israel's foes say, New York Daily News, November 6, 2008.
  7. ^ Obama's choice for chief of staff puts 'Israel's man in White, Agence France-Presse, November 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Trevor Royle, Diplomatic Editor, Bipartisanship balancing act is just one pre-Oval Office issue for Obama, Sunday Herald, November 16, 2008.
  9. ^ Ned Parker and Stephen Farrell (July 20, 2006). "British anger at terror celebration". London: The Times. 
  10. ^ Yehuda Lapidot, "The Altalena Affair"
  11. ^
  12. ^ Elie Wiesel, biography from the Jewish Virtual Library, accessed August 13, 2007.
  13. ^ (English) David Wdowiński (1963). And we are not saved. New York: Philosophical Library. p. 222. ISBN 0802224865.  Note: Chariton and Lazar were never co-authors of Wdowiński's memoir. Wdowiński is considered the "single author."
  14. ^ Dariusz Libionka and Laurence Weinbaum. "Deconstructing Memory and History: The Jewish Military Union (ZZW) and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising". Jewish Political Studies Review 18:1-2 (Spring 2006).