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TEL AVIV, June 3 (AP)-Israel Galili is bowing out as commander in-chief of Haganah, the army of Israel.

A short time ago only a few Jews knew his name. Today he is a hero who speaks with a dynamic voice to the people of Israel.

He has been commander-in-chief for the part two years-critical ones for Haganah as it marshaled its strength for the test of protecting a new state.

Haganah never did get recognition from the British mandate government as legal armed force in Palestine. When Haganah became the army of Israel two weeks ago, it passed under command of the War Ministry headed by David Ben-Gurion. Galili became a member of the Ministry.


Galili is a stocky 39-year-old blond who came to Palestine, from what is now Soviet Ukraine, when he was 4 years old.

Although he was Haganah’s chief commander he had no military rank. He wore no uniform, His customary dress was open shirt and work clothes.

He handed out political policies for Haganah to follow. He was a political commander and did not originate the strategy or tactics with which his political policies were carried out.

His training was all in security work rather than with gun drill. He became a member of Haganah’s high command 10 years ago when it first began to emerge from a loosely-knit underground defense force into a military organization. He was the Jewish Agency’s representative in the high command before he became commander-in-chief.


Galili is his legal name-the one on his British passport-but he has used many aliases in his work with Haganah. His family name is Berthenko.

Right now he is engaged in work that he can do best. He is finishing up phases of military control which had started under his direction. This is temporary, for he has said he will step out completely when last details are done.

He is married and has two sons, nine and four.

His party is left-wing Labor, in which he is taking increasing leadership. In the political meetings of Israel he is emerging as a powerful speaker and dynamic figure.