Isser Be'eri (Hebrew: איסר בארי, born 1901, died January 1958) was the director of the Haganah Intelligence Service in Israel and was responsible for helping to reorganise Israeli intelligence services in 1948, as well as knowingly ordering the execution of an innocent man, Meir Tobianski. He was the founding director of the Israeli Intelligence Department (between 1948 and 1949) which later became the Military Intelligence Directorate.
Born in Będzin in Germany (today in Poland), Be'eri was one of a group of young men known as the "Six from Bedzin", who were later the founders of Migdal. Be'eri made aliyah to Palestine in 1921 and became a member of Kibbutz Artzi. He worked in construction until 1938. Between 1944 and 1945 he managed Israel Military Industries, and from 1946 to 1947 managed the Na'aman factory.
On 30 June 1948 Shai was disbanded as part of a reorganization of the Israeli secret service. Three agencies were created: Shin Bet (Shabak), Mossad and Military Intelligence Directorate, with Be'eri appointed the Director of the latter.
Meir Tobianski was a Major in the British army during the Second World War and was a captain in the Haganah. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Tobianski was working for the Jerusalem Electric Corporation and had knowledge of the exact location of several arms manufacturers in Jerusalem. These factories had received direct hits from Jordanian artillery.
On 30 June 1948, Tobianski was taken into custody and interrogated by Be'eri, David Kron, Binyamin Gibli and Avraham Kidron during a drumhead court-martial. Be'eri had already prepared a firing squad consisting of six soldiers from the Palmach Yiftach Brigade, which was in control of the Jerusalem corridor zone. Tobianski was found guilty and executed in Bayt Jiz, where his body was buried. Tobianski had received neither a lawyer nor a right to appeal, and his case was not reviewed by a higher court. Be'eri knew of his innocence, but still ordered his execution.
In 1949, Be'eri was tried and found guilty of manslaughter. At the trial the court found that as there was a ceasefire in effect at the time, any information supposedly passed by Tobianski could not have served the Jordanian artillery.
Be'eri received one day of prison time due to his extensive service to Israel. He was pardoned on the same day by the president, Chaim Weizmann, but Be'eri is said to have left the trial a broken man, and ensconced himself in his home until a fatal heart attack in January 1958.
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