Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

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BARUCH, SHMUEL.A Jerusalem-born businessman who turned trai-
tor to Israel. He was also known by his nickname, Sami. In Septem-
ber 1963 Baruch approached the Egyptian embassy in Zurich because
he needed money for a failing textile factory he had set up in Kiryat
Gat in southern Israel. Egyptian intelligence encouraged him to join
Israeli political circles as a cover story, enabling him to obtain intel-
ligence information. In the summer of 1964 Baruch became the treas-
urer of a newly established Israeli movement, Yisrael Ha’Tseira
(Young Israel). It was established to promote the interests of
Sephardic Jews and to run in the 1965 Knesset elections. Baruch
planned to use his factory in Kiryat Gat to collect information espe-
cially about the surrounding area. The south of Israel aroused Egypt-
ian interest in particular, being considered of strategic importance be-
cause of the large number of military bases of the Israel Defense
Forces there.
Baruch failed in his espionage mission. He was not aware that Egypt-
ian embassies and their intelligence personnel in neutral countries were
routinely monitored by Israeli intelligence. The Israeli Security
Agency(ISA) was alert to his contacts with Egyptian intelligence; he
himself was under ISA surveillance on a daily basis. In January 1965
Baruch was arrested and later sentenced to 18 years in prison.


BE’ERI, ISSER (1901–1958).Born Isser Bierenzweig in Poland, the
tall Be’eri was known by his Hebrew nickname Isser Ha’Gadol (“Big
Isser”), to distinguish him from his colleague in intelligence, the
much shorter Isser Harel—Isser Ha’Katan (Little Isser)—who di-
rected the Israeli Security Agency(ISA).
From 1938, Be’eri was a member of the Haganah (the underground
militia in Palestine) and belonged to the Information Service(Shai),
which he later directed. After the establishment of the State of Israel in
1948 he directed Military Intelligence(MI) in the Israel Defense
Forces (IDF) until 1949. Be’eri was known as a fanatic on fighting cor-
ruption. For him, Israel could, should, and would be a perfect society.
In the afternoon hours of 30 June 1948, a few hours after Be’eri
had taken charge of MI, he held a field court-martial that hurriedly
convicted IDF captain Meir Tobianski of treason and sentenced him


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