Menachem Begin, Meeting of the Herut Political Party- 1949
(taken from The Prime Ministers, by Yehuda Avner)
“It  was a year of unspeakable torment. Our sisters and brothers in Europe were being slaughtered in the millions. But Ben-Gurion insisted we join the Allies in defeating the Nazis before rebelling to expel the British from our land. My colleagues and I thought otherwise. Ben-Gurion was so hostile to our revolt he tried to squash it by unleashing his Hagana men to round up our fighters and hand them over to the British. It was madness. It was tearing Jews apart. I could smell the stench of civil war.
So I told our men to go quietly, not to resist. It was extremely hard to order our men to restrain their natural instinct for revenge, but I had to do it. I had to do it Ki Yehudim Anachnu!
Now hear this each and every one of you, and hear it well. I live by an iron rule: a Jew must never lift a finger against a fellow Jew, NEVER. A Jew must never shed the blood of another Jews, NEVER. Twenty centuries ago we faced the bitter experience of the destruction of the Second Temple, the destruction of our capital Jerusalem. And why? Because of our senseless hatred of each other, a hatred that led to civil war and to our otter ruin: bechiya ladorot- generations of tears. And, therefore, I long ago took a solemn oath that no matter the provocation, no matter the circumstances, I would never ever be a party to a civil war, NEVER!”
“History teaches us that on the heels of most wars of liberation, bloody civil strife almost inevitably breaks out. The fall of a regime resembles an earthquake, and an earthquake, even after it has spent itself, is often succeeded by a chain of subterranean aftershocks. Our Irgun revolt did, indeed, create aftershocks, at least in minds of our detractors. So much so the British predicted that on their departure, there would indeed be a Jewish civil war. It did not happen for the reasons I have already given. And because of those reasons we never indoctrinated our Irgun fighters to hate our political opponents. On the contrary, we impressed upon them that a day would come when they would be standing shoulder to shoulder in the battle for the Jewish State’s defense soldiers of a single Jewish army.
I did weep that night, however, for the Altalena. Why? I wept because there are fateful times when a choice has to be made between blood and tears. During our revolt against the British, blood had to take the place of tears. But at the time of the Altalena- Jew against Jew- tears had to take the place of blood. Far better for one Jew to shed tears from his heart than to cause many Jews to weep over graves.
I say to you tonight, G-d forbid that a decision of a democratically elected government of Israel shall ever be defied by force…It is thanks to this democracy…that we shall weather every storm, overcome every hurdle, and withstand every test, as we shall grow, with G-d’s help, from strength to strength. “