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Members of the local Zionist youth group Habonim organized protests, loaded guns onto boats headed for Palestine, and staffed ships transporting illegal immigrants. Former Habonim campers were among the first American Jews to make aliyah, emigrating to Israel.

Photo: Habonim marches outside the British Embassy in protest of restrictive British immigration policies, Summer 1946. JHSGW Collections. Gift of Carl Allentuck.

Habonim March

“Groups of people from Habonim and Masada more than once left our house late at night with paint to inscribe the driveway of the British Embassy with the words, ‘Open the Gates of Palestine.’”

Miriam Ezekiel Bernhardt was an active member of Habonim in the 1940s. In 1971, she and her family made aliyah to Moshav Shitufi Neve Ilan.

“Habonim taught me about the excitement of involvement and commitment to the establishment of a state for our people. With Habonim, emotionally and intellectually, I found my niche… Experiences with Habonim put my life on a path of unshakable love for our land, Eretz Israel.”

Estelle Deutsch Abraham became active in Habonim in the early 1940s.