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Teddy Kollek

Teddy Kollek Photo: AFP
Teddy Kollek Photo: AFP
 
 

Kollek was British informer

Former mayor of Jerusalem helped British troops in their 1940s crackdown against right-wing underground Zionist groups, Irgun and Stern Gang

Ronen Bergman
Published: 03.29.07, 12:54 / Israel News

Teddy Kollek, the legendary mayor of Jerusalem, lent a hand to the British authorities in their 1940s crackdown against right-wing underground movements that sought to drive the British out of Palestine, secret MI5 documents have shown.

 

Kollek, who died three months ago, supplied the British intelligence agency with information about the activities of the Irgun and Stern Gang.

 

Beyond intelligence about the clandestine activities of the two groups, Kollek tried to help the British capture one of their most wanted men: Irgun leader Menachem Begin.

 

Begin commanded the Irgun from 1944 to 1948.

 

According to the newly released files, Kollek was instrumental in leading to the arrests of dozens of Irgun and Stern Gang members, the confiscation of arms, and the thwarting of numerous attacks against British interests.

 

Kollek's collaboration with the British came in the framework of a campaign waged by the Jewish Agency against the Irgun and Stern Gang, whose violent activities it deemed harmful to its political plans.

 

Leaders of the Yishuv, the Jewish population in Palestine, were keen on building bridges with the British to seek approval for their plans to bring thousands of refugees to Palestine from Europe.

 

The British mandate cashed in on Kollek's position as the deputy head of intelligence in the Jewish Agency to gain access to sensitive information about the Irgun and Stern Gang.

 

The scorpion 

During a meeting with an MI5 officer on August 10, 1945, Kollek disclosed the location of a secret Irgun training camp in an abandoned building near Binyamina.

 

British forces raided the training camp soon after, arresting 27 Irgun members, including three women and a handful of commanders who topped Britain's list of most wanted underground figures.

 

"It will be a great idea to raid the place," Kollek is quoted as telling his British contact during one of their meetings.

 

The British contact wrote in one of his briefings that success against "Zionist terror" depended on Kollek and his men.

 

Last year the British government opened its extensive intelligence library on MI5 activities in the '40s to the public.

 

The Israeli Embassy in London was particularly interested in file number 66968, which documented Kollek's collaboration with MI5.

 

The Foreign Ministry however asked that Britain freeze the release of Kollek's file so long he was alive.

 

Although many of Kollek's testimonies were omitted, his name appeared on the file in which he is referred to as "the source." His codename was Scorpion.

 

Kollek never admitted to having collaborated with the British against Zionist underground groups but in his autobiography he said that he was against the violence exhibited by the Irgun and Stern Gang, referring to their attacks as "anarchy."

 

Kollek served as the mayor of Jerusalem from 1969 to 1993 when he lost to Ehud Olmert.

 

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