Zealot, was a Jewish sect noted for its uncompromising opposition to pagan Rome and the polytheism it professed. The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities. A census of Galilee ordered by Rome in 6 CE spurred the Zealots to rally the populace to noncompliance on the grounds that agreement was an implicit acknowledgment by Jews of the right of pagans to rule their nation.
Extremists among the Zealots turned to terrorism and assassination and became known as Sicarii (Greek sikarioi, "dagger men"). They frequented public places with hidden daggers to strike down persons friendly to Rome. In the first revolt against Rome (66-70 C.E) the Zealots played a leading role, and at Masada in 73 they committed suicide rather than surrender the fortress, but they were still a force to be reckoned with in the first part of the following century. A few scholars see a possible relationship between the Zealots and the Jewish religious community mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Irgun Zvai Leumi:
Irgun Zvai Leumi (Hebrew: National Military Organization), byname ETZEL, was a Jewish right-wing underground movement in Palestine, founded in 1931. At first supported by many non-Socialist Zionist parties, in opposition to the Haganah, it became in 1936 an instrument of the Revisionist Party, an extreme nationalist group that had seceded from the World Zionist Organization and whose policies called for the use of force, if necessary, to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan.
Irgun committed acts of terrorism and assassination against the British, whom it regarded as illegal occupiers, and it was also violently anti-Arab. Irgun also participated in the organization of illegal immigration into Palestine after the publication of the British White Paper on Palestine (1939), which severely limited immigration. Irgun's violent activities led to execution of many of its members by the British; in retaliation, Irgun executed British army hostages.
Irgun's members were extremely disciplined and daring, and their actions included the capture of 'Akko (Acre) prison, a medieval fortress that not even Napoleon had succeeded in capturing. In the last days of the British mandate, it captured a large part of the city of Yafo (Jaffa). On July 22, 1946, the Irgun blew up a wing of the KingDavidHotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 soldiers and civilians (British, Arab, and Jewish). On April 9, 1947, a group of Irgun commandos raided the Arab village of Dayr Yasin (modern Kefar Sha`ul), killing all 254 of its inhabitants.
After the creation of Israel in 1948 the Irgun's last units disbanded and took the oath of loyalty to the Israeli defense forces on Sept. 1, 1948. Politically, it was the precursor of the Herut (Freedom) Party, one of Israel's most militant right-wing groups, later merged with the Liberals into the Gahal Party.
Stern Gang, also called STERN GROUP, or LEHI, formally LOHAME HERUT YISRA`EL (Hebrew: "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel"). A Zionist terrorist organization in Palestine, founded in 1940 by Avraham Stern (1907-42) after a split in the right-wing underground movement, Irgun Zvai Leumi. Fanatically anti-British, the group repeatedly attacked British personnel in Palestine and even invited aid from the Axis powers. The British police retaliated by killing Stern in his apartment in February 1942; many of the gang's leaders were subsequently arrested. The group's terrorist activities extended beyond Palestine: two members assassinated Lord Moyne, British minister of state in the Middle East, at Cairo (November 1944). Later, the Stern Gang attacked airfields, railway yards, and other strategic installations in Palestine, usually with success, though at heavy loss in members killed or captured. After the creation of Israel (1948), the group, which had always been condemned by moderate leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine, was suppressed, some of its units being incorporated in the Israeli defense forces. Unlike the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a precursor of the Herut ("Freedom") Party, the Stern Gang left no political party to carry on its political programs.
Haganah (Hebrew: "Defense"), was a Zionist military organization representing the majority of the Jews in Palestine from 1920 to 1948. Organized to combat the revolts of Palestinian Arabs against the Jewish settlement of Palestine, It was outlawed by the British Mandatory authorities, it managed effectively to defend Jewish settlements.
The Haganah's activities were moderate, at least until the end of World War II. The general membership of the Haganah served on a part-time basis; in 1941, a full-time commando force, the Palmach (Hebrew acronym for Pluggot Machatz, "Shock Companies") was organized. After World War II, when the British refused to open Palestine to unlimited Jewish immigration, the Haganah turned to terrorist activities, bombing bridges, rail lines, and ships used to deport "illegal" Jewish immigrants. After the United Nations' decision to partition Palestine (1947), the Haganah came into the open as the defense force of the Jewish state; it clashed openly with British forces and successfully overcame the military forces of the Palestinian Arabs and their allies. By the time of the creation of the State of Israel (1948) the Haganah controlled not only most of the settled areas allocated to Israel by the partition but also such Arab cities as 'Akko (Acre) and Yafo (Jaffa). By order of the provisional government of Israel (May 31, 1948) the Haganah as a private organization was dissolved and became the national army of the state. Its name is perpetuated in the official name of the Israeli armed services, Tzva Haganah le-Yisra`el (" Israel Defense Forces").
[Courtesy: Encyclopedia Britannica]