April 17, 2005

Lavon affair remembered by Israel for a change

This is the intro by David Shasha to a Yediot Ahranaot article on the honouring by Israel of the surviving members of the Lavon affair group.
For those of you not familiar with the so-called Lavon Affair - one of the most egregious scandals in the history of Israel - the recent honors accorded to its participants should force us to look back at the matter. The Lavon Affair was concocted by a person named Benyamin Givli in the Israeli Defense Department which was led by Pinchas Lavon. The basic idea was to compromise Egypt by bombing public locations such as movie theaters in order to create the suspicion that Nasser was seeking to harm Westerners. The affair was botched and the spies found out and brought to trial. The Lavon Affair, along with the Mas'ouda Shemtov Synagogue bombings in Iraq, have long been used as proof that the Israelis were intent on using subterfuge in the Arab world to compromise the Arabs and to force out the Jews who lived in those countries. It is unfortunate that these covert operations are not known to Western Jews. In our own Sephardic communities such matters are completely ignored. The two standard sources on the events are Ian Black and Benny Morris' Israel's Secret Wars and Shabtai Teveth's Ben Gurion's Spy. A more controversial and contested approach has been taken in Naeim Giladi's Ben Gurion's Scandals.
The full article is reproduced in Sephardic Heritage Update, published by David Shasha.

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