One of Israel's oldest former Irgun members dies at 101

Yaacov Aharoni participated in underground attacks on Nazi oil refineries in Iraq, was exiled by British Mandate to serve years-long prison term in Africa and spent most of his life as an educator

Nina Fox|
A veteran of the Zionist paramilitary pre-state Irgun organization died on Monday at the age of 101, his family said.
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  • Born in Jerusalem in 1921, Yaacov Aharoni was among the last surviving warriors of the underground movement, led by Menachem Begin in the years leading up to the establishment of the state.
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    בחגיגות יום הולדת מאה
    בחגיגות יום הולדת מאה
    Yaakov Aharoni celebrates 100 years of age
    He formed the Irgun's special units and was part of the group's attacks on Nazi oil refineries in Iraq and fought to protect the Jewish community.
    He was abducted by the Hagana forces, who represented the leadership of the emerging state, who tortured him and turned him over to the British Mandate forces. The British regarded the Irgun as a terror organization and subsequently sentenced him to exile in Africa for 4.5 years.
    Upon the establishment of the state, Aharoni joined the IDF's Artillery Corps and trained young recruits. When he was discharged, he worked for many years as an educator, having earned a degree in Bible studies from Tel Aviv University.
    His daughter Michal Aharoni, one of his five children, said her father was a hero who risked his life for the country he loved.
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    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu, whose family supported the right-wing underground, eulogized Aharoni calling him a brave warrior.
    "I was saddened to hear of his death and felt great pain," Netanyahu said. "Despite the many difficulties he endured, the independent State of Israel was his reward."
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