Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

(coco) #1
to death, with the sentence executed immediately (see TOBIANSKI
AFFAIR). The same day, Be’eri attempted to fabricate evidence
against Abba Hushi, the mayor of Haifa, and against Yehuda Amster,
whom he suspected of passing information to British and Arab offi-
cers before Israeli statehood. Amster was a taxi owner in Haifa and
mayor Hushi’s right-hand man. He was detained by Be’eri, charged
with espionage, and tortured. His nerve-wracking ordeal lasted two
and a half months in a secret detention camp.
Later, in the summer of 1948, Be’eri ordered the execution, with-
out any legal process, of Ali Qassem, an Arab informer who was sus-
pected of betraying his Jewish handlers. Be’eri maintained that he
was a double agent. The order was carried out.
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, decided to have Be’eri tried for
this act. The court ruled that Be’eri be removed from Military Intelli-
gence without additional penalties, and his military service ended
shortly afterward. Be’eri was brought to justice again for his respon-
sibility in the execution of Tobianski and was found guilty of con-
ducting a field court-martial without authority. Be’eri received merely
a token sentence of one day in prison, from sunrise to sunset. A few
days later he was granted amnesty by the president of the state. Even
after his conviction, Be’eri continued to maintain that Tobianski was
a spy and a traitor. Because of technical legalities, Be’eri’s detention
and torture of Amster did not reach the court, even though Ben-Gurion
knew about it and regarded it as Be’eri’s gravest crime.
Be’eri is remembered for his proposal to Ben-Gurion, after the es-
tablishment of the State of Israel, to split the Shai into Military Intel-
ligence and internal security intelligence dealing with counterintelli-


Founded in 1991 at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan. Thomas O.
Hecht, a wealthy Canadian businessman and former professor of polit-
ical science, was the major financial contributor to the establishment of
the BESA Center. The Center is named in memory of Menachem Begin
and Anwar Sadat, whose groundbreaking efforts to broker peace agree-
ments paved the way for future conflict resolution in the Middle East. It
conducts research on regional and national security issues; terrorism;
weapons of mass destruction; Israeli relations with the United States


06-102 (02) A-G.qxd 3/24/06 7:23 AM Page 37

Free download pdf