Gush Emunim Underground
The Jewish Underground was a militant organization formed by prominent members of the Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i political movement Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim was an Israeli messianic and political movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging...

 that existed from 1979 to 1984. The group's highest profile plot was to destroy the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 in Jerusalem.

In 1980, the Jewish Underground carried out a series of car bomb attacks against Palestinian officials. As a result of these attacks, Bassam Shakaa
Bassam Shakaa
Bassam Shakaa was elected mayor of Nablus in 1976.Bassam Shakaa is a member of one of the wealthiest and most distinguished families in Nablus. He joined Jordan's Ba'ath party in the early 1950s and as a consequence was wanted by Jordanian authorities, forcing him to flee to Syria...

, the mayor of Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

 lost both of his legs and Karim Khalaf
Karim Khalaf
Karim Hanna Sama'an Khalaf was a Palestinian attorney and politician who served as the Mayor of Ramallah from 1972 to 1982.-Early life and career:...

, the mayor of Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

 lost one of his legs. On hearing the news, co-founder of Gush Emunim, rabbi Haim Drukman
Haim Drukman
Haim Meir Drukman , born 15 November 1932) is an Israeli Orthodox Rabbi and former politician. Today he serves as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Etzion Yeshiva, the head of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement and Center for Bnei Akiva Yeshivot.-Early life:...

, is said to have exclaimed, citing the Song of Deborah, 'Thus may all Israel's enemies perish!'

In 1983, three of its members were involved in a retaliation attack following the murder of Aharon Gross, a yeshivah student in Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

. In broad daylight, two men entered the Islamic College of Hebron, spraying bullets and tossing a grenade
A grenade is a small explosive device that is projected a safe distance away by its user. Soldiers called grenadiers specialize in the use of grenades. The term hand grenade refers any grenade designed to be hand thrown. Grenade Launchers are firearms designed to fire explosive projectile grenades...

. They murdered three students and wounded thirty-three.

On 27 April 1984, Shin Bet agents arrested 15 people with ties to Gush Emunim. The suspects were taken into custody immediately after placing bombs under six Arab-owned buses in Jerusalem. The arrests followed an extensive two year investigation led by the head of the Serious Crimes Division and employing ninety policemen. The bombs were set to detonate on Friday afternoon as Muslim worshipers returned home from celebrating Isra and Mi'raj
Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj , are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey...

. A week later security forces raided the settlement of Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

, finding a cache of stolen regional defense program weapons and explosives linked to the bomb plot.

A string of arrests followed with police bringing in a number of settlement and political leaders, including future Knesset member Eliezer Waldman
Eliezer Waldman
Eliezer Waldman is an Israeli rabbi and former politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Tehiya between 1984 and 1990.-Biography:Born in Petah Tikva during the Mandate era, Waldman attended Yeshiva University and Brooklyn College...

 and Rabbi Moshe Levinger
Moshe Levinger
Rabbi Moshe Levinger is an Israeli Religious Zionist who since 1967 has been a leading figure in the movement to settle Jews in the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War...

. Twenty-five of the arrested Gush Emunim members were tried on a host of charges relating to the plot to destroy the Dome of the Rock, the 1983 attack on the Islamic College, the attempted assassination of West Bank mayors, the aborted bus attacks and a few other incidents. Three of the men, Menachem Livni, Shaul Nir and Uzi Sharbav, were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the Islamic College attack.

Their sentences were controversially commuted three times by then President Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog served as the sixth President of Israel , following a distinguished career in both the British Army and the Israel Defense Forces .-Early life:...

 and they were released after serving less than seven years. On their 1990 release the three were hailed as "heroes" by leaders of the Gush Emunim movement. The Jewish Underground caused a rift in Gush Emunim. The existence of a violent underground had, until the mass arrests, been dismissed by most Gush Emunim members as falsehood circulated by Peace Now to discredit the movement. The majority condemned the Underground's unprovoked killing of innocent civilians and contempt for secular law.

External links

  • "The Evolution of Gush Emunim" by Ian S. Lustick
    Ian Lustick
    Ian Steven Lustick is an American political scientist and specialist on the modern history and politics of the Middle East.Lustick completed his Ph.D...

    , University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pennsylvania
    The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

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