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Word Count: 865
Aliyah Bet or Immigration Wave B was comprised of illegal immigrants from Nazi Europe shipped to Palestine with the aid of American Jews and the Haganah The last of the White Papers British mandates restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine was published on May 17 1939 when Nazi oppression reached its zenith The mandate allowed immigration of 15000 Jews per year for the following five years and then a total halt of Jewish immigration for the rest of the British rule By that time the trickle of legal Jewish immigrants to Palestine was supplemented by as many illegal boatloads as the Jewish community and the Haganah could organize In 1939 more than thirty ships carrying a total of approximately 17000 refugees made their way from ports on the Black Sea in Romania and Bulgaria to the Mediterranean Sea and the ports of Greece and onwards towards Palestine An Underground Railroad was organized so that Jews could reach the boats and sail for the Land of I srael as easily and safely as possible Few ships succeeded in reaching Palestine and landing there Many were intercepted by the British and sent back to Europe One such ship the SS Exodus of July 1947 gained worldwide attention for its plight Early in the month of July 1947 an American Chesapeake Bay ferry renamed the Exodus packed with 4500 displaced persons set out from the French port of Sete British destroyers were waiting for them offshore They escorted the refugee ship across the Mediterranean Twelve miles outside of Palestine territorial waters the British armada closed in on the Exodus for boarding A violent battle ensued the refugees fighting off the British for several hours Eventually the British used their machine guns and gas bombs killing three Jews and wounding a hundred The Exodus surrendered only when the British ships began ramming the ferry threatening to sink it The British towed the vessel to Haifa where the decision was made
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