Ezra Yakhin, now 88 years old, was a legendary fighter for the Lehi Underground ("Lohamei Herut Yisrael" – Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) that fought the British Empire during the 1940s to liberate the land of Israel.
In the midst of an Arab terror wave gripping Israel since last September, Yakhin spoke to Arutz Sheva about how he knew from his youth that one must fight their enemies – and said Israel is no longer fighting to win.
Yakhin lost many friends and acquaintances in his childhood, which led him to a clear understanding of what must be done.
"Since I first opened my eyes as a baby, I see and hear that the Arabs murder Jews and that continues to today. As a baby we were saved by a miracle from the massacre that took place in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood (of Jerusalem – ed.), and mother would wake up every few days with screams and nightmares," he said.
Explaining how he decided to join the Lehi Underground, Yakhin said, "this situation developed in me the desire to fight. As a child my brother explained to me about how the Maccabees fought the Greeks because they ruled Israel and we didn't, I understood that we would need a state and army to fight the Arabs because the British wouldn't do it for us."
"And that brought me the aspiration that when I would grow up, I would fight for the nation of Israel."
Yakhin expressed shock at how things have changed, saying, "today I don't see fighting against terror! The nation of Israel is not fighting terror!"
"They kill us and we aren't fighting. In war you kill the enemy, but we aren't doing that. Since the Bar Lev Line (fortifications built in the Suez Canal in 1968 – ed.) the nation of Israel stopped fighting in order to win. We put up the security barrier and stopped fighting, and since then we are just on defense and curbing the enemies."
"The leaders are to blame"
The former Lehi fighter laid the blame for the situation squarely on the shoulders of Israel's leaders and government.
"The problem is in leadership and only in leadership, the nation wants to fight, the nation is disappointed every time they (the government – ed.) jumps on a ceasefire," he said.
According to Yakhin the generally agreed upon theory that Iran is the primary threat to Israel's existence today is wrong, and "we need to defend ourselves a lot more from the Egyptians than we do from the Iranians – they are closer and the people there hate us more than the Iranian people."
He added that the Egyptian government, led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has been cooperating with Israel and improving ties only out of its own interests and not as part of any meaningful shift in relations between the two nations.
Making a suggestion as to how to deal with Israel's enemies, the veteran underground fighter said, "we are in our country and we decided to live, all those who harm us should know that they and their surroundings will pay a price."
"This is our land and all of it is our land, and those who harm any part of it or part of the nation of Israel – their blood is on their head. If you harm Jews in Europe and the Diaspora, we have no right to get involved there. They have the right to rule there and to do what they want with those who are there. Jews want to live and defend themselves – let them come to this land."