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The Night of the Beating ( ) refers to an action taken by the Irgun on December 29, 1946 in the British Mandate of Palestine, in which several British soldiers were flogged in response to a similar punishment inflicted upon an Irgun member.

Background

Irgun poster warning the British not to carry out the flogging punishment.
On December 13, 1946 the Irgun robbed a bank in Jaffamarker. Three of the perpetrators - Benjamin Nes, Eliezer Sudit and seventeen years old Benjamin Kimkhi - were caught and tried a few days later. Nes and Sudit were convicted of robbery and illegal possession of firearms and were given long sentences, while Kimkhi was also convicted of discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life. He refused to recognize the British courts jurisdiction and was sentenced to an eighteen year imprisonment and eighteen lashes. Twelve lashes was also the punishment given to another Irgun member, Aharon Katz, for possession of propaganda material.

Upon notification about the punishment, the Irgun headquarters convened and decided that such a "humiliating" punishment was not to be tolerated. It published a warning, in Hebrew and English, to the British authorities not to carry out the flogging, threatening to do the same to British officers.

On Saturday, December 28, Kimkhi was lashed eighteen times.

The action

On Sunday night an armed Irgun unit broke into a hotel in Netanyamarker and ordered major E. Brett to come along. He was led to a eucalyptus grove were he was given his "sentence" of eighteen lashes. He returned to the hotel in his underwear.

In Rishon Lezionmarker a sergeant was captured and flogged in the street. Two other sergeants were kidnapped in Tel Avivmarker and flogged in a park, while two others were caught in the northern part of the city and suffered eighteen lashes as well.

From 22:00 to 1:00 army cars drove around the streets of Tel Aviv and ordered the soldiers of the 6th Airborne Division to return to their homes. From Lodmarker to Netanya, loudspeakers ordered the soldiers to return to their camps.

In the Kfar Savamarker area, roadblocks were set and a car transporting five armed Irgun men (carrying a whip) was caught. One of them, Avraham Mizrahi, was killed when fire was opened at the car, while three other - Eliezer Kashani, Mordechai Elkahi and Yehiel Drezner - would be executed.

Aftermath

Irgun poster threatening to respond "with fire" to further lashing punishments.
After the action, the Irgun published another warning in order to prevent Katz's flogging. A British doctor offered him a medical exemption from the punishment but he refused, stating that he was fit to take it. He was never flogged, since immediately after the punishment was limited to the age of sixteen.

The unprecedented incident caused an outrage in Britainmarker and prompted a strong hand policy. The flogging punishment was later abolished, but capital punishment was introduced.

References




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