Menachem Begin was known to travel under several aliases, and in the wake of the King David Hotel bombing he managed to elude the Palestine police and the bounty on his head by a series of clever disguises. In November 1946, the Palestine police produced alarming reports that he might be traveling incognito to Britain. Then, in early 1947, the alarm reached fever pitch when SIS sent a report to MI5 warning that Begin was thought to have undergone plastic surgery to alter his appearance, though as the report dryly concluded, [b]“we have no description of the new face.”[/b] The story soon leaked to the press,
with the News Chronicle running the headline “Palestine Hunting a New Face,” and sarcastically noting that although Begin might have changed his appearance, it was “likely that the flat feet and bad teeth have remained.” As it turned out, the reports of Begin’s plastic surgery were inaccurate: they were caused by confusion within the Palestine police (CID) when comparing photos of him. Begin had not actually left Palestine, but had grown a beard and disguised himself as a rabbi, evading the local police by concealing himself in a secret compartment in a friend’s house in Jerusalem. When he agreed to give a secret interview to the author Arthur Koestler, he did so in a darkened room: Koestler vainly attempted to counter this by drawing heavily on his cigarettes, hoping to generate enough of a glow to catch a glimpse of Begin’s appearance.
Fascinating Links Between Irgun and IRA
I would say revisiting British and Irish history with a slightly different perspective would prove to be worthwhile.