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Nathan Yellin-Mor (Friedman)


Nathan Yellin-Mor (Friedman) was one of the leaders of Loḥamei Ḥerut Israel, an Israeli politician, and member of the First Knesset. Born in Grodno, Poland, Yellin-Mor completed his studies as an engineer in Warsaw, where he joined the Berit ha-Ẓiyyonim ha-Revizyonistim and Betar movements and in the late 1930s supported extreme activism, associated, in Palestine, with the Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi (IẒL).

In 1938–39. Yellin-Mor edited the short-lived Warsaw Yiddish daily Di Tat, which was an IẒL organ. After the outbreak of World War II , Yellin-Mor managed to reach Palestine and joined Avraham Stern, who decided to break away from the IẒL and establish a new organization that was called Loḥamei Ḥerut Israel (Leḥi). In 1941, he traveled to Syria on behalf of Stern, with the purpose of reaching neutral Turkey to contact representatives of Nazi Germany and offer them cooperation against the British in exchange for a mass evacuation of European Jews to Palestine. However, he was arrested by the British in Syria and imprisoned in Palestine. In 1943, he escaped from a detention camp with a group of his colleagues through a tunnel. After his escape, Yellin-Mor became one of a triumvirate of Leḥi leaders, replacing Stern, who was murdered by the British in 1942, concentrating on military operations until 1948.

He was arrested together with other Leḥi members by the Israeli police after the assassination of the UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in the fall of 1948. An Israeli military court found him guilty of membership in a terrorist organization but acquitted him of complicity in Bernadotte's assassination. Yellin-Mor was included in the general amnesty granted by the Provisional Government, and ran in the elections to the First Knesset in 1949 on the "Fighters" (Loḥamim) ticket that was made up of former Leḥi members. However, he was the only member elected, and soon after his election to the Knesset, he underwent an ideological shift that took him to the extreme Left. Together with Uri Avneri, he established in 1956 a political group called "Semitic Action" (Ha-Pe'ulah ha-Shemit), which supported the idea of a Jewish-Arab federation in the territory of Mandatory Palestine that would form part of a broader Middle East federation. Yellin-Mor was not elected to the Second Knesset, went into business, and edited a journal called Etgar ("Challenge"), in which he professed his views. After Avneri entered the Knesset in 1965, Yellin-Mor left all direct political activity.

His writings include Loḥamei Ḥerut Yisrael: Anashim, Ra'ayonot, Alilot ("Loḥamei Ḥerut Yisrael: People, Ideas, Deeds," 1975) and Shenot be-Terem ("The Years Before," 1990).

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.