On August 28, news came from Tel Aviv that former minister of defense and deputy prime minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had passed away at a medical center. The 80-years-old Israeli official was suffering from kidney disease.
The Iraqi-born Israeli official gained hate in Egypt when Israeli war documentary “The Shaked spirit” or “Rush Shaked” was aired on an Israeli TV channel in March 2007, including testimonies of military veterans in the Shaked unit he headed in 1967 on how they killed 250 Egyptian POWs near Egyptian-Palestinian borders.
In an alleged U.S confidential cable sent from the U.S embassy in Cairo to Washington on 7 March 2007, it was detailed how Ben-Eliezer cancelled his visit to Egypt over the anger of the government of Egypt as well the anger of media.
Interestingly, according to Ben-Eliezer’s Wikipedia page, the Egyptian General Intelligence service warned him of coming to Egypt during that time otherwise he could be arrested.
The public anger during then in Cairo forced the Egyptian People’s assembly summoned the minister of foreign affairs then Ahmed El-Ghait to investigate the matter.
The Egyptian ministry opened an investigation into the documentary vowing to take strong steps if proven the Israeli guilt. It also released the transcript of the documentary in Arabic
The statements of the videos were clear that Egyptian POWs were killed despite they were not holding any arms and they were hiding according to the transcript released by the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs to the Egyptian media in March.
In 2008, Ahmed El-Ghait stated that the investigation was still open till Israel would finish its investigation.
It is unclear to know the fate of the Egyptian investigations into the Rush Shaked documentary but Israel already made it clear that its veterans did not commit anything wrong as usual.
The Israeli ministry of foreign issued a statement in Arabic on March 7,2007 claiming that video stated those late Egyptian military were actually fighting combatants who had a battle and “both sides had battles and victims during that war”!!
The former Israeli minister of defense was proud of his very close friendship to Egypt’s ousted dictator and convicted ex-president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, a thing which brought to him criticism sometimes in Israeli media ironically after 2011.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer stated in August 2011 that he and current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu offered political asylum to Mubarak and his family following his ouster but he declined because “he was patriot”.
As a minister of infrastructure, Ben-Eliezer witnessed along with Mubarak in June 2005 the signing of a memorandum of understanding for supplying Israel with Egyptian national gas.
Mubarak’s long-time friend, Hussein Salem was the main Egyptian partner in this controversial deal.
Ben-Eliezer had a very legacy when it comes to Egypt and its POWs as Lebanon and its invasion and history won’t forget that.
History will also remember how the Mubarak’s administration had an opportunity to restore back some of the rights of the Egyptian POWs but it gave it up.