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British soldiers arrest the passengers of the aliyah ship Kadima in Haifa to send them to Cyprus on Nov. 16, 1947.
British soldiers arrest the passengers of the aliyah ship Kadima in Haifa to send them to Cyprus on Nov. 16, 1947.

Kadima Arrives in Haifa

November 16, 1947

The aliyah-bet (illegal immigration) ship Kadima (sometimes called the Kedma) arrives in Haifa under British escort and all of its passengers are arrested and sent to detention camps in Cyprus.

On November 5, 1947, the Kadima left from the island of Palestrina just south of Venice with nearly 800 Jewish refugees, mostly from Poland and Hungary, hoping to make their way to the Land of Israel.  Included on board were more than 100 children under the age of three as well as 70 refugees from the Exodus.

On November 15th, a British scout plane spotted the ship and soon after a British destroyer intercepted it, accompanying it to Haifa port, where it arrived on November 16th.  Since the ship was in poor condition and since there were so many children on board, the Mossad leaders on board decided not to offer any resistance to the British.  As the ship entered into Haifa harbor, the passengers were heard singing Hatikvah.

Upon its arrival in Haifa, the passengers were transferred to the vessel Runnymede Park and brought to Cyprus.  Possessions were confiscated and searched before being returned to them in Cyprus.  On the 17th, the 781 refugees arrived at the Xylotymbou camp in Cyprus.

On the same day that the Kadima had left from Italy, a second ship, the Albertina departed from France carrying 182 refugees.  Originally the two ships were supposed to meet at sea and the passengers from the Albertina, which had been renamed the Aliya were to have been transferred to the Kadima. Due to radio problems, the rendezvous never took place.  The Aliya was able to successfully evade the British and beached off the coast of Nahariya.  The passengers were swiftly disembarked and put into buses, which scattered them among the settlements of the surrounding area.  On board the ship, the British authorities found a banner in Hebrew which said, “Shame on Britain for Continuing the White Paper policy.” The 1939 White Paper had set restrictions on the number of Jewish immigrants allowed into Palestine and was only rescinded upon Israel’s independence in May 1948.

At the end of the British Mandate, the Kadima joined the Israeli Merchant Marine and was retired in 1951.

The photo shows British soldiers arresting the passengers on the Kadima in Haifa. Photo by Hans Pinn, Government Press Office

For more about Aliya-BetUnited States Holocaust Museum

Find more details at the Center for Israel Education

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