Jewish Soldiers and Civilians Looted Arab Neighbors’ Property en Masse in ’48. The Authorities Turned a Blind Eye

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Refrigerators and caviar, champagne and carpets – a first-ever comprehensive study by historian Adam Raz reveals the extent to which Jews looted Arab property during the War of Independence, and explains why Ben-Gurion stated: ‘Most of the Jews are thieves’

Open gallery view

Haganah soldiers with property looted from Arabs after the takeover of Haifa, April 1948.

Haganah soldiers with property looted from Arabs after the takeover of Haifa, April 1948.Credit: Fred Chesnik / IDF and Defense Establishment  

“We turned a mahogany closet into a chicken coop and we swept up the garbage with a silver tray. There was chinaware with gold embellishments, and we would spread a sheet on the table and place chinaware and gold on it, and when the food was finished, everything was taken together to the basement. In another place, we found a storeroom with 10,000 boxes of caviar, that’s what they counted. After that, the guys couldn’t touch caviar again their whole life. There was a feeling on one hand of shame at the behavior, and on the other hand a feeling of lawlessness. We spent 12 days there, when Jerusalem was groaning under horrible shortages, and we were putting on weight. We ate chicken and delicacies you wouldn’t believe. In [the headquarters at] Notre Dame, some people shaved with champagne.”

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 Editor’s note:    Just to point out that this is from the Israeli press …

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