Thursday, July 7, 2016

42 - Sharett Statement in the Knesset regarding the Execution of Israeli Spies in Cairo, January 31, 1955

Mr. Speaker, Honorable Knesset.
    The Israeli nation, the Jewish people in all its  dispersions, and all lovers of justice and peace throughout the world received with fury and moral revulsion the frightful news that the death sentences passed by the military court in Cairo against two young Jews, Dr. Moshe Marzouk and the teacher Samuel Azaar, have in fact been carried out and that they died a martyr’s death this morning.
The number of victims of the atrocious trial in Cairo has thus reached four. Eliahu [Armand] Karmonah expired under the questioning of his torturers [in August 1954]; another—Max Bennet—committed suicide, according to the Egyptian authorities, as a result of the nightmarish atmosphere which enveloped the trial; two others—Dr. Moshe Marzouk and Samuel Azaar—were executed today. We shall rise and stand in silence in their memory, and we send to their families the expression of our participation in their deep mourning. (The Knesset rises in honor of their memory.)
The ruling clique in Egypt has decided to strengthen its position vis-a-vis its internal adversaries and its external opponents by shedding Jewish blood. Many regimes have travelled this bloody road and have paid the penalty for it in the end. Egypt has chosen to take its revenge upon Jews who are committed to Israel in body and soul. The military tribunal sentenced them to the death penalty and the head of the regime approved the executions of the two, as well as life imprisonment or extremely long sentences for the others.
These tortured Jews are the victims of the same criminal, bloody war in which Egypt has involved Israel since its inception, and its rulers have continued it to the present day in all the ways it can. Egypt will not be acquitted of the blood which it has so maliciously spilled. The Jewish people and the State of Israel will not forget its martyred victims. The commitment of masses of Jews to Zion has not been eradicated in the past and will not be eradicated in the future by terror and persecution. Their love for their people will overcome the hatred which runs wild around them.
The Government of Israel points with deep satisfaction to the efforts made throughout the world—in Europe, Asia, and America—by governments, organizations, and public and political figures, including people of repute and leaders of nations, to save the accused in Cairo from the gallows. In condemning with aversion the rigidity of the rulers in Cairo who rejected all of these vigorous appeals, while at the same time not refraining from leading those who made the appeals astray—the Government wishes to express its appreciation to all those who gave a helping hand and raised their voices to save human life and to prevent the shadow of the gallows from over-shadowing the relationship between these nations in the future.
The Speaker, as a sign of mourning, then adjourned the sitting for half an hour.

SOURCE: Divrei ha-Knesset, vol. 17, p. 687. Sitting 541 of the Second Knesset; Sharett speech translated in Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981, ed. Netanel Lorch, (Lanham / New York / London: University Press of America / Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1993), III: 823-4.