Birthday of Eliyahu Golomb, 1893
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
On This Day in Jewish History: March 2, 1893
Eliyahu Golomb was born in Belorussia in 1893. He immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1909, and graduated from Herzliya High School as a member of the first graduating class in 1913. After his graduation, he organized his classmates into an organization to gain agricultural training and they worked together on Kibbutz Degania Alef. In 1914, the First World War broke out and many Jewish occupants of Ottoman Palestine enlisted in the Ottoman army. Golomb opposed this action, rather insisting on a separate Jewish military force. He founded this Jewish militia in 1918, which was called the Jewish legion. During this time, he met Berl Katznelson, who later became a large figure within the Labor Zionist community. Haganah Golomb founded the Haganah because he thought that the defense of the Jewish people should not rest on the shoulders of a few well trained fighters but should rather be a communal effort. He was sent abroad in 1922 to purchase weapons for the Haganah and was arrested by Viennese police. He was later released and continued these operations until 1924. Golomb had fierce beliefs as to how the Haganah should act. Among these beliefs was the thought that the Haganah should not indiscriminately attack Arab populations as they may be innocent civilians. However, Golomb thought that retaliation against Arab terrorists were justified and would often confront them himself. Golomb died in 1945 at the age of 52. He is buried in the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel. Golomb’s home has been turned into a museum dedicated to the the history of the Haganah. Golomb is often credited with training many of the Israel Defense Force’s first commanders through the Haganah.