Are we any closer to solving the riddle of the Lavon Affair?

For nearly 61 years, Israel has been plagued by an unsolved intelligence and political mystery: The case of a sabotage and espionage network of agents it operated in Egypt.

The agents were exposed and arrested in July 1954; two of them were sentenced to death by hanging by military tribunal and six of their accomplices were locked up for long prison sentences. On Monday, the IDF archives released dozens of never before published documents, which shed new light on the tragic operation and may solve the enigma.

At the heart of the matter is a central question: Who gave the instructions and was responsible for the operation: then-defense minister Pinhas Lavon or Col. Benjamin Gibli, head of the Military Intelligence? The purpose of activating the agents – young and idealistic members of Jewish Zionist groups – was to use them to plant bombs in British and US cinema halls and cultural centers in Cairo and Alexandria.


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