The bombing of The King David Hotel, July 1946

Bruce Hoffman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On 22 July 1946, the Irgun Zvai Le’umi (National Military Organization), a Jewish terrorist organization opposed to Britain’s continued rule of Palestine, bombed Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. The incident has always been controversial given the fact that the facility was not an ordinary hotel, but also the nerve center of British rule over that country — housing its military headquarters, intelligence stations, and government secretariat. Further, at the time it was claimed that warnings were issued to evacuate the hotel that British officials callously ignored. This article addresses three key three questions surrounding the bombing: Was the King David Hotel in fact a legitimate military target? Were warnings in fact given to evacuate the hotel? And, if so, why wasn’t the hotel evacuated? The answers, while critical in reaching an accurate accounting and factual understanding of a highly controversial event, interestingly also shed light on the efficacy and morality of terrorism as an instrument of national liberation and agent of political change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-611
Number of pages18
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • British Mandate for Palestine
  • Etzel
  • Irgun Zvai Le’umi
  • King David Hotel
  • Menachem Begin
  • Terrorism


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