Al-Difa' (Originally: Ad-Difaa) - الدفاع
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About this newspaper
Title: Al-Difa' (Originally: Ad-Difaa) - الدفاع
Available online: 20 April 1934 - 29 December 1948 (3,874 issues; 20,508 pages)
Region: The Middle East
Country: Mandatory Palestine
Collection: Jrayed - Arabic Newspaper Archive of Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine
In 1934, three journalists left the newspaper al-Jami'a al-Islamiyya and founded a new paper called al-Difa' (The Defense). The three founders were Ibrahim al-Shanti (Jaffa, 1910-1979), Sami al-Siraj (Homs, Syria, 1893-1960), and Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli (Beirut, 1893-1976), with al-Shanti as the owner. Alongside Filastin, al-Difa' was considered the most important Arab-language newspaper in the Mandate period. In a relatively short span of time, the newspaper managed to reach a wider readership than the older Filastin. Furthermore, al-Difa' was able to attract a number of senior journalists (such as Mahmoud Abu al-Zalaf, Mahmoud Ya'ish, Ahmad Khalil al-'Aqad, and others) who wrote about internal Palestinian politics, pan-Arabic politics, and pan-Islamic politics, as well as diverse social issues. During the fighting in 1948, Ibrahim al-Shanti moved to Cairo and continued to publish the newspaper from there for a year. In 1950, the newspaper started to be published in Jerusalem, after al-Shanti transferred ownership of the paper to his brother Sadiq al-Shanti. While the rival newspaper Filastin was considered in the eyes of many to be identified with the camp that opposed the Palestinian leadership and was more supportive of pan-Arabism, al-Difa' was closer to the camp of Haj Amin al-Husseini, supported the Palestinian struggle against the Mandate, and opposed the Zionist movement. The newspaper originally came out twice a week but quickly became a daily. On the occasions when the newspaper was closed down by Mandatory order due to op-eds or commentaries, the editors would publish an alternative newspaper under the name Al-Hayat (between the years 1937-1939); and on other occasions under the names Al-Fajr or Al-Jihad.
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