Meir Max Bineth 1917-1954

Lieutenant General in Israeli Intelligence

Meir was born in Hungary, to his parents Amalia (nee Obermayer) and Joseph Bineth on June, 27th, 1917, while his father was serving in the Army. Meir’s mother had moved back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be close to her family for the birth. In 1919, the family moved back to Koln (Germany), were his father worked, which was the family’s permanent residence.

Meir was an outstanding pupil, and won prizes for his talent and craftsmanship. In 1935, at the age of 18, Meir and his parents escaped Nazi Germany and moved to Tel Aviv, where he worked in various jobs to support his parents and volunteered in the “Magen David” organization.

From 1936 to 1939, he trained in various branches of agriculture and completed a Haganah training course at Kfar Hassidim. From August 1942 through October 1945, he worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan, Iran, under a contract operated by Solel Boneh. He was seconded there as a grade A instrument mechanic, also filling the position of "Job Officer" (a personnel manager/supervisor) in the instrument control service. While in Abadan, he completed his formal studies by correspondence, studied Persian, and voluntarily made contact with local Jewish youth, teaching them Hebrew and Israeli folklore, and preparing them for Aliyah.

In 1946, he moved to Liverpool (UK), to study Radio Telephony, and Electrical Engineering. From 1948 to 1949, Bineth served as an officer in the IDF Communication Corps and was a member of the “Gidonim”. He was posted to Italy, where he developed communication equipment for sale, also being involved in purchasing ships for the Haapala – to help the illegal immigration of Holocaust survivors – and equipment.
In 1949, Bineth joined Israeli Intelligence and was sent to Iraq on a secret mission.

From 1950 to 1951, he continued his studies at the College Colwyn Bay Wireless College, in North Wales.

Meir’s last duty and mission was as an Israeli intelligence agent in Egypt, from 1952 to the end of 1954. He was sent there undercover as a German businessman, representing various German firms – primarily, Von–Laufenbreg, a firm manufacturing equipment for the disabled and crippled. Among other export firms he represented (as a consultant engineer), was the German branch of Ford. His wife & daughter joined him later. His mission was to gather information for Israeli Intelligence; many doors of Egypt’s top military echelon opened before him; he also met General Muhamad Naghib, then President of Egypt.

Meir was caught and arrested after the fall of the "network" (the Egyptian Zionist espionage and sabotage ring), an incident which later became known as “Esek Habish” (the mishap). Meir Bineth was ordered by a senior officer in Israel to deliver money for the groups needs and had met Marcelle Ninio a few times. Marcel was the last to be caught; under torture she gave Meir’s car number. After 5 months of interrogation and torture, on the day before his trial, Meir Bineth committed suicide in his prison cell. He realised that there was no way out for him and did not want to give the Egyptians the pleasure of hanging him in public, which was the fate awaiting him after conviction. His body was re-interred in the Mt Herzl Military Cemetery, Jerusalem, in 1959.

Meir Max Bineth loved music and played various instruments - this passion accompanied him wherever he was; he was also noted for his sense of humor. He spoke six languages, painted and kept a diary of his experiences. He was an intellectual, a pacifist and a great patriot.

This biography was written by his daughter, Michelle Bineth-Dagan, 5764-2004 ©

 

 

 

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02 May 2005 / 23 Nisan 5765 0