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Irgun emblem. The map shows the British Mandate of Palestine, which the Irgun claimed in its entirety for a future Jewish state. The acronym "Etzel" is written above the map, and "raq kach" ("only thus") is written below.
Active 1931–1948
Country Yishuv, British Mandate of Palestine
Type Paramilitary (pre-independence)
Unified armed forces (post-independence)
Disbanded 11 June 1948
Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Avraham Tehomi, Menachem Begin

Irgun ("National Military Organization in the Land of Israel") was a militant Zionist group that operated in the British mandate of Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish terrorist organization Haganah (Hebrew: "The Defense"). Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defence Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

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".[1]

The Irgun were responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 22, 1946 and the Deir Yassin massacre (carried out together with Lehi) on April 9, 1948.

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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