Farran, leaning against the jeep, with other Special Air Service members at a Norwegian airport in 1945.(Photo © John Tonkin)

In 1947, British-ruled Palestine faced mounting tensions: vast numbers of displaced European Jews hoped to immigrate, Arabs feared losing their land and majority status, and Jewish insurgent groups were fighting for the establishment of Israel. Britain reacted with often inept anti-terrorism squads. Historian David Cesarani combed through newly released archival materials from that period to uncover the role Roy Farran, a 26-year-old Special Air Service major, played in the abduction and death of a 16-year-old Jewish boy from Jerusalem, an event that further strengthened resolve for the establishment of Israel. Cesarani spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry from his home in London about Major Farran’s Hat: The Untold Story of the Struggle to Establish the Jewish State, his new history of the period.