In July 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell was activated inside Egypt. The following assaults, cleverly designed to appear to be the work of Arabs, blasted and torched American and British targets.
First, the Israeli terrorists firebombed the Alexandria Submit Workplace. Then, they firebombed the U.S. Data Company libraries–one in Alexandria, and one in Cairo. Then, they firebombed a British-owned Metro-Goldwyn Mayer theater, and a railway terminal, and the central put up workplace, and a pair extra theaters…
To smuggle their bombs contained in the buildings, the terrorists used gadgets formed like books, hiding them inside ebook covers. As soon as inside, baggage full of acid have been positioned on prime of the nitroglycerin bombs. After a number of hours, the acid ate via the luggage and ignited the nitroglycerin, inflicting explosions and blazing infernos.
What Made Israel Stoop to Terrorism?
Within the early 1950s, the USA was making quick buddies with Egypt, benefiting from the brand new pan-Arab Egyptian authorities of Gamal Abdel Nasser. The warming relationship between the US and Egypt brought about a really insecure Israel to really feel a bit threatened.
Nassar additionally had plans to nationalize the Suez Canal, which had been managed by the British for many years. Egypt had been recognized to blockade Israeli delivery via the canal, and Israel feared Nassar would make a blockade everlasting.
After U.S. President Eisenhower started encouraging the British to depart the Suez Canal Zone, Israel began on the lookout for a approach to make the British keep, and a approach to stay finest buddies with America.
And what higher approach to deal with your finest good friend than to stab them within the again and inform them certainly one of your different buddies did it?
David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, thought that Egyptian terrorist assaults in opposition to Individuals can be an ideal approach to cool the rising US/Egypt relationship. And, since there have been no Egyptians planning assaults in opposition to Individuals, Ben Gurion’s protégés did the subsequent smartest thing: they recruited Israeli brokers to PRETEND to be Egyptian terrorists.
The highest-secret Israeli terrorist cell, Unit 131, had existed since 1948. In 1950, Israel’s Directorate of Navy Intelligence, Aman, was created, and Israel despatched an secret agent, Colonel Avraham Dar (alias: John Darling, British citizen of the island of Gibraltar), to recruit extra members to Unit 131. He additionally skilled them how you can construct bombs and terrify Individuals and British civilians working and dwelling in Egypt.
Earlier than the terrorist cell was activated, one other Israeli agent named Avraham–Avraham Seidenberg–was despatched to take management from Avraham Dar.
Seidenberg first went to Germany to ascertain an alias: he assumed the identification of Paul Frank, a former SS officer, full with underground Nazi connections. By 1954 his new identification was in place and he went to Egypt to take command of Unit 131.
Unit 131 determined to name their terrorist plan Operation Suzannah. The identify got here from Susan Kauffman, the fiancée of Victor Levy, one of many Israeli terrorists. The identify additionally referred to the unit’s name to motion: the unit would activate when it heard an Israel radio broadcast of the American tune, Oh! Susannah.
In the summertime of 1954, Colonel Binyamin Gibli, the chief of Aman, organized for the tune to be broadcast…
Israeli Terrorist Ring Busted
The whole lot was going properly for the Israeli terrorists it appeared. However, there was one factor the members of Unit 131 did not know: their terrorist sleeper cell had itself been infiltrated by the Egyptian intelligence service. The brand new Unit 131 chief, Seidenberg, had betrayed them to the Egyptians.
So, when Unit 131 member Philip Nathanson made his approach to bomb the British-owned Rio theater in Alexandria, not solely was he being adopted; the Egyptian intelligence service had a hearth engine ready to place out the flames. As Nathanson stood within the ticket line, his dangerous luck turned worse when one of many bombs in his pocket ignited, after which exploded.
Nathanson was burned however not killed. As close by pedestrians shouted warnings and questioned if he was a suicide bomber, Egyptian policemen stepped in, calmed the group, and recognized Nathanson as one of many terrorists who had been blowing up American and British buildings.
The Depraved Internet Unravels
Nathanson was interrogated by Egypt’s army intelligence and confessed the entire plot, which led to extra arrests. When the Israeli spies got a public path, all the small print of their terrorist coaching in Israel got here to gentle.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion and Israel’s Aman chief, Binyamin Gibli, tried to border their very own Protection Minister, Pinhas Lavon. They even provided solid paperwork as proof. The frame-up labored for a while–so a lot in order that the whole incident continues to be popularly often known as the Lavon Affair. Lavon resigned, and Ben Gurion got here out of political retirement to exchange him as Israel’s Protection Minister.
Nevertheless, the reality did lastly emerge.
In 1960, a evaluation of the inquiry found the faux paperwork, in addition to perjury by Seidenberg. A committee of seven Cupboard members cleared Lavon. And, though Ben Gurion by no means admitted fault, he did resign his put up as Protection Minister.
What Occurred to the Terrorists?
Yosef Carmon and Max Binnet each dedicated suicide in an Egyptian jail.
Dr. Moshe Marzouk and Shmuel Azar have been each sentenced to dying in a really public trial. A lot of the world persuaded the Egyptian authorities to not grasp the 2 terrorists, together with intervention from US President Eisenhower, Indian President Nehru, and even the Pope. Egypt, referring to America’s hanging the Rosenbergs, responded: “Egypt (will) deal with its spies in exactly the identical method adopted by the USA.” Marzouk and Azar have been hanged in a Cairo jail.
Meir Meyuhas and Meir Za’afran, after spending seven years in jail, have been each launched in 1962. Sworn to silence, they returned to Israel and reconstructed their lives removed from the general public highlight.
Victorine Marcelle Ninio was tortured in an Egyptian jail. Along with her ft severely overwhelmed, and threatened with rape, she threw herself out of a window and nearly died. After therapeutic in a hospital and enduring the spy trial, she was sentenced to 15 years in a jail for ladies in Kanather–the longest sentence ever for a feminine political prisoner in Egypt. She was launched as a part of a prisoner trade following 1967’s Six-Day Battle, and quietly returned to Israel, having grow to be a supply of political embarrassment. Nevertheless, by 1974 a lot of Operation Suzannah had grow to be public, and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir attended Ninio’s marriage ceremony.
Robert Dassa spent fourteen years in an Egyptian jail at Tura, the place he ran the jail basketball staff. He was additionally launched as a part of the Six-Day Battle prisoner trade in February of 1968. In 1979 he returned to Egypt as a journalist to cowl Prime Minister Menachem Start’s go to to Alexandria. 13 years later he wrote a ebook about his expertise.
Victor Levy and Philip Nathanson have been sentenced to life in jail, the place they made buddies and even ran a profitable duck farm with the approval of the jail administrator. They have been additionally launched within the Six-Day Battle prisoner trade, and returned quietly to Israel.
Avraham Seidenberg, who had betrayed Unit 131 to Egyptian Intelligence, was the one spy who escaped. He returned to a hero’s welcome in Israel. When his perjury, and possible roll as an Egyptian double agent, was found, Seidenberg was sentenced to 10 years in an Israeli jail. After serving as an exemplary prisoner, he was launched. He briefly bought tv units in Tel-Aviv. Then, in 1972, and nonetheless denying all the things, he moved to California.