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Meir Max Bineth (Max Bennett) (27 June 1917 - 21 December 1954) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli Intelligence.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Meir's last duty and mission was as an Israeli intelligence agent in Egypt, from 1952 to the end of 1954. He was sent there undercover as a German businessman, representing various German firms – primarily "von Laufenberg", a firm manufacturing equipment for the disabled and crippled. He was the first Israeli intelligence agent sent to an enemy country under a German identity, and was likely partly selected due to his early years in Germany.
Meir's mission in Egypt was to gather information for Israeli Intelligence about the strength of the Egyptian army, the power of the military industry, Egyptian strategy and intentions toward Israel, the activities of significant anti-Israeli bodies, propaganda etc.
Many doors of Egypt’s top military echelon opened before him; he became acquainted with General Muhammad Naguib, then President of Egypt. He also built relations with German military and intelligence personnel and ranking ex-Nazi "advisors" who had found refuge in Egypt after the Second World War. Some of them were scientists who were helping Egypt develop missiles that could potentially threaten Israel.
Whilst working in Egypt, Meir was nominated as a consultant engineer at the "Anglo Egyptian Motors Company" (the German branch of the Ford Motor Company in Egypt), and suggested several projects to help improve Egypt's economy, believing that a crucial reason that generates wars between nations and communities is the lack of economical and social equilibrium; amongst other things he wrote in his prison cell for his defense was the line
"I think that the principal cause of wars is the age-old fear existing between man and communities that there may not be enough bread for all."
Meir's cover and conduct were perfect - he had German citizenship, grew up with German culture, literature and music, and German was his mother tongue. During the last seven months of his secret mission in Egypt, his wife Jane (South African in origin) and daughter joined him.
Bineth was caught and arrested after the fall of the "network", an incident which later became known as the Lavon Affair. Meir had been ordered by a senior officer in Israel to deliver money for the groups' needs and had met Marcelle Ninio a few times. Ninio was the last to be caught; under torture she gave a description of Meir’s car, which led to his capture.
After five months of interrogation and torture, on the day before his trial, Meir committed suicide in his prison cell (his wife and child were in Europe). He realized that there was no way out for him and did not want to give the Egyptians the pleasure of hanging him in public, which was the fate awaiting him after conviction.
References[edit | edit source]
המרגל שרצו שנשכח The spy they wanted us to forget (Hebrew)
The Israeli and Anglo-American Jewish Discourse,Binnet was a major in the Israel Defense Forces who was already known and wanted in Iraq for previous espionage activity there. His mission in Egypt appears to have been far more substantial than Operation Susannah, with which he had no direct connection
[edit | edit source]
- Meir's daughter, Michelle Bineth-Dagan (2004). "Meir Max Bineth 1917-1954". Jewish Agency - Jewish Agency for Israel. http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Compelling+Content/Eye+on+Israel/Gallery+of+People+%28Biographies%29/Meir+Max+Bineth.html. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- Meir's daughter, Michelle Bineth-Dagan (2004). "Meir Max Bineth 1917-1954 (Attended Wireless College 1950-51)". A memory site for The Wirless College, North Wales, UK. http://www.wireless.pjrnet.co.uk/html/max_bineth.html. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- "Unknown article" (in Hebrew) (JPEG). palyam.org. http://www.palyam.org/Gidhonim/Meir_Bineth/njvSKMB.
- מי זוכר את מאיר בינט, שהיה מרגל ישראלי במצרים והתאבד בכלאו ב-54'? ליאור אסטליין
- מאיר מקס בינט
- Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive : Meyer Max Bennet (Meir Bineth)Headstone at the top of the hill (Hebrew )מצבה במעלה ההר
- Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services, Ian Black,Benny Morris. Max Binnet (Max Bineth) pages 112-113