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The Socialist Revolutionary Subversion in Israel:

An Introduction to the Mapam, the Communist-led ‘Socialist Zionist’ popular-front Party that operated as a Soviet Espionage Front

 

 

 

Summary: The “United Workers’ Party” (Mapam) was a communist-led ‘Socialist Zionist’ popular-front Party operating as a Soviet espionage network, holding key positions in Israel’s military and intelligence bodies. Key Mapam agents in the Israeli security bodies were Yigal Allon and his protégé Yitzhak Rabin. Advocating a bi-ethnic state of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, the Mapam opposed the 1948 partition of Palestine and the Zionist settler-colonial expulsion of the Arabs from Palestine. After ‘Nakbah’, the Mapam advocated the Arab right of return and the economic union of Israel and Palestine within the context of revolutionary states being established in both countries. The Mapam closely cooperated with the Soviets and the progressive Arab forces. It had a 3,000-strong commando army called ‘Palmach’. It had a strong popular backing in the Israeli elections – the second most popular in Israel after the Mapai, Ben-Gurion’s Kautskyite party. What follows is a mere beginner’s introduction to the Mapam; details about the communist subversive activities of the Mapam spies in Israeli security shall be explored in other articles.

 

 

The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 16, Section 6 (C16S6) 

 

Saed T.

 

 

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/e9/Ma...

 

Left: The logo of the United Workers’ Party (Mapam), the Israeli communist-led ‘Socialist Zionist’ popular-front Party that operated also as a Soviet espionage front, holding key positions in Israel’s military and intelligence bodies. The strong presence of the Mapam throughout Israeli society was a major reason, though not the sole reason, for the favourable attitude of the USSR towards the people of Israel.

 

 

A person with a mustache and a mustache on a newspaperDescription automatically generated

‘The world mourns his death’, Al Hamishmar (the Mapam’s media organ), March 8, 1953.

Stalin, regarded as Ha-Shemesh Ha-Amim (‘The Sun of Peoples’), enjoyed great popularity among the Ashkenazim of Europe and Israel.

 

 Related: In the Middle of the 1948 War: Soviet-backed Israeli Mapam Warriors blow up an Israeli terror ship full of weapons destined for Haganah, Irgun terrorists.

 

 

No doubt Zionism … supports settler-colonial terror against the Arab proletarians, and favours strategic partnership and ‘peace’ treaties with the fascist Arabs, the bad Arabs. Yet, not everyone who self-described as ‘Zionist’ defined that term in such a way, at all. For many of them, ‘Zionism’ was redefined so as to mean life in a socialist-leaning bi-ethnic state in Israel-Palestine-Jordan region in a joint struggle … against Anglo-American imperialism – no ethnic cleansing against Arabs, no settler-colonialism, no Ashkenazi supremacy.

In Israel, there existed three main ‘Socialist Zionist’ political parties that closely cooperated with the Soviet intelligence, Comintern, the communist parties, or other communist-linked organizations. These parties were: Achdut Ha-Avoda (to which Yitzhak Rabin and Yigal Allon belonged), Hashomer Hatzair (to which Meir Ya’ari, Ya’akov Hazan, and the martyr commander of the 1942 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz, belonged), and Poale Tzion Smol. With the enouragement of the Soviet intelligence fronts, the consulates of the Peoples’ Democracies and the Soviet officials in Moscow – possibly even Stalin himself personally – the Israeli pro-Soviet ‘Socialist Zionist’ parties which closely cooperated with Moscow, merged to form the political party, Mapam. The CIA reported:

The 2,000 workers of the Socialist League plus 500 former members of the Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement brought total adult membership of the Hashomer Hatzair up to 8,500 in 1946. Its newspaper, Mishmar, was the third most widely circulated in Palestine. In 1946 the party came out against terrorism and was reported to be trying to gain strength in the rural areas. In July 1946 there was a reorganizaation of the political executive. Sections were designated for cooperation with the USSR, the V-League (Friendship for Soviet Russia), and the Arabs. (…). During the fall of 1947 negotiations were in progress in Palestine and abroad, particularly in Poland, for a union of all pro-Soviet left-wing groups in the Jewish Agency to counter-balance MAPAI’s “dictatorship” and to oppose the “fascism” of the Irgun-Revisionist bloc. Such pro-Soviet institutions as the Society for Israeli-Soviet Friendship, (the former V-League) the Soviet section of the Pan Slav Union, and the satellite consulates lent encouragement. By January 1948, Achdut Avoda-Poale Zion Smol’s fear of being swallowed up by the better organized communities of Hashomer Hatzair was assuaged, and these three parties united to form MAPAM. In the 1946 elections to the Histadruth the parties combined in MAPAM received 25% of the vote as opposed to 35% received by MAPAI. (POLITICAL PARTIES IN ISRAEL: Intelligence Memorandum No. 108, CIA, December 28, 1948, p. 8) (IMG)

In April 1946, Achdut Avoda merged with Poale Zion Smol to form the Mefleget Achdut Avoda, although (as in the merger of other Jewish parties) it remained its own party organization. (…). After the visit of two of its members to Moscow in February 1948, this party merged with the Hashomer Hatzair to form MAPAM. (POLITICAL PARTIES IN ISRAEL: Intelligence Memorandum No. 108, CIA, December 28, 1948, p. 7) (IMG)

The Mapam, a ‘Socialist Zionist’ party that was created with the support of the Soviets and cooperated closely with the Soviets, was to serve as the vehicle for socialist intelligence service work in Israel. In some ways, the Mapam back then was an equivalent of the Tudeh Party of Iran in the sense that it was so designed to be a communist-led popular front party. In other words, it was designed to be a progressive bourgeois-democratic party led by communists and oriented towards communism, but not exactly a communist party per se. The Mapam was actively sponsored by the Soviet military intelligence and the Soviet political intelligence via the Soviet Embassy in Tel Aviv well until 1949 and well beyond. In a Soviet Foreign Ministry instructions document sent to the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv, the legation was instructed to gather military and political intelligence in Israel, but also, importantly, instructed the legation to support the Mapam and the Maki in the struggle for bringing about a socialist-leaning state in Israel:

In relations with the opposition parties – the United Party (Mapam) and the Communist Party of Israel [Maki] – the legation must confine itself to acquiring information and, without interfering in these parties' internal affairs or the relations between them, support their actions in their struggle to establish friendly relations between Israel and the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies. (INSTRUCTIONS TO THE MINISTER OF THE USSR IN THE STATE OF ISRAEL, Secret, Ershov. Part of: COPY: AVP RF, F 089, OP.2, P.3, D.8, LL.2-11, I.N. Bakulin to A.A. Gromyko (Moscow), Moscow, 29 September 1949, Secret. In: “Documents on Israeli-Soviet Relations, 1941-1953, Parts 1-2”, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign  Ministry, Israel State Archives, Russian Federal Archives, pp. 534-538) (IMG)

Supporting the one-state solution, the Mapam opposed the partition of Palestine on the grounds that it would prevent a democratic peace between the Yiddish/Hebrews and the Arabs and would result in both countries – Israel and the Arab part of Palestine – to be economically weak. Along Soviet lines however, since the expulsion of the British was a priority for the Party, the Mapam supported the UN plan on Palestine which entailed the expulsion of the British and at the same time the partition of Palestine. “An article in the 25 January 1948 edition of the Palestine Post,” reported the CIA, “contains excerpts from the new party’s platform”:

“The independent nation is to forge its socialist future by striving for a pact with the toiling Arab masses in the country…. The party sees itself an inseparable part of the revolutionary workers’ movement and the work against capitalist reaction…. It will foster contacts with revolutionary movements all over the world and favors agreement between the workers of the world and the USSR which is the first workers’ state…. Complete equality and cooperation between the Jewish people returning to its land and the Arab masses living there will be sought…. Regarding the UN decision, the platform has determined the establishment of the Jewish state and its defense under present conditions despite its rejection, in principle, of the partition solution.” (POLITICAL PARTIES IN ISRAEL: Intelligence Memorandum No. 108, CIA, December 28, 1948, p. 5) (IMG)

The Mapam had a long history of arguing for a bi-ethnic state in Palestine and opposition to the partition:

From its inception, this movement understood that two peoples are living in the Land of Israel, and they both have the right to national self-determination. At its founding convention in 1929, the Kibbutz 'Artzi Federation resolved: “...the historic Land of Israel is the common homeland of two peoples, the Jewish people returning to it and the Palestinian people living in it.” 

This kibbutz federation, and its youth movement, strove to create a bi-national state in Israel, in which both peoples would have equal national and political rights while preserving the Zionist principle that the country must be open to all Jews persecuted by anti-Semitic forces and all Jews who choose to manifest their national existence.

(The Independent Socialist Party of Israel – MAPAM, International Department of the MAPAM, January 1986, p. 1) (IMG)

Nonetheless, even after the partition of Palestine, the Mapam made every effort to undo the damage of the partition of Palestine. To undo the economic damage of the partition, the Mapam called for economic cooperation and an eventual economic union between Israel and Arab Palestine. To block settler-colonial terror against the Arab civilians, the Mapam opposed the expulsion of the Arab civilians from Israel and supported the right of return. The Mapam also called for a democratic peace and extensive cooperation with Arab Palestine, as well as a military alliance with the progressive forces in the other Arab states.

In a report to the Soviet intelligence service, top Mapam officials Levite and Ya'akov Riftin reaffirmed the Party line in support of the Palestinian Arab right of return, the support for and pursuit of an alliance with the revolutionary Arabs in the neighbouring states, the establishment of a democratic peace, an Israeli alliance with the USSR and the Peoples' Democracies against Anglo-American imperialism, and strengthening the socialist forces in Israel's state apparatus and mode of production:

Speaking about the forthcoming elections to the Constituent Assembly and the prospects for development of the State of Israel, Riftin told me that their pre-election platform [of the Mapam] had been approved and consisted of the following: in foreign policy, orientation towards the Soviet Union and the new democracies; strengthening links with the Arab democratic movement. On the issue of Arab refugees, Levite said that the party's position included the following: return of refugees after the war, with the exception of 'warmongers'. In the: sphere of domestic policy, a resolute struggle against fascist and terrorist organizations. At present the government was pursuing only the Stern group, while members of other fascist and terrorist groups were still at liberty. Legislation to institute a progressive tax, the burden of which would be borne by the bourgeoisie, and not by the broad masses of the population; a struggle against clericalism, while retaining freedom of conviction; defence of [Mapam] positions in the army, because 'with the support of the army, the party can be a significant force'; officials who served the British to be dismissed from the civil service. (DIARY: AVP RF, F.089, OP.l, P.l, D.3, LL.21-3, Meeting: P.I. Ershov – Y. Riftin and L. Levite, Tel Aviv, September 23, 1948. In: “Documents on Israeli-Soviet Relations, 1941-1953, Parts 1-2”, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign  Ministry, Israel State Archives, Russian Federal Archives, pp. 363-365) (IMG)

Dr. Moshe Sneh, the prominent Haganah commander who was the leader of the Mapam and was a top Soviet spy in Israel, said in an interview that the Party supported an economic union between Palestine and Israel and the return of the non-revanchist Arab refugees, and an alliance with progressive Arabs:

We have always demanded the right of peaceful Arab refugees to return to the country. We have connected this with our demand that in the Arab part of Palestine there should be created a democratic independent Arab state, which would be linked with Israel by an economic union and a treaty of friendship. In the framework of such a democratic solution the question of refugees could no longer be used as an instrument for foreign intrigues. It is characteristic that, when we proposed a year ago that the right of peaceful Arab refugees to return be proclaimed as part of a democratic entente between Jews and Arabs, the majority parties just about denounced us as traitors. (…). According to our proposal of a year ago, the return of Arab refugees could have been an act of good will on the part of Israel on the path to Jewish-Arab friendship; (INTERVIEW WITH DR. SNEH, Neie Presse (a Paris Yiddish daily), Interviewer: L. Bruck, interviewee: Moshe Sneh, November 1949, p. 1. MIA) (IMG)

In a conversation with the Soviet diplomat in Tel Aviv, Levite, a leader of the Mapam, said:

On the issue of Arab refugees, Levite said that the party's position included the following: return of refugees after the war, with the exception of 'warmongers'. (DIARY: AVP RF, F.089, OP.l, P.l, D.3, LL.21-3, Meeting: P.I. Ershov – Y. Riftin and L. Levite, Tel Aviv, September 23, 1948. In: “Documents on Israeli-Soviet Relations, 1941-1953, Parts 1-2”, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign  Ministry, Israel State Archives, Russian Federal Archives, pp. 363-365) (IMG)

It should be obvious enough that the Arab right of return, the economic union, and comprehensive cooperation between these states would have undone every ‘anti-Palestinian’ thing that Israel is known for.

The Mapam also correctly claimed responsibility for promoting the rights of the Arab workers in the Histadrut:

MAPAM did not forego its desire for an accommodation with the Palestinian-Arab people and opened its ranks to Arab members, within the framework of a common political party. MAPAM fought against all restrictions on freedom of movement for the Arab population of Israel imposed by the Military Administration. MAPAM demanded – and achieved – the acceptance of Arab workers into the General Labour Federation of Israel (Histadrut). (The Independent Socialist Party of Israel – MAPAM, International Department of the MAPAM, January 1986, pp. 1-2) (IMG)

The Mapam ideologically held a strongly communistic orientation and almost half, if not more, of its members held communist stances on almost all issues except for ‘Socialist Zionism’:

According to a press dispatch of 25 April from Tel Aviv, an extremist group advocating stricter compliance with the Cominform line has gained control of MAPAM, a left-wing socialist party which was second only to MAPAI (Prime Minister Ben-Gurion’s party) in 1949 general elections. In a countrywide election this week of delegates to next month’s MAPAM party conference, the extremist group, which maintains that there is no ideological difference between Communist and MAPAM party aims other than Communist opposition to Zionism, had a 50% voice in the party’s rule. MAPAM’s moderate groups, which have reportedly elected but 40% of the party delegates, have stressed the importance of Zionism and of ideological independence. (U New York Times, Tel Aviv, 26 April [19]51). (…). Such a development could present Israel with a more serious Communism problem than the present political set-up provides. (‘Israel. Reported Leftist Gains in the MAPAM Party’. In: ‘Daily Digest’, CIA, Office of Current Intelligence (OCI), April 26, 1951, p. 5) (IMG)

According to a “Reuters” broadcast from London, Israel’s left-wing socialist party, MAPAM, dodged a threatened party split on the issue of how closely the party should follow the Cominform line when the party concluded its political convention at Haifa. A contradictory mixture of Zionist pioneering and pro-Soviet tendencies was revealed by the convention’s directive that MAPAM move toward “the socialist revolutionary camp, against Titoism, and for Jewish pioneering”. MAPAM … generally follows along Communist lines. (‘Israel. Pro-Soviet MAPAM Avoids Threatened Party Split’. In: ‘Daily Digest’, CIA, Office of Current Intelligence (OCI), June 4, 1951, p. 3) (IMG)

Again, the ‘Zionism’ of the Mapam was very different than the mainstream Zionist tendencies, in that it had opposed the partition of Palestine, opposed the terror and expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs, and supported an alliance with the progressive Arab forces. They were ‘Zionists’ in the sense that they supported the migration and regarded ‘Eretz Yisrael’ as the homeland of the ‘Jewish people’ (in addition to being the homeland of the Palestinian Arabs). Many anti-Zionists do not even know that a significant minority of the individuals who self-describe as ‘Zionist’ oppose the reign of terror and expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs, because most anti-Zionists assume that practically all of those self-describing as ‘Zionists’ would agree that the term ‘Zionism’ ipso facto and by definition means support for the settlement of the Jews and ‘Jews’ in replacement of Arabs and not alongside Arabs. Because of the existence of this 'Socialist Zionism' which called for Zionist migration to Palestine under the conditions of a democratic peace and a bi-ethnic state, rather than the partition and the settler-colonization of Palestine, Zionism was seen as an umbrella term that included both the Arab-friendly 'progressive Zionists' and the anti-Arab child-killers and fascist assassins of which many are reminded every time the word 'Zionist' is uttered. This is why in many worker organizations, unions, and parties in Europe, Zionism was in some contexts denounced as a fascist terror ideology and was sometimes denounced as merely 'foolish' or 'erroneous' but not as criminal or colonial. They who denounced this non-fascistic ‘Socialist Zionism’ as ‘foolish’ ridiculed it by arguing that it was calling for Ashkenazi lawyers and doctors in Europe to go the Negev desert and farm in an ultra-egalitarian cooperative. This contextual difference emanated from the different connotations of the term 'Zionist' and the recognition that some of those who self-described as 'Zionists' opposed anti-Arab terror and extermination projects.

The HaShomer HaTzair, ‘the Young Guards’, was one of the most prominent of these 'Socialist Zionist' organizations. Initially affiliated with the Kautskyite and Trotskyite circles slanderously campaigning against the USSR, it came increasingly under the influence of the communistic elements thanks to the soft power influence of the USSR among the Yiddish during the Great Patriotic War and thanks to the contacts established with the communist resistance forces as a result of the popular front policies. The cracks in the Hashomer Hatzair began to widen in the late 1930s, when, increasingly, it was made up of a ‘Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Zionist’ majority faction that triumphed over the ‘Trotskyist Zionist’ minority faction. Whereas the mainstream of the Zionist movement – the tools of Anglo-American intelligence as they were – collaborated with the Axis forces from 1943 as part of the effort to contain Soviet influence, the Hashomer Hatzair opposed the Nazi regime and the latter's Anglo-American backers, and supported Soviet efforts. Naturally, as with all communistic anti-Nazi resistance organizations, there were some suspicious elements – Trotskyite and Titoist agents – in its ranks, much as how there were high-ranking Gestapo agents inside the communist parties. However, just like the Comintern-affiliated parties, the general trend in the Hashomer Hatzair was genuinely anti-Nazi. A top case in point of Hashomer Hatzair heroism in the anti-Nazi struggles is the case of the well-known martyr Mordechai Anielewicz.  Anielewicz was the commander in chief of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Yiddish uprising against the Nazi German occupation. A HaShomer HaTzair ‘Socialist Zionist’ activist, he was a true friend of the Soviet Union even though the imperialist media and right-wing Israeli media try to steal and coopt his image for their own reactionary agenda by portraying Anielewicz as anti-Soviet and as best of friends with the MI6-backed anti-Semitic ‘Home Army’ terrorists. Yitzhak Zuckerman, the second most prominent commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, recalled in his memoirs: 

For example, Mordechai Anielewicz – he was a brilliant lecturer – said that if the Red Army (this was back in 1940) went into the Middle East and occupied Eretz Israel, we would welcome them with open arms. They would occasionally invite me to attend the sort of conferences we attend today in Israel. I said then that the entrance of the Red Army into Eretz Israel could be the end of Zionism, so I wouldn't welcome them gladly; naturally, I said, we might not have the strength to resist them. That was the big difference in conception. (A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Yitzhak Zuckerman, 1993, p. 504) (IMG)

Anielewicz was a leftist, so was Braslaw. If they had remained alive in Poland after the war, they would have gone with [the Soviet spy Ya’akov] Riftin. (A Surplus of Memory: Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Yitzhak Zuckerman, 1993, p. 258) (IMG)

Yitzhak Zuckerman’s role in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is dubious, but it is true that he had a prominent position in it. In other parts of his memoirs, Yitzhak Zuckerman confirmed – in vast contrast to mainstream media accounts – that the anti-Semitic terrorist organization, the MI6-backed Home Army, contributed nothing positive to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (see C13S4.1). Note that Zuckerman was admitting this a pro-American, pro-British, anti-Soviet Zionist – not as a Hashomer Hatzair ‘Stalinist’. Once again, pay attention to the difference of the Hashomer Hatzair mentality with that of the rest of the Zionist movement, when Zuckerman said “Mordechai Anielewicz … said that if the Red Army (this was back in 1940) went into the Middle East and occupied Eretz Israel, we would welcome them with open arms. (…). I said then that the entrance of the Red Army into Eretz Israel could be the end of Zionism, so I wouldn't welcome them gladly;” Hence, the Hashomer Hatzair’s ‘Socialist Zionism’ was a kind of a ‘Zionism’ that did not match the mainstream anti-Arabist and pro-imperialist faction of the Zionist movement to which Zuckerman belonged.

It is said that the Israeli military conducted research on the crimes that it committed against Arab civilians. This fact about the Israeli military is cited by the right-wing Israeli historiographers as 'evidence' that the Israeli army was a 'moral' army. What such right-wing historiographers deliberately leave out in such excerpts is that such research on the Israeli armed forces' crimes against Arab civilians was done by the Soviet spies and Mapamite opponents of the Israeli regime. The Riftin report, which was written by the Mapam leader and top Soviet spy Ya'akov Riftin, is a very famous case in point. Yes, the criticism of the IDF terror against Arabs did come from the high ranks of the Israeli military and intelligence bodies but these individuals belonged to the dissident tendency, the pro-Soviet tendency, in the Israeli regime and they were exposing the crimes against humanity by the dominant tendency, the pro-American fascist tendency, in the Israeli regime. The IDF ... has never been a monolith. Thanks to Arab armed struggle and the struggles of the Israeli proletariat, the fascists dominating the IDF have been rolled back at times and moral people have been catapulted to its high ranks. Some of the prominent Israeli leaders who did official government research about the IDF terrorism, typically tended to belong to the Soviet intelligence network in Israel and they owed their positions thanks precisely to such Arab anti-fascist armed struggle and the Israeli proletariat.

Norman Finkelstein, a prominent anti-Zionist Ashkenazi scholar on Arab-Israeli relations and a critic of the Mapam, wrote:

Mapam was unusually well placed to follow the unfolding of events in 1948. Much of the Haganah/IDF's officer corps was recruited from Mapam — e.g. Galili, Camel, Rabin and Allon. Moreover, committed as it was to achieving a modus vivendi with the Arab world, Mapam enjoyed atypically close relations with the Palestinian Arabs. Finally, Hashomer Hatzair, which together with Ahdut Ha'avodah formed Mapam in January 1948, managed to accumulate an extensive archive on the Arab flight. (…). In early May, Aharon Cohen, director of Mapam's Arab Department, wrote that 'a deliberate eviction [of the Arabs] is taking place. ... Others may rejoice — I, as a socialist, am ashamed and afraid'. A few days later he repeated that the Arabs were being expelled — a "'transfer" of the Arabs from the area of the Jewish state' was being executed — 'out of certain political goals and not only out of military necessity'. And at a Mapam meeting in June, Cohen charged that 'it had depended on us whether the Arabs stayed or fled. [They had fled] and this was [the implementation of] Ben-Gurion's line in which our comrades are [also] active'. At a late May Mapam Political Committee meeting, Eliezer Prai, the editor of the party's daily paper, accused elements of the Yishuv — e.g. Weitz — of carrying out a 'transfer policy' by 'blood and fire', aimed at emptying the Jewish state of its Arab inhabitants. In July, Mapam leader Ya'acov Hazan threatened that 'the robbery, killing, expulsion, and rape of the Arabs could reach such proportions that we would [no longer] be able to stand' belonging to a coalition with Ben-Gurion's Mapai. (In May 1948, Mapam had joined the newly formed government as a junior partner.)  (Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Norman G. Finkelstein, 2003. Bold added.) (IMG)

In addition to Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin, the two IDF commanders Haim Bar-Lev and David Elazar too were prominent members of a Mapam that identified with Stalin-era USSR:

Mapam members who had stayed in the IDF, like Yitzhak Rabin, Haim Barlev, David Elazar and others, were mostly appointed in the first few years of statehood to staff and training posts, and only slowly obtained commands over fighting units.

Although Mapam's strength inside the army was broken, Ben Gurion's apprehensions did not diminish. Mapam's wholehearted identification with Stalin's Soviet Union and its claim to belong to the Soviet bloc sounded alarms in Mapai Headquarters.

(Between Battle and Ballots: Israeli Military in Politics, Cambridge University Press, Yoram Peri, 1983, p. 62) (IMG)

They who have studied the reasons for the defeat of Israel by the Arab armies during 1973 War would surely find it very telling to be reminded, if not already remembering, that Eleazar and Bar-Lev were both agents of the Mapam, both close comrades of Yitzhak Rabin – and both Chiefs of Staff of the IDF during the 1970s.

Until midway through the 1948 War, different political parties had their own military forces. The Mapai had the Haganah, which was the main military force and the core of the IDC, although the Mapam had a significant influence over the Haganah as well. The Mapam itself had the ‘Palmach’, the military force arising out of the kibbutzim and headed almost exclusively by Mapam-affiliated commanders. The ‘Fighters for the Freedom of Israel’ (Lehi), the Nazi Zionist party that had over the years come under the partial influence of the Hashomer Hatzair anti-Nazis, had its own military force. The Herut (later called ‘Likud’), the party of the Italian Fascist agent Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his henchman Menachem Begin, had the ‘Irgun’.

Ya’akov Riftin and Liova Levite, Mapam’s political secretaries and Soviet spies, provided an intelligence briefing to the local Soviet intelligence service station in Israel. In this report, they made some critically important remarks which I have bolded below:

Riftin and Levite came to see me at their request. Levite said that the United Workers' Party [Mapam] was playing an important role in the political life of Israel. In the last elections to the Histadrut, it received about 40 per cent of the votes. At least a hundred collective settlements, out of a total of 300 Jewish agricultural colonies, are under its influence. Since many of this party's settlements are located near the frontiers of Israel they bore the main thrust of the Arab forces. Before the formation of the Jewish army, units of the Palmah, which consists mainly of supporters of this party, formed the basis of the Jewish armed forces. At present a large number of the military commanders, including some generals, belong to Mapam. However this is not true of the general staff or other central military departments, where Mapai members predominate.

Riftin said that he had recently returned from America, where he had met Comrade A.A. Gromyko. He believes that the United Workers' Party is the most progressive party in Israel, where it is 'following the path laid down by the Great October Revolution'. At present, the party considers its main task to be winning the war, because only when it has defended its territory from the enemy, will it be possible to build a democratic state.

At first the party favoured the establishment of international trusteeship over Palestine (America, Britain, the USSR), but later gave full support to the United Nations' resolution on partition. It is a staunch supporter of cooperation with the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies, since it sees them as the main international support, which will be needed in order to build a democratic socialist state. It is therefore trying to arrange practical links with the Soviet Union in the hope of receiving some advice. For their part, they offer comprehensive information about Israel and the Arab countries. In addition, it would be desirable for the Soviet Union to give moral support to the United [Workers'] Party.

(DIARY: AVP RF, F.089, OP.l, P.l, D.3, LL.21-3, Meeting: P.I. Ershov – Y. Riftin and L. Levite, Tel Aviv, September 23, 1948. In: “Documents on Israeli-Soviet Relations, 1941-1953, Parts 1-2”, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign  Ministry, Israel State Archives, Russian Federal Archives, pp. 363-365. Bold added.) (IMG)

(…). The Mapam was an intelligence front of the Soviet Union. Note that the Soviet intelligence station in Tel Aviv had reported to Moscow, in reference to the Mapam, that:

they [i.e. Mapam] offer comprehensive information about Israel and the Arab countries.

(DIARY: AVP RF, F.089, OP.l, P.l, D.3, LL.21-3, Meeting: P.I. Ershov – Y. Riftin and L. Levite, Tel Aviv, September 23, 1948. In: “Documents on Israeli-Soviet Relations, 1941-1953, Parts 1-2”, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign  Ministry, Israel State Archives, Russian Federal Archives, pp. 363-365) (IMG)

To be a high-ranking loyalist agent of the Mapam amounted to service to international communism spearheaded and led by the Soviet Union. Not every Muslim Brotherhood operative was directly connected to the MI6 but the Muslim Brotherhood was an MI6 front and a Muslim Brotherhood loyalist officer was serving the British intelligence service; analogously, not every Mapamite general had a direct link with Moscow, but every Mapam loyalist agent in the high ranks of the Israeli regime apparatus was working for a Soviet espionage network and was knowingly allied to the Soviet state. The Mapam had a pervasive intelligence network in Israel. Isser Harel, the Shin Bet chief and a Mossad founder, warned:

“Mapam had set up an underground network which was operating out of the very bosom of the Defense Ministry, the army, and the Foreign Ministry.” (Spies in the Promised Land: Iser Harel and the Israeli Secret Service, Michael Bar-Zohar, 1972, pp. 130-131) (IMG)

The Mapam’s intelligence penetration into the different areas of Israel’s state apparatus was truly remarkable. That many of the politicians, diplomats, and generals were agents of the Mapam is well-known. The Mapam also had agents in of the ranks of the right-wing parties. Ze’ev Tzahor was a high ranking IDF official, a Ben-Gurion aide and research assistant, and a researcher of the Mapam who interviewed many Mapam affiliates. Tzahor wrote:

In 1950, Mapam's secret cells operated in the security service, the military administration, the Ministry of Defense and the army. (…). Some of the cell members later made an impressive security career. Of those, there were generals, ambassadors and Members of the Knesset who were not necessarily [officially affiliated with the] Mapam. One of them was a minister in a right-wing party. This is based on several sources. (Hazan: Movement of Life, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute, Ze’ev Tzahor, 1997, p. 197) (IMG)

 

 

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Mapam logo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapam#/media/File:Mapam.svg

Al Hamishmar paper from: The world in anxiety: Stalin is dead!, Rafi Man. https://blog.nli.org.il/stalin-is-dead/