Ben-Gurion's Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal that Shaped Modern Israel

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Columbia University Press, 1996 - History - 310 pages
Ben-Gurion's Spy is a riveting exploration of the scandalous Lavon affair in Israel, which in 1963 toppled the government and ended the political life of David Ben-Gurion, the nation's founding father.
In the early 1950s, a team of Israeli agents was ordered - without prior knowledge of either the cabinet or the military high command - to stage a series of bombings of American and British institutions in Egypt, in an attempt to forestall Great Britain's planned withdrawal from the Suez. Betrayed by their commander, the agents were captured and put on trial in Cairo.
Who gave the orders for the sabotage attempts? Was it defense minister Pinhas Lavon, Ben-Gurion's hand-picked successor? Or was it Director of Military Intelligence Benyamin Givly, a cunning and ruthlessly ambitious officer? Both denied responsibility, and their dispute turned into a charade of character assassination, forgery, cover-up, and vendetta that forced Lavon's resignation in 1955.
Ben-Gurion's Spy explores the political implications of the Lavon affair, demonstrating how the episode helped to usher in Menahem Begin's Likud - whose doctrine claims the whole of Palestine - and to initiate a radical shift in defense policy from restraint to violent, sometimes reckless, retribution.
Unlike similar incidents like Iran-Contra or the Dreyfus affair, the Israeli analogue saw no judicial inquiry or public hearings, nor any published documents. Teveth fills in the vital information, employing classified documents including minutes of secret cabinet and military tribunal investigations, as well as interviews with key actors and the private correspondence of Givly and his doting secretary, Dalia Carmel.

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BEN-GURION'S SPY: The Story of the Political Scandal That Shaped Modern Israel

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An overlong recounting of a long-past Israeli political scandal. Teveth is a former political correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and the biographer of the country's first prime minister ... Read full review

Ben-Gurion's spy: the story of the political scandal that shaped modern Israel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Political leadership in Israel, from the state's beginning, has focused on a delicate balance of personalities, political parties, and military preparedness. The 1956 "Lavon Affair" was a scandal of ... Read full review


Givly and Friends i
Givly the Spycatcher
Without Mercy
Taking Responsibility
Alone in the Dock
The Lesson Not Learned
Faces Old and New
Unit 131 Strikes
Sharett in Torment
Lavon Resigns
BenGurion Returns
Fears of a Putsch
Ups and Downs
Under Fire from the Press
Carmels Confessions

July 16
o Line of Defense
Before the Commission
Almogs Mission
The Banana Peel
A Vewfrom the Present 2 69

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About the author (1996)

Laura Doan is Associate Professor of English at SUNY Geneseo. She is the editor of Old Maids to Radical Spinsters: Unmarried Women in the Twentieth-Century Novel.

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