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Did Shin Bet kill Israel Kastner?


Israel Kastner’s murder
Uri Avnery Social activist
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He was killed before the judgment was handed down by the Supreme Court on the matter of his appeal. The State indeed appealed and, as mentioned, the Supreme Court ruled that Kastner was innocent except for his testimony on behalf of Kurt Becher. One day I got a call, I forget from whom, and they said: 'Kastner was killed'. I think it was Tamir. Tamir called me, greatly alarmed, because it was clear to him that he would be blamed: this is the man who led the campaign against Kastner, who slandered him, who convicted him, etc. He was in a real panic. Before very long many facts were clarified. For instance, the killer was a former Shin Bet agent. That the Shin Bet had sent him to the same small group of former Lehi members led by a somewhat crazy man named [Joseph] Menkes. It was this group that carried out the murder. The driver of the getaway car was named Shemer. I believe he was a border guard, who was also a member of the establishment, of course. The entire business was very suspicious. I published an article composed entirely of questions, a hundred questions I think, something like that. How did this, that and the other happen? I was already in an all-out war with the Shin Bet and with 'Little Isser'. I've already talked about that, I think. And a very big war started because of this. Who killed Kastner – us or them?

והוא אכן נרצח לפני פסק הדין של ביהמ"ש העליון, בערעור. המדינה הגישה ערעור ואכן, כאמור, בית המשפט העליון מצא שקסטנר היה בסדר, חוץ מהפרשה הזאת של העדות למען קורט בֶּכֶר. יום אחד טלפנו לי, שכחתי מי, ואמרו: "הרגו את קסטנר". אני חושב שזה היה תמיר. תמיר טלפן לי, בבהלה גדולה, מפני שהיה ברור לו שיאשימו אותו: זה האיש שניהל את הקמפיין נגד קסטנר, שהשמיץ אותו, שהרשיע אותו, וכו' וכו’. והוא היה בבהלה ממש. תוך זמן קצר מאוד התבררו הרבה עובדות. למשל, שהרוצח היה בעבר סוכן השב"כ שנקרא שי״ן בי״ת אז. שהשי״ן בי״ת שלח אותו לאותה קבוצה קטנה של יוצאי לח"י בהנהגת בחור קצת מטורף בשם מֵנְקֶס. הקבוצה שביצעה את הרצח. הנהג של מכונית המילוט היה אחד בשם שמר, איש משמר הגבול נדמה לי, שגם היה איש השלטון כמובן. כל העסק היה חשוד מפה עד להודעה חדשה. ואני פרסמתי מאמר שכולו מורכב משאלות, איזה מאה שאלות נדמה לי, משהו כזה. איך יכול להיות שככה וככה וככה וככה? אני כבר הייתי כל הזמן במלחמת חורמה עם השי״ן בי״ת ועם איסר הקטן, שכבר דיברנו עליו נדמה לי. והתחילה מלחמה גדולה מאוד על זה. מי רצח את קסטנר? אנחנו או הם.‏

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Lehi, Rezső Kasztner, Rudolf Israel Kastner, Moshe Tamir, Joseph Menkes, Kurt Andreas Ernst Becher, Little Isser, Isser Harel

Duration: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017