Israel Eldad 1910-1996
Scholar, writer and active Zionist revolutionary, Israel Eldad was born in Galicia in 1910. After graduating from the Rabbinical Seminary in Vienna and obtaining his doctorate in philosophy, he returned to Poland to teach Jewish Studies at the Vilna Teachers' Seminary. Invited by Menachem Begin, he joined the Warsaw leadership of B'rit Trumpeldor – "Betar" – the youth section of Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionist Party. In 1938 he first met Avraham Stern, founder of the underground Zionist movement "The Fighters for the Freedom of Israel – LEHI" (The Stern Group).
Arriving in Palestine in 1941, he joined the underground as a member of Lehi Headquarters Staff. During the crucial years of World War II, when the British Mandatory Government was attempting to appease the Arabs by conducting a policy of repression against Palestine's Jewish community, Eldad made secret broadcasts, wrote articles for underground publications and edited the Wall Newspaper – "illegal" bulletins pasted on the walls at night – since compiled in book form as "Let the Walls Speak."
While attempting to escape arrest by the British police, Eldad suffered a serous back injury. For two years he remained in British prisons, his entire body encased in a cast. Dramatically freed from his military guards by LEHI comrades in 1946, he resumed his work in the underground movement until the establishment of the State of Israel.
For many years he was editor of SULAM, a political and literary monthly recognized as the leading journal of its kind. He wrote MA'ASAR RISHON (The First Tithe), which deals with the Hebrew underground movement and his part in it. He is the author of HEGYONOT MIKRAH, a highly original, challenging commentary on the Bible. For four years he edited the unique historical paper CHRONICLES – News of the Past. He translated from German into Hebrew the complete writings of Friedrich Nietzche , published 4 volumes of selected papers and with his son Arieh wrote :"Jerusalem – the Challenge"(1976).
Dr. Eldad was a Professor in Humanistic Studies at the Haifa Technion and at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. He died in 1996 and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.