This article examines the effect of the functioning of a Jewish and democratic state as the state of the Jewish people or “a Jewish state” – on the foreign relations of Israel. Israel’s definition as a Jewish state affects the nature of its foreign policy. The foreign policy of a state defined as a Jewish state is complex and unique. This stems from the structure of the state which is made up of at least two ethnic groups. The relationship between the majority group and the minority group has bearing on the functioning of the state in the international arena. In the Israeli case, foreign policy is also influenced by the structure of the Jewish people, which goes beyond the boundaries sovereign of the state.
The foreign policy of a Jewish state is based on two elements. It must emphasize the need to strengthen the position and power of the members of the majority group in the mother-state and in the international arena, while providing assistance to members of the group in the diaspora. The State of Israel assists the Jews of the diaspora, but at the same time mobilizes them to strengthen its own Jewish majority group. This foreign policy, therefore, has a hierarchy of goals derived from the basic need to promote first and foremost members of the group in the mother-state, and only secondarily provided assistance to the Jews of the diaspora.
Israel is a Jewish and a democratic state by its own definition. The implications of this definition have been studied primarily vis-à-vis domestic issues. This basic characteristic has led some scholars to define the Israeli democracy as an ethnic democracy. 1 Most of the theoretical-academic debate on the relations between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority focuses on the domestic results of Israel’s definition as “a Jewish state.”2 This article examines the effect of the functioning of a Jewish and democratic state – as the state of the Jewish people or “a Jewish state” – on the foreign relations of Israel.3
The establishment of the State of Israel was an important event and a turning point in the interrelations between the different parts of the Jewish people, causing their mutual patterns of behavior to change henceforth. Jewish politics underwent a transformation with the creation of a sovereign political center – a nation-state – after two thousand years of exile. As a political actor, the State of Israel, saw and sees itself not only as a Jewish state,4 but also as the state of the Jewish people and, as such, as the representative and spokesman of the Jewish people. This situation created tension between the two parts of the Jewish people: that in Israel and that in the diaspora.5
As a Jewish state, Israel grants citizen rights to all permanent residents interested in receiving citizenship, but at the same time it bestows a special status on the majority group. Thus, under this regime, there is clear preference for one nationality over the other; in this case, of the Jewish majority over the Arab minority. The Jewish diaspora is also included in the framework of this preferential policy. This unique characteristic, claims Sammy Smooha, affects the way Israel interacts with the diaspora while realizing its goals in the international arena.6 Israel’s unique makeup, which goes beyond the borders of the sovereign state, influences the country’s conduct in the international arena, in its relations with the different countries in general, and in its relations with host-states which have Jewish communities.7
Israel operates on two levels, the general-Jewish, and existential-state level. On the general-Jewish level, Israel, as a Jewish-Zionist state, “takes special steps to maintain the Jewish ethnic nation in the diaspora.”8 The state cooperates with the diaspora communities for their welfare, supports the dissemination of Jewish education among them, endeavors to enhance their Jewish identity, and applies to them for assistance. However, the dominant means – and the one relevant for this study – which constitutes one of the cornerstones of Israel’s foreign policy, is the provision of physical, spiritual, and political assistance to the diaspora Jews, and the strengthening of ties with them.9
At the same time, Israel’s main efforts concern the existential level, for which it also mobilizes the Jewish diaspora. “It invites all Jews, citizens and non-citizens, to participate in the Zionist project.”10 The joint goal of the Jewish people as a whole is the building of a nation, a nation-state. Smooha claims that “the members of the ethnic nation are called upon to contribute and to sacrifice for the sake of the whole.”11 The mobilization of the nation’s members in the diaspora is continuous, and its purpose is the continued existence and survival of the majority group “living in a hostile environment, with the minority constituting part of this environment.”12 This approach is reinforced by the demographic problem faced by Israeli society.13
The aim of this study is to examine how the definition of Israel as a Jewish state affects its foreign policy, or whether this definition has an effect on it. Israel’s foreign policy is characterized as based on state-economic interest. The aim here is to examine the nature of this foreign policy when differences arise over the question of Israel’s realization of its goals in the international arena, between the existential-state goal that is based on political and economic needs, and the ethnic general-Jewish goal. Thus, in the framework of this discussion, we will examine how and to what extent the State of Israel, as the representative of the Jewish majority, tended to act on behalf of general-Jewish causes in the diaspora, as well as to what extent it was inclined to mobilize the diaspora for the strengthening of its own position in the international arena, to build up the overall strength of the majority group in the state by using its connections with the Jewish communities in the diaspora.
This study will put an emphasis on the nature of mobilization of the diaspora and the assistance it provided. The mobilization of the diaspora has four dimensions: economic assistance (fundraising); political lobbying of the host-state’s government; immigration (aliya); and refraining from action, which is the community’s social-political passivity towards Israel’s realization of its goals in the host-state. In return, Israel served three roles for the diaspora: as a spiritual resource, provider of material assistance, and consolidator of Jewish identity in the diaspora.
These issues will be examined by means of a case study analysis that will characterize Israel’s foreign policy. In this case study, we will analyze the relationship of the government of Israel with Argentina as a host-state and with its Jewish community during the rule of the military junta in Argentina between 1976-1983. The aim is to examine how Israel conducted its foreign policy against the background of the question of the fate of Jews who disappeared and were arrested on the orders of this regime. A major consideration in choosing this case was that this was a case in which Israel’s state interest and the interests of the local Jewish community were in conflict.
Israeli foreign policy in Argentina in the 1970s was a combination of unique national goals. The first was the state-economic goal, which represented Israel’s demands in this area. The second, the ethnic general-Jewish goal, represented the essence of the relationship as well as the problematic nature of the connection between the Jewish majority group in Israel and its diaspora in Argentina. This policy was put to the test when the military junta, in blatant violation of human rights, employed an aggressive domestic policy against opponents of the regime and particularly against those Jews who participated in leftist activities.14
In March 1976, a military revolt took place in Argentina. President Isabel Perón was deposed by the military junta that ruled Argentina until 1983.15 The orientation of the new regime was conservative in domestic policy and pro-Western in foreign policy. In the international arena, this regime perceived Israel as an ally in preventing Soviet intervention in South America, and as a factor that could assist on a military-economic basis in overcoming the restricting foreign policy of the American president, Jimmy Carter.16 In the domestic arena, a brutal policy was implemented that violated human rights.17 This regime persecuted and suppressed any action by the forces of the left, who were defined as enemies of the regime. Argentinean Jews who took part in such groups and were caught, were detained and even eliminated in unnatural ways. The issue of disappeared persons (desaparecidos) and detainees took a prominent place in the agenda of the relations of both countries, Argentina and Israel.
Examining foreign policy in this context contributes to the understanding of the nature of the definition of Israel as a Jewish state or an ethnic democracy by its critics. The analysis of Israeli foreign policy in this arena is based on the study of its origins and guidelines. For this purpose, a short historical survey will be brought on the integration of the Jewish community in Argentina since the end of the nineteenth century, as well as the ties of Israel to Argentina and its political-economic goals there. On this basis, we will examine to what extent there was convergence between the state-economic goals and the ethnic general-Jewish goals, and the Israeli government’s conduct in this unique situation.
The Profile of the Jewish Community in Argentina
The history of the Jews in Argentina is interwoven with the developments and changes that characterized and still characterize the Argentinean nation from its beginning up to present.18 Modern Argentina of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was characterized by a lack of political and economic stability, which affected the nature of its rule.19 The political struggles between national conservatives and liberals in leftist parties strongly affected the function of the political system, as well as the degree of army involvement in the endeavor to bring order to this torn country. This state of affairs had a noticeable effect on the nature and function of the Jewish community, and as a result, also on the nature of the foreign policy of Israel – the state of the Jewish people – in this arena.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, following pogroms and economic difficulties in Russia and other European countries, Jews began emigrating to the Land of Israel, South Africa, Western North America (i.e., the United States and Canada), and even further to the south, to Argentina.20 The immigrating Jews who arrived to the shores of Argentina came across an ambivalent immigration policy.21 On the one hand, the Church held to a firm policy whose purpose was to prevent the entrance of Jews into the country, while on the other hand there was the need to settle the vast open areas of the new country as soon as possible. These conflicting aims affected the integration of the Jewish community into Argentina. The Jewish immigrants established a unique community life in both cities and field-towns. This singular lifestyle was to their detriment; Argentinean society aspired to bring all its immigrants under a single civil system, with a uniform Catholic lifestyle. Thus, the immigration phenomenon was a positive one for the Jews and for the vast majority of Argentinean society. However, problems arose when the Jews objected to the cultural-educational policy, the sole purpose of which was to assimilate them into Argentinean society.22
Despite these difficulties, Jewish immigration to Argentina grew towards the close of the nineteenth century. The initiative by Baron Hirsch and the founding of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA), whose purpose was to settle Jews in agricultural farms in Argentina, accelerated Jewish immigration.23During the twentieth century – and in particular between the two world wars – the wave of immigration to this country grew. Both immigration and natural increase brought about a rise in the Jewish population, and brought it social and economic stability.24
The Argentinean Jewish community has grown and developed over the last 150 years. In 1862, the first Jewish institution, the Jewish Congress in Argentina, was established,25 and in 1894, the Ashkenazi Hevra Kadisha.26 The first Jewish political institution, the Zionist Federation, was established in 1913, and it is the umbrella organization of the Zionist associations.27 However, the most significant and important organization to this day was established in 1935, the DAIA – Delegacion de Asociciones Isralitas Argentinas (the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations).28 This is the leading organization of all Jewish political and social organizations in Argentina, and it took part in the action concerning the disappearance and incarceration of the Jews during the period under discussion.
Despite the Jews’ successful part in the economic, social, and political life of the country, they came across a hostile and anti-Semitic attitude on the part of conservatives and Church officials.29 In addition to the latter’s ongoing attempts to restrict and even prevent the immigration of Jews to Argentina, they independently engaged in anti-Semitic activity against Jews, such as that of the Argentinean anti-Semitic organization Tacura. However, it should be stated that the official policy of the government was not fundamentally anti-Semitic. Even in the 1940s and 1950s, during the rule of Perón, anti-Semitic activities were not officially organized by the government.30 This social-political situation reoccurred following political crises towards the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, until the return of Perón to power from exile in Spain. Thus, the unofficial anti-Semitic activity that broke out when the military junta took power was not an unusual event and did not come as a surprise. The writing was on the wall throughout the history of the Jews in Argentina.
Israel and Argentina had only minor ties at first. Over the years, however, the countries’ relationship changed, and was founded on political and economic goals. In the 1970s, besides trading in grain, raw materials, and textiles, the bulk of foreign trade was the Israeli export of arms to Argentina.31 Argentina abstained from the vote in the UN on Resolution 181 on the division of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Jewish state. Later on, however, during the rule of Perón, the attitude toward Israel changed, and economic ties were formed. The government of Perón granted Israel ten million dollars in credit to purchase goods in Argentina.32 These ties deepened until the capture of Eichmann in Argentina, which put a damper on the relations, though not to a great extent.33 Economic ties, therefore, were the focus of the relations, as could be seen from the rise in the bulk and scope of trade, imports and exports, and the typical components of the balance of trade between the two countries.34
The importance of the economic goal heightened in the 1970s, together with the enhancement of the political ties between Israel and Argentina. The government of Israel saw in Argentina an ally in its struggle against the Soviet Union in the international arena. In the period when diplomatic relations between Israel and the USSR were severed and the diplomatic struggle over the global orientation and problem of the Jews was heightened, Israel saw in Argentina an important political supporter of the realization of these goals in the South American arena.
Cooperation also included coordination of policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict in international forums in general and in the framework of the United Nations in particular.35
The ties between the Israeli government and the Jewish community affected the nature of the relations between the two governments. The question of the status and future of the Jews of Argentina was on Israel’s political and Jewish agenda from its founding. The Zionist movement already contended in the 1940s with the need to assist this community on the one hand, while simultaneously deliberating about the degree of mobilization of the same community to assist the Jewish state-building effort.
Therefore, the characterization of Israeli foreign policy is unavoidably influenced by these three factors, and by the past experience of the Jewish community, which lived and conducted itself in a complex reality composed of conflicting trends in Argentinean society. The analysis of Israeli foreign policy will focus on five topics that were on the agenda of the Israeli and Argentinean governments and the Jewish community: the Jews of Argentina on the eve of revolution of March 1976; the policy of rescue and aliya; the Cordoba case; the Timmerman case; and the question of goods for blood.
The Jews of Argentina on the Eve of Revolution of March 1976
The political changes between civilian and military governments undergone by the Argentinean political system affected the Jews’ lives. In March 1973, power returned to the hands of the politicians after nine years of military rule.36 This change brought with it hope for stability and economic, social, and political prosperity. The electoral victory of Hector Campora, candidate of the Frente Justicialista De Liberacion, known as the “Justice Party,” which was established by former president Juan Domingo Perón, was supposed to augur the coming of these changes.37
The Jews of Argentina, together with the rest of the citizens, expressed their satisfaction and excitement over the changes that took place in society and the political system. They also participated in political activities, both in the Peronist party and in competing parties. Indeed, this short period of rule saw the growing political involvement of Jews, particularly in the election campaign of October of that year, which Perón won. The result of the elections had an immense effect on the stability of the political system and on the status and welfare of the Jews. Perón, contrary to his predecessor, preferred to advance members of the radical-right wing of his party rather than the left wing. The underground organizations were found at the head of the latter wing: the Ejericto Revolucionario de Pupular (ERP) (the people’s revolutionary army), which had a clear Marxist worldview; and the Montoneros, which was based on the Peronist youth division, which had populist Catholic leftist views.38
This policy of Perón caused the outbreak of political violence, which intensified anti-Semitism in the most dangerous manner until it became a government-supported social phenomenon. This social and political deterioration worsened with the death of Perón and the rise to power of his third wife, Isabel, as president. The period of her rule was characterized by continuous political instability and political murders and executions. The army’s involvement in the military revolt that took place in March 1976 was a short-term attempt to bring stability to the country.
In the midst of the struggle between left and right, the Jews were accused by the right wing of supporting the left wing. Even though the Jewish community as a whole had no policy on this issue, the basis for these accusations could clearly be found in the anti-Semitism of the Catholic church, which repeated itself in the years 1976-1983 when the military rulers adopted an aggressive policy against leftist activists and Jews. The official reason for the persecutions was their membership in the above leftist underground organizations, although there were more than a few incidents in which detainees were tortured for no reason other than their being Jewish. In this political reality of a military regime that operated under an uncompromising policy and in blatant violation of human rights, the Israeli embassy and Jewish Agency offices had no recourse but to assist Jews who were detained and arrested on the one hand, and to cooperate with the military regime in realizing economic goals on the other.
The Policy of Rescue and Aliya of the Jews of Argentina
Israel was accused by various quarters within the Israeli political system and the Jewish community in Argentina of deserting hundreds of Argentinean Jews, some of whom disappeared and some of whom were arrested and tortured under the military junta’s rule.39 In this section we will examine to what extent this claim is true by analyzing Israeli policy in this context: the question of the importance of aliya on the one hand and the necessity for rescue operations on the other. In other words, we will examine to what extent Israel adopted a pragmatic foreign policy vis-à-vis Argentina – a policy that disregarded moral and humanistic principles – in order to advance its state goals in the international arena, or whether Israel adopted a policy that reflected ethnic Jewish considerations as a central concern.
The existence of the Jewish dimension has an effect on Israel, as the state of the Jewish people. This factor also affects the nature of Israel’s foreign policy. Throughout modern Jewish history, the foreign policy of the Yishuv‘s leadership and the Israeli government was characterized by the endeavor to realize Zionist goals – aliya and settlement – together with the endeavor to realize general Jewish goals such as providing material and spiritual aid to Jewish communities in distress. Therefore, contrary to the unequivocal claims regarding the abandonment of Jews presented above, an attempt will be made to examine the extent of intervention and action by the government of Israel in saving the Jews of Argentina. We will examine whether the predicament of the Jews of Argentina required the State of Israel to adopt a special rescue policy, and whether the Jews of Argentina applied to the heads of the military junta with demands for intervention on behalf of their brethren.
The history of the Jews in Argentina is interwoven with the story of Argentinean society. However, in that period there was no anti-Semitism orchestrated by the government against the Jewish population as a whole. There was brutal anti-Semitism on the level of the individual, not the group.40 This factor greatly influenced the conduct of the State of Israel, which did not wish to jeopardize important goals by placing the Jewish community under growing collective anti-Semitism and putting its own economic goals at risk.
Argentinean Jewry did not wish for Israel to act officially on its behalf and get into an uncompromising fight with the military government. The heads of the community pointed out that since they were not facing collective anti-Semitism that might endanger their entire community, there was therefore no need for unnecessary demonstrative operations, but rather for effective steps that would save the desaparecidos and detainees in the prisons and military camps. Therefore, Israel adopted a policy that would, on the one hand, lead to the release of the young members of even the radical leftist underground organizations who defined Zionism as racist, and would prevent damage to its other interests at the same time.41
Israeli governments gave great weight to the Jewish consideration. In this period, Yigal Allon, the foreign minister in Yitzhak Rabin’s government, stated that those who could be saved, must be saved.42 This policy was adopted also by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who determined that efforts should be made to save all the Jews who disappeared and to bring about the release of all detainees; if needs be even bringing them to Israel, despite their being radical leftists:43
I told them there was only one solution: Aliya. The situation in Argentina is terrible. It is in a state of anarchy….At the embassy they asked what would be done with the leftists. I answered: they should be brought to Israel. The junta should be promised that if they release these people, we will take them home immediately. Let’s assume they join Matzpen [Israeli-based communist organization], we will not approve but nevertheless accept it. Otherwise these young people are lost.44
These declarations set the basis for Israeli foreign policy in this case. Despite the membership of these young Jews in radical underground organizations, and even though their arrest was not the result of their being Jewish, the government of Israel nevertheless determined that efforts should be made to save them and bring them to Israel because of the ethnic ties between the majority group in Israel and these youths. A state defined as a Jewish state will endeavor to save its members in the diaspora even at the cost of its political stability. In other words, this is an expression of the mobilization of the state of the Jewish people on behalf of members of the Jewish nation in the diaspora.
The subject of the junta’s violation of human rights was laid out in the extensive and professional report of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP).45 The regime persecuted members of the left and fought its opponents in every way possible, including execution and torture of detainees in military camps and police prisons. There was a high ratio of young Jews among the desaparecidos and detainees. The humiliating treatment they received was extreme, particularly in the military camps, since anti-democratic, anti-Semitic, and Nazi tendencies were the rule among the leadership and junior officers.46 However, it should be emphasized that this negative attitude was individualistic, and was not the case for the Jewish collective as a whole.
Critics of Israeli foreign policy claimed that Israel did not do enough for the Jews of Argentina. They claimed that the Israeli government should have put political and economic pressure on the Argentinean government, and to a certain degree should also have acted independently, for example, by sending a rescue unit or using Mossad agents. The government of Israel acted differently on two levels.47 First, it took direct diplomatic steps with the heads of the military junta, such as sending Efraim Evron of the Foreign Ministry as emissary of Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.48 Secondly, embassy personnel took extensive independent measures to rescue desaparecidos and detainees.
Efforts were made to rescue the detainees and all those persecuted by the government. The chance of saving disappeared people was minimal, since they were executed immediately upon arrest. The approach adopted, therefore, was to enable their escape to Israel, and to make use of the law that granted any Argentinean in prison the option of emigrating to any country willing to take him in.49
Rescue was sporadic at the onset of the period of military junta rule. It was the task of Danny Recanati, head of the aliya emissaries in Argentina, who was not at all qualified for this job.50At later stages though, the task of rescuing and the use of the option law was also implemented by the Israeli embassy.51 On more than a few occasions, disagreement broke out between the Jewish Agency personnel and the embassy and ambassador over the manner of escape and the route (whether to Israel or to another destination). Recanati worked towards the release of all who sought his help but the ambassador cautioned that people defined as persona non grata should not be rescued. In other words, there is a claim that there was discrimination between Jews and the ambassador and the embassy were apparently unwilling to assist in the escape of those who might jeopardize Israel’s goals in Argentina.52 However, according to Joel Barromi there is no truth to the claim that Israeli diplomats refused to help the leftist Jews.53
The government of Israel eased the absorption process in Israel of the detainees and those who were allowed out by exempting them from military service in Israel. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan gave a clear order on this matter: military service should not be compulsory for these youths.54 Since they were afraid to come to Israel because of the military service, this instruction was necessary for them to be willing to leave Argentina for Israel.
Barromi, later the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Latin America, referred to two rescue incidents that could shed light on the nature of Israeli foreign policy in this context: the Cordoba and Timmerman affairs,55 which illustrate the nature of the ties existing between the State of Israel and the Jewish diaspora. In the Cordoba case, we will examine the nature and conduct of the rescue operation on behalf of the detainees. In the Timmerman case, we will examine how the nature of the rescue operation was influenced by the nature of the relations between the Jewish youths and the leftist underground, and the conduct of the community leaders.
The Cordoba Case
On 22 July 1976, eight youth activists were arrested in the town of Cordoba by Argentinean military forces. Among the detainees was an Israeli emissary, two emissaries with dual nationality – Argentinean and Israeli – who were arrested along with their wives, and three local activists. According to Barromi, they planned to attend a seminar of a Zionist youth organization with leftist tendencies, some of whose members had left to join the guerrilla forces.56 From the perspective of the government, the seminar participants were suspected of hostility to the regime and were therefore arrested. This fact had bearing on the conduct of the embassy in working to release them.
According to Barromi, the operation was organized by Joshua Anog, then the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Latin America, and conducted directly by Ambassador Ram Nirgad, who acted decisively and speedily to have the Israeli citizens released. He was “unwilling to lift a finger” with regards to the others.57 His claim was that, as the representative of the State of Israel, he was obligated to protect and aid Israeli citizens but he was not obligated to take upon himself the release of the other activists and thereby put other goals of Israel at risk. According to the ambassador, these activists put themselves at risk by their participation in a seminar of an organization that was suspected by the government of supporting the leftist underground.
Following vigorous action by Danny Recanati, however, the camp where the activists were held was located.58 At this stage, the ambassador changed his tune and personally contacted both the Argentinean chief of staff and President Videla.59 His action did, in fact, bring about the release of all the activists. Despite harsh criticism directed at the ambassador for not being active enough in the release of all the detainees, his involvement at the highest ranks did ultimately bring about their release. This case indicates that as the need for both sides to realize their joint state goals grew, so did the chances to release these and other detainees.
The development of this case attests to the nature of Israel’s foreign policy. Ambassador Nirgad’s actions were shaped by hierarchical importance; he preferred saving an activist of Israeli nationality to rescuing the other activists. In his opinion, even though they were Jews – and he was therefore obligated to save them – their involvement in a non-legitimate event (from the perspective of the Argentinean authorities) could harm the goals of Israel and the Jewish community. Danny Recanati of the Jewish Agency, who represented the Jewish Zionist cause, did not make this distinction. He demanded that all the activists be saved, first and foremost because they were Jews and secondly because they were active on behalf of the Jewish Agency.
The line of action adopted by the ambassador was based on clear instructions from Joshua Anog, the deputy director-general. Anog determined that steps taken vis-à-vis Argentina “must be conducted not by confrontation with the Argentinean authorities, but in accordance with them. We must act cautiously and even secretly, and offer the Argentineans solutions they could accept without losing face.”60 And indeed, the Israeli embassy operated according to this guideline.
The Timmerman Case
The Timmerman case focuses on two issues that affected Israeli foreign policy. The first deals with the identity of the desaparecidos and detainees in the prisons and military camps. The second deals with the role and conduct of the community leaders and heads of DAIA, who adopted a passive role, even cooperating with the authorities. The case of arrest and release of Jacob Timmerman, a liberal journalist and Zionist, contributes to the understanding of the social and political environment in which the Israeli embassy operated.
Jacobo Timmerman was a journalist and publisher of the newspaper La Opinion, which was published since 1971. In April 1977, he was arrested by the military authorities, imprisoned, and badly tortured. He was released in September 1979 after being acquitted of the security offence charges, which was followed by an ultimatum of collective resignation from the judges of the Supreme Court if he would not be released.61 He was deported to Israel after his release.
On hearing of Timmerman’s arrest, Israel gave first preference to his release, both out of feelings of obligation towards him and “out of the hope that if an agreement can be reached for his release, this will constitute a precedent for the release of the remaining prisoners.”62 Ambassador Nirgad used the personal and economic ties between the two countries for this purpose. The State of Israel used every means in its power on this matter, turning to the American government, to President Jimmy Carter. Israel also took to worldwide informative diplomacy in order to create diplomatic-political pressure on the Argentinean leadership for Timmerman’s release.63
The story of Timmerman’s arrest sheds light on the connection between the desaparecidos and detainees and the underground organizations, the Montoneros and the ERP.64 The detained youths were suspected of being members of these organizations and indeed some were, although there were others who had no connection whatsoever to political or military activities. The latter were arrested and imprisoned for their personal ties to members of such organizations. In some cases, they were arrested because their names appeared in the membership list of the underground organizations, or their names came up during interrogations of underground organization members. Timmerman’s arrest was related to this general tendency of the junta leaders and the heads of the army and police of that time.
Timmerman established his paper together with the banker David Graver, who owned Brussels Bank of South America and held 45 percent of the newspaper’s shares.65 Graver was also the secret investor of the Montoneros.66 He paid the ransom costs for the underground organization in order to further the struggle against the junta regime, which put up a bitter fight against this. The life and death struggle against the underground also included the family and colleagues of Graver, among whom was his business partner, Jacobo Timmerman, who was suspected of also being Graver’s partner in the security offence of aiding the underground.
Timmerman, who was the victim of an unhappy business partnership, was arrested and imprisoned on the strength of these suspicions. However, the bad treatment he received during the period of his imprisonment stemmed from the anti-Semitic tendencies of his jailors, who had been educated according to Nazi ideology. Timmerman’s experience from the time of his arrest until his release was shared by other Jewish detainees, who were singularly and brutally tortured because they were Jewish. The cause of their arrest was their social ties to members of the radical underground organizations, but the treatment they received during the period of their imprisonment stemmed from anti-Semitism derived from Nazi ideology.
After his release, Timmerman came out with harsh criticism of the Jewish community leaders for not putting up a fight against the junta regime on behalf of the detainees. He likened them to the Jews who collaborated with the Nazi regime, the Judenrat. He dismissed the explanation that “it was better to act quietly and to release whomever possible by ransom, and not create scandals that might arouse the anger of the military.”67 Timmerman compared the helplessness of the Jews under Hitler to the failure of the Jewish leadership in Argentina under the regime of the military junta:
The Jewish leaders in Argentina try to gauge the severity of the approaching danger according to the scope of anti-Semitic activity. They try to define in their minds, fears and beliefs some kind of scale, which will assist them in predicting the future, which will determine clearly how many Jewish schools must be hit by bombs, how many anti-Semitic programs must be broadcast on the radio and television, how many anti-Semitic publications should be published, in order to see the dimensions of the approaching holocaust….The Jews’ silence today is the only sign of the existence of a holocaust in present day Jewish historical reality.68
However, the stand of the Jewish community leaders was different, and dictated that they must continue with a quiet protective policy and refrain from organizing public actions – including Jewish self-defense – which might increase the instability within the community and bring about the outbreak of an anti-Semitic wave against all Jews in Argentina as a whole.69
The two issues discussed in the context of the Timmerman case – the identity of the detainees and their ties to underground organizations, as well as the conduct of the Jewish leadership – affected the nature and conduct of Israeli foreign policy. The government of Israel endeavored to bring about the release of these detainees, even though some defined themselves as anti-Semitic and pro-PLO. Also, Israel heeded the fears of the community leaders about an outbreak of a wave of collective anti-Semitism. These issues, therefore, had an effect on how Israel conducted its economic ties with the government of Argentina.
Goods for Blood?
The Israeli government was accused of preferring commerce (i.e., economic and political ties) to blood – the lives of missing and detained Jews. The thrust of this accusation was that Israel preferred to continue furthering its economic and political ties, in order to strengthen its position and power in the international arena, at the cost of ethnic, general Jewish goals.70 In other words, the critics claim that Israel should have presented Argentina with an ultimatum that their ties would be severed if the fate of the disappeared people was not discovered and the detainees not released. Is there truth in this accusation? Did Israel’s policy provide a solution to the problem? How significant were the economic and political ties between the two countries? To what extent did the economic and political ties contribute to the saving of Jews, in contrast to the claims of oppositional factors both in Israel and among Argentinean Jewry?
According to Aharon Kleiman, on the question of bringing Jews to Israel and the issue of aiding Jews in their host-states the Jewish factor affected the economic ties in general and the arms foreign trade in particular. In the Israeli case, the two areas are connected.71
While the Jewish factor has an effect on Israeli foreign policy, it is not a decisive one. It is not the only consideration, nor the main one taken into account in the policy calculations of the Israeli government. The heritage of David Ben-Gurion determined that “in our relations (with foreign countries) we should be guided by one criteria…and that is whether it is good for the Jews.”72 The Jewish consideration was quite significant in the weighing of foreign policy in the economic area. According to Ben-Gurion’s national approach, the state constitutes the highest goal of Zionism and the Jewish people. He did not ignore the problems of the Jews in the diaspora, but nevertheless saw the goals of the diaspora as secondary to the goals of the state, whose mere existence serves the needs of the diaspora.
Israel’s role as a Jewish state was to strengthen the Jewish nation’s status and power in the domestic and international arena by mobilizing the diaspora on behalf of this cause. In the particular case under discussion, the mobilization of the diaspora was achieved on two levels: bringing Jews to Israel and the adoption of a cooperative-passive policy by the Jewish community regarding the policy of the State of Israel. MKs Yair Tsaban and Yossi Sarid claimed that this policy and cooperation were implemented in flagrant ignorance of the Jews of Argentina. As Yossi Sarid put it: “In Argentina, Israel sold even the Jews for the price of its immediate interests.”73
According to Sarid, this was done through cooperation with the military junta in the economic area, and by not arousing international and Jewish public opinion about the fact of the disappearance and arrest of young Jews in that country. However, according to Foreign Ministry personnel, the arms sales actually helped the embassy in its application for the release of detainees in military camps, and thus saved them from sharing the fate of the desaparecidos.74 Thus, the State of Israel operated in two different areas, the economic and the ethnic Jewish area, which at times converged and overlapped. Its policy combined the two main goals of the State of Israel in Argentina. The ambassador met with the junta heads to discuss not only the bilateral issues of the two countries, but also to get the detainees released.75 This activity achieved both contributory and actual results. All those alive, whose names were on the list of detainees that the ambassador and others in the embassy and Jewish Agency were endeavoring to release, were eventually released. However, those who gave no sign of life could not be released, since they were executed immediately upon their arrest. According to the ambassador’s telegram to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on 10 September 1977, in conclusion of his meeting with Harguindeguy, the Argentinean minister of interior: “I pressed again for the release of detainees…his response regarding the problem of disappeared persons implied that most of them were not among the living. His response left no doubt in my heart.”76
A further contribution of these ties to the ethnic cause was the exclusive right granted to Israeli embassy people to visit the detainees in the prisons and military camps.77 This right was not granted to any other country. The exposure of the detainees to foreign eyes during the visits by the embassy people in the prisons and military camps saved their lives. The preference of Israel over other countries came up in a discussion between Ambassador Nirgad and President Viola. When the ambassador raised the issue of the release of approximately 400 missing persons and detainees, the president’s response was: “You know, Mr. Ambassador, that only Israel received special treatment from us? Because, for example, we do not give treatment to French, Spanish or Swedish citizens. Only you were privileged with our treatment of Argentinean citizens of the Jewish faith.”78
From Israel’s perspective, the foreign trade between the two countries served both parts of the Jewish people, that which resided in Zion and that in the diaspora. Conditioning the continuation of the economic ties in general and the military ties in particular on the release of the detainees would not have served the purpose since Israel was not the only or the largest supplier, and its place would have been filled by other suppliers, such as France, for instance.79 Journalist Marcel Zohar, in his unequivocally harsh criticism, claimed that Israel preferred to preserve the friendship over saving Jews. In exchange for this friendship, Israel made a profit of one billion dollars from arms deals over the entire period of the military junta regime.80 Israel claimed that giving up the economic profit would have been folly since this in itself would not have solved the problems of the Jews in Argentina. Furthermore, it would have hurt Israel’s economy, causing a financial and economic loss as well as a blow to the country’s political and social strength.
The practical implication of a blow to the economic goal was, according to different publications, a blow to the military and civilian foreign trade of the country. Israel’s military exports to Argentina in this period included the Mirage IIIC, Nesher and Skyhawk fighter planes, Gabriel and Shafrir missiles, coastguard boats, weapons monitoring systems, uniforms, personal equipment, and more.81 The civilian exports included raw materials, food, textiles, machinery, and electrical and electronic equipment.82 The peak of civilian economic activity during the period of junta rule was in 1979, when Israel’s imports were worth 83 million dollars, and Israel’s exports to Argentina the following year were worth 35 million dollars.83
Senkman and Barromi claim that the message conveyed by the governments of Israel to the military junta was ambiguous. At the same time that the ambassador was acting on behalf of the detainees, Israeli agents were waiting outside, bearing proposals for sales of the means of warfare. Thus, the arms sales were only detrimental to the cause.84 This claim requires examination, not just of the way the junta leaders analyzed and translated the conduct of the ambassador and the other Israeli delegates, but also in the overall framework of the goals and conduct of the economic-political and ethnic-Jewish dimensions.
MK Dror Zeigerman, a member of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee, described the problematic character of this policy well, saying:
The mere establishment of the state as a Jewish state lays on Israel the responsibility for the fate of the Jewish people wherever they are, and therefore Israel dealt with the problem of Argentina’s Jewry. There were disagreements on…whether it should be conducted publicly or quietly, but in my opinion there was nevertheless great willingness to undertake it.85
In this context, Ron Couriel, first secretary at the embassy, remarked that the decision to act was made in such a way that would enable the realization of the Jewish ethnic goal of bringing about the release of the detainees, and military cooperation was what enabled the Argentinean government to be accessible. The cooperation was based on political realism since the two sides did not share a common language on the moral issue. According to Couriel, the ambassador explained his approach as follows:
You (Argentineans) are anti-communist and so are we. We are tremendously pressured in Israel by this matter of Jewish disappeared persons….Solidarity really is the only way in which to explain to an Argentinean general the connection between Israel and the Jews without calling them traitors. There was admiration for Israel…and on this basis they found it worthwhile to supply information and help detainees. Not on the basis of moral understanding, which was impossible.86
In this test case, Israel conducted an intricate foreign policy. It mobilized the diaspora for the realization of its own political goals in the international arena, together with working towards the realization of the complex goals of the Jewish community in Argentina. In this case, the cooperation between the Israeli government and the Jewish community was the result of the convergence of the political-economic needs of Israel and the existential needs of the community under the rule of the military junta, during a time of fear of a wave of collective anti-Semitism, which could have affected all of Argentina’s Jews.
The Israeli government acted towards the joint realization of its political-economic goals and those of the diaspora Jews. Its foreign policy was fundamentally limited, out of the necessity of addressing the needs of the diaspora Jews. It is, therefore, a dual foreign policy, combining vital Israeli goals in the political-economic area and diaspora goals in the area of material and spiritual aid, in order to rescue the young Jews and support the policy of the community leaders. In other words, the rescue of the young Jews was combined with the realization of the need to develop bilateral foreign trade.
Israel used its ties with the diaspora in order to promote its own goals and the goals of the diaspora, which were mobilized for this cause. The support of Israeli policy and conduct by the Jewish diaspora leadership was reflected mostly through its own passive conduct throughout this period. This policy of passivity derived both from the wish to assist the State of Israel and from the need to protect the whole population from official and public anti-Semitism coming from the regime of the military junta.
Conclusion: “A Jewish State” and Foreign Policy
Israel’s definition as a Jewish state affects the nature of its foreign policy. The foreign policy of a state defined as a Jewish state is complex and unique. This stems from the structure of the state, which is made up of at least two ethnic groups. The relationship between the majority group and the minority group has bearing on the functioning of the state in the international arena. In addition, Israel’s foreign policy is also influenced by the structure of the Jewish people, which goes beyond the boundaries of the sovereign state.
Israel, as the state of the Jewish people, has taken being their main spokesman upon itself. The connection between the two parts of the Jewish people, one in Zion and the other in the diaspora, makes Israeli foreign policy complex and unique, since it basically tends towards the realization of Jewish ethnic goals in addition to its political ones. This complex mold of national interest is expressed in the formation, design, and conduct of Israeli foreign policy. The government of Israel works in this arena in two mutually-combined dimensions, which is characteristic of the foreign policy of a Jewish state.
Israel, which represents and realizes the goals of the Jewish majority group, conducts itself in two ways: 1) mobilizing the Jewish communities in the diaspora to assist in the continuous strengthening of Israel as a sovereign state; 2) focusing on the extent of assistance given by Israel itself to these communities routinely and in times of crisis.
Israel mobilizes the diaspora for four areas of assistance: politics, economy, immigration, and refraining from action. In the first area, politics, the case study discussed showed that the local Jewish community had no influence over the agenda of the relations between the State of Israel, as the mother-state, and the host-state. The second area, economics, is generally expressed in the framework of fundraising and Jewish tourism to Israel. It had no bearing on this case study, however, since the emphasis was on the economic activity of Israel vis-à-vis the Argentinean government.
The third area, immigration, can clearly be seen as a means for changing the demographic dimension in favor of the majority group, and enhancing its capability and strength in the Middle East. The government of Israel presented the Jews of Argentina with the option of immigration as a solution to the difficult political situation. However, these means were not meant to be applied to the population in general, only those who were detainees or whose lives were in danger. In other words, the purpose of immigration was to strengthen the majority group in Israel as well as to solve the problem of the Jews in the diaspora. In the fourth area, refraining from action, the Israeli government generally requires the Jewish communities to adopt a passive policy. In the case of Argentina, the interests of Israel and the Jewish community converged, and passivity was compatible with Israeli policy, assisting it in achieving its economic and political goals on the one hand, and the ethnic Jewish goals on the other.
Israel’s policy, therefore, integrated the realization of its political and ethnic Jewish goals. The joint interest of Israel and the Jewish community was conducive to enabling the Israeli government to conduct its complex two-dimensional policy of achieving its political goals while giving material and spiritual assistance to the Jews of Argentina. However, this policy raised harsh criticism. Its critics claimed that Israel must abandon its political ambitions and do its utmost to save Jews. Israel claimed in response that this would not have been beneficial for either side, not the Jews of the diaspora nor the Jews of Israel. Therefore, only a complex foreign policy could provide the solution to this problematic issue.
The foreign policy of a Jewish state is based on two elements. It must emphasize the need to strengthen the position and power of the members of the majority group in the mother-state and in the international arena, while providing assistance to members of the group in the diaspora. The State of Israel assists the Jews of the diaspora, but at the same time mobilizes them to strengthen its own Jewish majority group. This foreign policy, therefore, has a hierarchy of goals, derived from the basic need to promote first and foremost members of the group in the mother-state, and only secondarily providing assistance to the Jews of the diaspora. Furthermore, from its very definition as a Jewish state, Israel is also bound in the future to conduct a complex and intricate foreign policy, which at times will need to compromise and bridge between Israeli foreign policy and Jewish foreign policy.
* * *
1. See the detailed theoretical reference to this subject in Sammy Smooha’s study, “Ethnic Democracy: Israel as an Archetype,” in Pinhas Ginossar and Uriel Bareli, eds., Zionism: A Contemporary Controversy (Sdeh Boker: The Ben-Gurion Research Center, 1996), pp. 277-311 [Hebrew]. Various researchers claim that there is indeed discrimination in Israeli society, but they define Israeli democracy differently. See Benjamin Neuberger, “Democracy with Four Stains,” Panim, no. 9 (Spring 1999): 104-108 [Hebrew]. Oren Yiftachel claims that there is indeed discrimination in Israeli society. He claims that Israeli democracy cannot be defined as an ethnic democracy but as an ethnocracy. See his criticism of the model by Smooha in his article: “The Model of Ethnic Democracy and Jewish-Arab Relations in Israel: Geographic, Historical and Political Aspects,” in Ruth Gavison and Dafna Hacker, eds., The Jewish-Arab Rift in Israel: A Reader (Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute, 2000), pp. 107-123 [Hebrew]. See his definition of the term ethnocracy in his article: “Ethnocracy: The Politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine,” Constellations, no. 6(3) (1999): 367-368.
2. Sammy Smooha, “The Status Quo Option: Israel as an Ethnic Democracy: A Jewish Democratic State,” in Sarah Ozacky-Lazar, As’ad Ghanem, and Ilan Pappe, eds., Seven Roads: Theoretical Options for the Status of the Arabs in Israel (Geva’at Haviva: Peace Research Institute, 1990), pp. 23-77 [Hebrew]; Sammy Smooha, “The State of Israel’s Regime: A Civil Democracy, a Non-Democracy, or an Ethnic Democracy?” Israeli Sociology, vol. 2 (2000): 565-630 [Hebrew]. Ethnic democracy is not a common phenomenon. However, the Israeli case can be compared with the cases of North Ireland, Estonia, and Latvia. See Sammy Smooha, “The Viability of Ethnic Democracy as a Mode of Conflict-Management: Comparing Israel and Northern Ireland,” in Todd M. Endelman, ed., Comparing Jewish Societies (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997), pp. 267-312; Jeffery Smith, “The Ethnic Democracy Thesis and the Citizenship Question in Estonia and Latvia,” Nationalities Papers, no. 24 (2) (1996): 199-206.
3. Shlomo Avineri claims that the Jewish-ethnic factor affects Israeli foreign policy. See Shlomo Avineri, “Ideology and Israel’s Foreign Policy,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, no. 35 (1986):12-13. See the Zionist definition of the State of the Jews in Amnon Rubenstein, To Be a Free People (Tel Aviv: Shoken, 1977), p. 196 [Hebrew]; see the reference to the term “the State of the Jews” in Yehezkel Dror, The Renewal of Zionism (Jerusalem: Zionist Library – Bialik Institute, 1997), pp. 127-129 [Hebrew].
It should be stated at this stage that this article uses the term “the State of the Jews” and not “the Jewish State” in order to emphasize that this article deals with a certain aspect of the connections between different parts of the Jewish people and not with the nature of the Jewish state’s identity, even though it is hard to separate between the two.
See the reference to the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in: Alan Dowty, The Jewish State (Berkeley: University of California, 1998), as well as Alan Dowty, “Jewish Traditions and Contemporary Israeli Politics,” Jewish Political Studies Review, vol. 2, no. 3-4 (Fall 1990): 55-84.
4. See a legal debate on the question of the State of Israel as the state of the Jews or as the Jewish state in legal expert Claude Klein’s article, “A Jewish State or State for the Jews,” The Jerusalem Quarterly (Spring 1978): 37-47.
5. Charles Liebman, “Conflicting Interests in Israel-Diaspora Relations,” Gesher, vol. 22, no. 1-2 (January 1976): 60 [Hebrew]; see also David Vital, The Future of the Jews (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 29-63.
6. See an extensive discussion on the issue of state-diaspora relations in Gabriel Sheffer, ed., The Modern Diasporas in International Politics (New York: St. Martin Press, 1986); James Clifford, “Diaspora,” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 9, no. 3 (1994): 302-338; on common traits of all diasporas see Robin Cohen, “Diasporas and the Nation-State from Victims to Challengers,” International Affairs, vol. 71, no. 3 (1996): 515.
See the additional reference to the notion of diaspora in Richard Marienstras, “On Notion of Diaspora,” in Gerard Chaliand, ed., Minority Peoples in the Age of Nation States (London: Pluto Press, 1989), pp. 119-125; Yossi Shain and Martin Sherman, “Dynamics of Disintegration: Diaspora, Secession and the Paradox of Nation-States,” Nations and Nationalism, vol. 12, no. 3 (1998): 321-346.
On the Jewish diaspora see also Gabriel Sheffer, “The Jewish Diaspora at a Crossroads,” The Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, vol. 12, no. 3 (1990): 31-44; Gabriel Sheffer, “From Israeli Hegemony to Diaspora Autonomy,” Gesher, vol. 42 (132) (1995-96): 81-87 [Hebrew]; see also his article: “Towards Reexamination of Israeli-Diaspora Relations,” Gesher, vol. 44 (137) (1998): 23-31 [Hebrew].
7. Charles S. Liebman, Pressure Without Sanction (London: Associated University Press, 1977). See also Charles S. Liebman and Steven Cohen, Two Worlds of Judaism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990).
See also an historical-philosophical analysis on the interdependence between Israel and the diaspora, in Shimon Ravidovich, Babylon and Jerusalem, vol. 2 (London: Ararat, 1957), pp. 724-769; see also Charles Liebman, “Elements and Symbols in the Politics of Israel-Diaspora Relations,” Kivunim, no. 16 (August 1982), pp. 127-135 [Hebrew].
8. Smooha, “The State of Israel’s Regime,” p. 591.
10. Smooha, “The State of Israel’s Regime,” p. 593.
11. Smooha, “The State of Israel’s Regime,” p. 583.
12. Smooha, “The State of Israel’s Regime,” p. 585.
13. See an extensive reference to the demographic problem in Israeli society in Arnon Soffer, Israel Demography 2000-2020: Danger and Opportunities (Haifa: Haifa University, National Security Studies Center, 2001).
14. Edy Kaufman, “Jewish Victims of Repression in Argentina under Military Rule,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, vol. 4 (1989): 483-493.
15. Haim Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1986), pp. 156-162 [Hebrew].
16. Aharon Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword. Israeli Defense Exports in the 1990’s (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1992), p. 255 [Hebrew].
17. For extensive detail on the torture and suffering of the disappeared persons and detainees in this period, see Nunca Más (Never Again), Report of CONADEP, Argentina’s National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, 1984.
18. See Haim Avni, From the Abolition of the Inquisition to the “Right of Return” (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Magnes Press, 1982) [Hebrew]; Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education; Haim Avni, Argentinean Jewry, its Socio-political Status and Organizational Patterns (Jerusalem: Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University, Ministry of Education and Culture, World Zionist Organization, 1972) [Hebrew]; see also, Moshe Klein, Outlines of the Development of the Jewish Settlement in Argentina (Netanya, 1999) [Hebrew].
19. Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education; see also, Efraim Zadoff, “The Crisis in Argentina’s Jewish Community,” Kivunim Chadashim, no. 2 (2000): 136-146 [Hebrew]; Efraim Zadoff, “Jews of Argentina: Achievements, Challenges and Uncertainties,” Gesher, vol. 46 (141) (2000): 79-93 [Hebrew].
20. Avni, From the Abolition of the Inquisition to the “Right of Return,” pp. 57-104; Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education, pp. 103-104.
21. Avni, Argentinean Jewry, its Socio-political Status and Organizational Patterns, pp. 4-7.
22. Sylvia Shenklovsky-Kroll, The Zionist Movement and the Zionist Parties in Argentina, 1935-1948 (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, Magnes Press, and the Zionist Library, 1997), pp. 19-31 [Hebrew].
23. Avni, From the Abolition of the Inquisition to the “Right of Return,” p. 21.
24. Avni, Argentinean Jewry, its Socio-political Status and Organizational Patterns, pp. 8-9.
25. Avni, Argentinean Jewry, its Socio-political Status and Organizational Patterns, p. 54; Shenklovsky-Kroll, The Zionist Movement and the Zionist Parties in Argentina, p. 33.
26. Sylvia Shenklovsky-Kroll, “The World Zionist Organization’s Attitude towards the Jewish Community and Zionist Movement in Argentina, 1897-1948,” Zionism, vol. 13 (1988): 247 [Hebrew].
27. On the Zionist movement in Argentina, see Shenklovsky-Kroll, The Zionist Movement and the Zionist Parties in Argentina, 1935-1948; Shenklovsky-Kroll, “The Relations Between the Zionist Movement and the Majority Society in Argentina, 1935-1943,” Zionism, vol. 11 (1986): 295-332 [Hebrew]; see also Moshe Klein, Outlines of the Development of the Jewish Settlement in Argentina, pp. 1-2.
28. Avni, Argentinean Jewry, its Socio-political Status and Organizational Patterns, pp. 34-43; Avni, From the Abolition of the Inquisition to the “Right of Return,” p. 291.
29. See the extensive reference to this subject in Garciella Ben-Dor, “Three Anti-Semitic Priests in the Catholic Church: Deviation or the Norm,” in Tzvi Medin and Raanan Rein, eds., Society and Identity in Argentina: The European Context (Tel Aviv: School of History, Tel Aviv University, 1997), pp. 231-297 [Hebrew]; Haim Avni, “Anti-Semitism in Argentina: Borders of Danger,” in Medin and Rein, Society and Identity in Argentina: The European Context, pp. 168-197; Naomi Meyer, “Argentina,” American Jewish Year Book, vol. 78 (1978): 273-276; Naomi Meyer, “Argentina,” American Jewish Year Book, vol. 77 (1977): 346-348.
30. See Peron’s ambivalent attitude toward the Jews during his rule in Ariel Brecht, Juan Domingo Peron: The Consolidation of the Peronistic Regime in Argentina, 1945-1951 (Ramat Gan: M.A. thesis, Bar-Ilan University, 1992), pp. 228-233 [Hebrew]; Amit Manor, The Effect of the Jewish Factor on the Relations between Peron’s Government and the State of Israel and the Jewish Community, 1946-1954 (Ramat Gan: M.A. Dissertation, Bar-Ilan University, 2002) [Hebrew].
31. On military trade see Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword, pp. 233-235. On civilian trade see Mordechai Neurenberg, Argentina (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Industry and Trade, 1982) [Hebrew].
32. Yaakov Tzur, Credentials of Appointment Number 4 (Tel Aviv: Sifriyat Maariv, 1981), pp. 62-71 [Hebrew]; “Argentina,” The Hebrew Encyclopedia, vol. 5 (Jerusalem/Tel Aviv: Encyclopedia Publishers Ltd., 1951), pp. 667-668 [Hebrew].
33. Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education, p. 133.
34. Israeli Statistical Yearbook 1976, no. 27 (1976), p. 200 [Hebrew]; see the change in the two countries’ foreign trade by comparing data in Statistics of Foreign Trade Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 12 (December 1976): 20 [Hebrew] and Statistics of Foreign Trade Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 1 (July 1981): 20 [Hebrew].
35. See testimony of Herzl Inbar, who was in charge of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in the 1970s, in an interview from 1991 by Oral History Division, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University, file no. 31 (216), p. 8.
36. Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education, pp. 139-148.
37. Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education, p. 149; see also Naomi Meyer, “Argentina,” American Jewish Year Book, vol. 76 (1976): 288-290.
38. Avni, Emancipation and Jewish Education, p. 152.
39. See criticism by MK Yossi Sarid, “Yes, I Accuse,” Ha’aretz, 31 August 1989, p. 7 [Hebrew]; see statement by MK Yair Tzaban in Divrei Ha-Knesset, 29 June 1983, pp. 2810-2812 [Hebrew]; see Marcel Zohar, Let My People Go to Hell – Blue and White Betrayal (Tel Aviv: Zitrin, 1990) [Hebrew]; Marcel Zohar, “Israeli Embassy Refused to Intervene in Saving Kidnapped Argentinean Jews,” Yediot Aharonot, 10 October 1990, pp. 6-7 [Hebrew]; Eyal Kafkafy, “Revisionism,” Migvan, no. 52 (October 1980), pp. 67-68 [Hebrew]; Liat Chen, “Hugo Molzovsky – Missing,” Ma’ariv, 2 October 2001, p. 6 [Hebrew]; Mario Weinstein, “Missing Argentinean Jews and Israel’s Responsibility,” Davar, 13 February 1985, p. 7 [Hebrew]; Yitzhak Laor, “The Memory of Missing Argentineans,” Ha’aretz, 27 July 1994, p. 1B [Hebrew]; Michal Kafra, “The Devil’s Choice,” Ma’ariv, 28 March 1986, pp. 6-8, 23 [Hebrew]; Aryeh Dayan, “The Dirty Jew of Argentina,” Ha’aretz, 24 January 1992, pp. 21, 23 [Hebrew].
40. See on this matter testimony by Yehuda Dominitz, deputy director-general of the Aliya Department of the Jewish Agency, Knesset Protocols, no. 27, from Immigration and Absorption Committee of 28 November 1977, p. 3 [Hebrew]; S. Ramati, head of the Diaspora Division in the Foreign Ministry, Knesset Protocols, no. 22 from Immigration and Absorption Committee of 5 December 1977, p. 10; see the testimony of Gilad Greenberg, an activist in the non-governmental organization Bialik in Argentina, in an interview from 8 January 1991, Oral History Division, file no. 26 (216), p. 34; testimony of Danny Recanati, interview from 20 April 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 2 (216), p. 5; testimony of MK Dror Zeigerman, interviewed 25 May 1992, Oral History Division, file no. 40 (216), pp. 7-8; testimony of Uzi Narkis, head of the Aliya Department in the Jewish Agency, Knesset Protocols, no. 23, from Immigration and Absorption Committee of 6 December 1977, p. 13 [Hebrew].
41. See statement by Danny Recanati, Knesset Protocols, no. 41, from Immigration and Absorption Committee of 28 August 1978, pp. 14-15; see Herzl Inbar interview, Knesset Protocols, no. 41, from Immigration and Absorption Committee of 28 August 1978, pp. 30-31; Dominitz, Knesset Protocols, no. 27, p. 5; see testimony of Yisrael Ben-Shushan, representative of the Youth Division in the Jewish Agency in Argentina, in an interview from 11 January 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 1 (216), p. 3.
42. See Ben-Shushan testimony, 11 January 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 1 (216), p. 13; Testimony of Yehuda Dominitz, interviewed 19 December 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 24 (216), pp. 5-6.
43. Testimony of MK Rabbi Menachem Hacohen, who visited Argentina in the years 1982 and 1983, interviewed 30 December 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 23 (216), p. 3; see testimony of Ron Couriel, interviewed 6 November 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 14 (216), p. 24.
44. Knesset Protocols, no. 17, from Immigration and Absorption Committee, 14 November 1977, p. 9.
45. CONADEP, Nunca Más.
46. Laor, “The Memory of Missing Argentineans.”
47. Kafra, “The Devil’s Choice,” p. 8.
48. Zeigerman, Oral History Division, file no. 40 (216), pp. 7-8; Joel Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” Gesher, vol. 42, no. 133 (Summer 1996): 70.
49. Leonardo Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983,” in Dafna Sharfman, A Light Unto the Nations? Israel’s Foreign Policy and Human Rights (Tel Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuchad, 1999), pp. 101-104 [Hebrew]; Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” pp. 65-68; Dominitz, Knesset Protocols, no. 27, p. 15.
50. Recanati, file no. 2 (216), pp. 3-6.; Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983,” p. 105; see also harsh criticism of Zohar, Let My People Go, pp. 25-30.
51. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” pp. 58-59; Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983,” pp. 101-104; Couriel, file no. 14 (216), p. 6; Inbar, file no. 31 (216), pp. 7-8.
52. This critique was made by Zohar, Let My People Go, pp. 19-24.
53. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 62.
54. See testimony by Couriel, file no. 14 (216), p. 17.
55. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” pp. 60-61.
57. See testimony of Ben-Shushan, file no. 1 (216), p. 12.
58. See testimony of Recanati, file no. 2 (216), p. 13; Zohar, Let My People Go, pp. 38-40.
59. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 61.
60. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 63.
61. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” pp. 63-65.
62. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 63.
64. Jacobo Timmerman, Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981).
65. Benno Weiser Varon, “Don’t Save Latin American Jewry,” Tfutsot Yisrael vol. 23, no. 2 (Summer 1985): 120 [Hebrew]; Avraham Tori, “Horror Regime in Argentina,” Tmurot, no. 9-10 (8-607): 43 [Hebrew].
66. Varon, “Don’t Save Latin American Jewry,” p. 121; Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 61; Naomi Meyer, “Latin America,” American Jewish Year Book, vol. 79 (1979): 206.
67. Timmerman, Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number, pp. 138-140.
69. See the position of community leaders in the testimony of Couriel, file no. 14 (216), pp. 19-20; see also the testimony of Pesach Naskin, coordinator of the Hashomer Hatzair delegation to Latin America in the latter half of the 1970s, interviewed 26 December 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 22 (216), p. 12; see testimony of MK Chaika Grossman, interviewed 2 August 1990, Oral History Division, file no. 15 (216), p. 8.
70. Dror Zeigerman and Geula Cohen were among the visiting MKs. See Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 53; see critical testimony of Geula Cohen, interviewed on 1 September 1992, file no. 42 (216); see criticism of MK Yossi Sarid, “Yes, I Accuse”; also, see statement of MK Tzaban, Divrei Ha-Knesset, pp. 2810-2812.
71. See Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword, p. 69; Aharon Kleiman, “Arms Sales: The Secret Cultivation of the National Interest,” in Benjamin Neuberger, ed., Wars and Arrangements (Tel Aviv: Open University, 1992), pp. 229-231 [Hebrew]; Aharon Kleiman, “Israeli Arms Sales, Present and Future,” in Yossi Alpher, ed., Statistical Yearbook 1986 (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, Tel Aviv University, 1986), pp. 73-117 [Hebrew].
72. Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword, p. 170.
73. Sarid, “Yes, I Accuse.”
74. Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword, p. 80.
75. Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983”; Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?”
76. Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983,” p. 111.
77. See testimony of Couriel, file no. 14 (216); Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 66; Kafra, “The Devil’s Choice,” p. 7.
78. See Inbar testimony, file no. 31 (216), p. 7.
79. Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 69.
80. Zohar, Let My People Go, p. 31.
81. Ibid.; Kleiman, A Double-Edged Sword, pp. 233-5; Kleiman, “Israeli Arms Sales,” p. 116; see expansion on military foreign trade in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), World Armament and Disarmament Yearbook (1982), p. 207.
82. Neurenberg, Argentina.
83. Statistics of Foreign Trade Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 1 (July 1981): 20; On survey of economic activities in this period see: Naomi Meyer, American Jewish Year Book, vol. 80 (1980): 189-190. See also Bishara Bahbah, “Israel’s Military Relationship with Ecuador and Argentina,” Journal of Palestinian Studies, vol. 15 (1980): 76-101.
84. Senkman, “The Rescue of Jews in Argentina during the Military Regime, 1976-1983,” p. 112; Barromi, “Were the Jews of Argentina Abandoned?” p. 69.
85. Zeigerman, file no. 40 (216), p. 2; see in this context the state’s position, as presented by Dominitz, file no. 24 (216), pp. 21-22.
86. Couriel, interview, file no. 14 (216), p. 7-8.
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YITZCHAK MUALEM is a lecturer in Israeli politics and international relations at Bar-Ilan University and the Academic College of Ashkelon. His field of expertise is Jewish world politics.