Anti-Israel documentarian David Sheen today tweeted a link to a 2+year old piece of his, which details the story of ”Jewish peace activist” Avraham Tsfati, who tried to assassinate former Israeli Prime Minister David ben Gurion.
I am glad this came to my attention, because I think Tsfati’s story is very instructive.
Five years later, Tsfati returned to the headlines when he announced the formation of a new political party in Israel, Ma’azanei Tsedeq (Scales of Justice), that would advance his peace plan, which rejected both American and Russian colonialism. On the eve of the Jewish holiday of Purim in 1957, Tsfati spoke to an audience at the Mughrabi Theater in Tel Aviv, claiming that his new party numbered 50 members. Youth in the audience, many of whom wore costumes, as is the custom on Purim, cheered him, yelling out, “Let Tsfati rule!”
Before elections for the next Knesset were held, though, Tsfati crossed the border into Syria, apparently in an attempt to convince powerful figures in that country of the importance of his peace plan. Syrian officials returned him to Israel, where he was promptly arrested for crossing into an ‘enemy state’ illegally. Haaretz reports that he told a judge, “The government isn’t doing anything to advance the noble cause of peace between us and the Arabs. Going to Syria was my own personal initiative to try to make [peace] happen.”
Tsfati claimed that the Syrians treated him well, but they returned him to Israel because they didn’t think that a private individual like himself could have much influence. “Go back to Israel, and when your party gains power and has a majority in the Knesset, we’ll invite you back to discuss a peace treaty,” they reportedly told him. Tsfati left the Syrians with printed copies of his manifesto, the Scales of Justice, for their consideration.
There are no newspaper reports that detail the conclusions of these court proceedings, but apparently at some point, he was remanded to a psychiatric hospital in Acre: In May 1960, he was returned to Israel from Lebanon in a cease-fire deal that included an exchange of populations that had crossed the border between the two countries, whereupon he was taken to the psychiatric hospital in Acre. Perhaps he had gone to Lebanon for the same reason that he had gone to Syria, to promote his personal plan for Israeli-Arab peace.
Tsfati appealed to a court to have him released from the psychiatric hospital. His appeal seems to have been denied, however, because months later, in January 1961, he managed to escape the hospital’s confines once again, reportedly for the fourth time. On the lam, when Tsfati eventually ran out of means, he sought to visit members of his family living in Tiberias, but police had already set up an ambush for him there. He did not resist arrest when caught, and claimed to have no intentions of crossing into any Arab countries again.
But that’s exactly what he did on December 29, 1964, when he tried to cross the border into Jordan, three kilometers north of Eilat, near the date orchards of Kibbutz Eilot (at that time, Jordan and Israel were still in a state of war). Tsfati was shot in the head and torso by Jordanian soldiers, and he succumbed to his wounds later on that day. His body was returned to Israel, as was the body of another young Israeli that had tried to cross into Jordan on the same day, Avraham Ben Moshe Kalbo of Be’er Sheva. It is not known whether Kalbo had acted in partnership with Tsfati.
Almost 50 years have passed but not much seems to have changed in the leftist mindset.
Update: Incidentally, when I Google ‘Avraham Tsfati’, one of the only references to him is this excerpt from the book Jewish Terrorism in Israel by Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, which describes him as “disturbed”:
I guess one man’s disturbed person is another man’s “peace activist.”