Rush Shaked Affair

Produced and aired in March 2007 on an Israeli TV channel , “Rush Shaked” or “Shaked spirit” is an Israeli documentary made by Israeli filmmaker Ran Edelist about “Shaked special unit” and its veterans in the Israeli Defense Forces “IDF” and its activists in Sinai , Gaza , Lebanon and East Bank.

A screen shot from Rush Shaked
A screen shot from Rush Shaked

During the film , the veterans spoke on how they killed 250 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai in June 1967 using helicopters near the borders of Gaza and Egypt under the commandership of Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the late Israeli minister of defense.

Ben-Eliezer , himself spoke in the documentary justifying what happened claiming that they “Shaked Unit” would not let this Egyptian unit withdraw with its own weapons.

In the same part of the film , an Israeli veteran stated the Egyptian soldiers were afraid and with no arms hiding away.

Shaked Emblem
Shaked Emblem

“The Shaked Spirit” was aired on the second channel of the Israeli television “Thanks to Cruel World blog” 

Here is the documentary below in Hebrew without translation. “Updated on 7/9/2016 : It was removed from YouTube”

Here is a clip , about 5 minutes from the documentary on YoutTube uploaded by an Egyptian user.

Egyptian TV channel El-Mahawr’s news show “90 minutes” aired parts of the Shaked spirit documentary dubbed in Arabic in 2007 specifically the part where Israeli veterans admitted they killed Egyptian POWs.

The documentary caused a huge outcry in the Egyptian society as it re-opened the file of the Egyptian POWs once again. Despite Mubarak regime had a very close relation with the Israeli government during then yet it was from the very few times that the Egyptian POWs file was taken seriously.

Despite Mubarak regime had a very close relation with the Israeli government during then yet it was from the very few times that the Egyptian POWs file was taken seriously.

On 4 March 2007, the Egyptian Ministry of foreign affairs “EMOFA” summoned the Israeli ambassador in Cairo to demand Tel Aviv to present a clarification regarding the documentary and the Egyptian embassy in Israel was ordered to follow up with the Israeli foreign ministry.

On 6 March 2007, the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs Ahmed Abu El-Gheit met with his Israeli counterpart then Tzipi Livni in Brussels and addressed the matter with her demanding the full copy of the documentary as well an investigation into the matter.

Livni and Abu El-Gheit
Egypt’s former FM Ahmed Abu El-Gheit with Israel’s former FM Livni and their Jordanian counterpart in a meeting in July 2005 “EPA”

As soon as the EMOFA received a copy of the documentary from Tel Aviv , it was translated to Arabic and its translated transcript was released to the media and was published in Egyptian State-owned newspapers like Al-Ahram newspaper on 10 March. 

Here is the complete English translation of the transcript.

The translated transcript caused even wider outcry considering its wider outreach.

On 14 March in a very important and unprecedented statement , the Egyptian presidency admitted that Israel committed war crimes against the Egyptian POWs in the 1967 war. 

In a press conference, former Egyptian Presidency spokesperson Soliman Awad answered a question related to the controversy related to Shaked documentary saying that “Israel committed war crimes” and that “Egyptian street was angry for its martyrs”. 

Despite saying that the documentary would not affect the Egyptian-Israeli relations , Abu El-Gheit announced that the Egyptian foreign ministry was investigating the documentary and would not give up the rights of the Egyptian POWs.

On 23 April at the People’s assembly in Cairo , Mohamed Abu El-Gheit stood in front of the Foreign affairs committee and Defense Committee in the parliament speaking about the what the foreign ministry had done saying that on 21 March the ministry sent to the International Red Cross demanding the files related to the Egyptian POWs in 1956 and 1957.

He also said that Mubarak gave his orders to the ministry of foreign affairs and other sovereign institutions “aka Intelligence agencies” to follow up that file “Egyptian POWs”.

?A number of lawyers and families of Egyptian POWs began to sue Israel in front of the Egyptian lawsuit during then.

In Israel, the documentary’s director Ran Edelist stated that there was a misunderstanding due to a wrong editing in the film despite the translated transcript released by the Egyptian Ministry of foreign affairs was clear on how the veterans spoke about “killing unarmed Egyptian soldiers hiding away”.

Ben-Eliezer and Mubarak in 2005
Late Israeli ex-minister Ben-Eliezer and ousted Egyptian President Mubarak in Cairo in 2005 “AFP”

Ben-Eliezer ,who was the minister of infrastructure then in Israel postponed his visit to Egypt on 7 March by the request of the Egyptian intelligence for fear he would be arrested based upon warnings from Cairo.

He would not be arrested during then because Cairo did not take the legal procedures for such action but his visit would be an extreme provocation to the Egyptian people and would embarrass not only the Egyptian government but also former Ousted president Mubarak.

Mubarak was already a friend of Ben-Eliezer.

The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement on 7 March 2007 saying the Israeli officials watched the film and it turned out according to them that the veterans allegedly spoke about “Egyptian armed fighters” , not Egyptian POWs and that the war happened from a long time ago and people were killed from both sides.

After March and April 2007 , suddenly the “Shaked Spirit” seemed to be gone away but it turned back into the Egyptian media. In April 2008 , Abu El-Gheit said that the EMOFA was still waiting for the results of investigations !!

On the other hand, the lawsuits in front of the administrative court of Egypt are adjourned till eternity.

Seeing the controversial part translated and reading the transcript released official by the Egyptian foreign ministry as well comparing the testimonies of Egyptians in North Sinia from locals and veterans with what was happening then, there is no doubt that a war crime had been committed by the Shaked Unit headed by Binyamin Ben-Eliezer against 250 Egyptian military personnel on the Egyptian-Palestinian borders in 1967.

The Shaked Spirit incident is still considered one of the rare times the Egyptian government acted positively for a short time regarding the Egyptian POWs file.

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