David Raziel

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David Raziel

David Raziel (19 December 1910 - 20 May 1941) was a terrorist with the Jewish underground in British Mandatory Palestine, and one of the founders of the Irgun.[1]


Born David Rozenson in Smarhoń (now in Hrodna Voblast, Belarus), Vilna district in the Russian Empire, he immigrated with his family at the age of three to Mandatory Palestine, where his father became a Hebrew teacher at a Tel-Aviv elementary school. When the 1929 Hebron massacre broke out, he joined the Haganah in Jerusalem, where he was studying philosophy and mathematics at the Hebrew University. When the Irgun was established, he was one of its first members, and displayed outstanding military skills.

In 1937 he was appointed by the Irgun as the first Commander of Jerusalem District and a year later Commander in Chief of the Irgun. His term as leader was especially marked by terrorism against Arabs, including a sequence of market-place bombings. Raziel worked with Avraham Stern and Efraim Ilin.

On 17 May 1941 he was sent, with three of his comrades including Ya'akov Meridor, to Iraq[2] on behalf of the British army to fight against al-Gaylani pro-axis regime. On 20 May a bomb from a German aircraft killed him and the British officer with him near an oil deposit in Habbaniyah. Meridor returned to Palestine and took over command of the Irgun.

In 1955 his remains were exhumed and transferred to Cyprus, and again in 1961 to Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery. His sister, Esther was later a member of the Knesset for Herut, the party founded by Irgun leader Menachem Begin.


Ramat Raziel, a moshav in the Judean Mountains is named after Raziel, as well as many streets in Israel bearing his name in commemoration. The Israel postal service issued a stamp in his honor.[3]


  1. ^ "David Raziel". The Etzel Website. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Nir Mann (April 22, 2010). "A life underground". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "David Raziel". The complete guide to Israeli postage stamps from 1948 onward. Boeliem. 
  • Daniel Levine: The Birth of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House Ltd., 1991. ISBN 965-229-071-8.