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Pre-State Israel: Black Sabbath

(June 29, 1946)

On Saturday, June 29, 1946, the British began a two week dragnet searching for Jews suspected of anti-British activities and incriminating documents. The immediate provocation was the June 17 Haganah attack in which 10 of the 11 bridges connecting Palestine with its neighbors were destroyed. This was the latest and most daring attack to that point against the British. Many Jewish officials were arrested and placed in detention camps, but the sweep failed to net any of the major underground commanders (David Ben-Gurion was in Paris at the time and the Irgun leader Menachem Begin evaded capture) or unearth significant arms caches. The Jews nevertheless called the incident "Black Sabbath."