Ehud Adiv

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Ehud "Udi" Adiv (Hebrew: אהוד "אודי" אדיב‎‎) (b. June 21, 1946 - ) is an Israeli political scienctist and lecturer at the Open University of Israel. In his youth, he was a left-wing anti-Zionist activist who was eventually convicted of treason and membership in a hostile organization [1] and who served over a decade in prison.


Ehud (Udi) Adiv was born and raised on Kibbutz Gan Shmuel. He was the son of one of the kibbutz founders. His undergraduate studies were in philosophy and Middle Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University. In the early 1970s, he joined the extreme left and became involved in militant anti-Zionist activities at conferences of the Israeli socialist organization Matzpen.[2]

Adiv served in the Israeli military and was among the soldiers who captured Jerusalem in the Six Days War.[3] He became disillusioned and politically radicalized by his wartime experiences.

After several trips to Damascus where he met what he thought were left-wing members of the Palestine Liberation Organization but who allegedly may have actually been agents of the Syrian Intelligence service. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison for treason and membership in a hostile organization. After 12 years, in 1985, he was released.

In 1975, while still imprisoned, Adiv married Sylvia Klingberg, the daughter of Marcus Klingberg, who would later be arrested and convicted for passing Israeli biological warfare secrets to the Soviet Union. The ceremony was held in Ayalon Prison. They divorced three years later.

Three years after his release from prison he completed a Doctoral thesis entitled "Politics and Identity: A Critical Analysis of Israeli Historiography and Political Thought" [4] at the University of London (under the supervision of Sami Zubaida on Zionist historiography and particularly 1948 historiography. He was then appointed as a lecturer of Political Science in the Open University of Israel.


In February 1973 controversy erupted over the political trial of Daud Turki, Udi Adiv and Dan Vered, together with other Israeli leftist radicals of the Revolutionary Communist alliance - Red Front, a splinter offshoot of the Socialist Organization in Israel (Matzpen)]. According to testimony at the trial, Adiv traveled clandestinely to Damascus via Athens to meet PLO resistance leaders. The case was dubbed by the Hebrew press as the "Syrian spy ring trial." Udi Adiv and Daud Turki were sentenced to seventeen years imprisonment.[5]

Adiv was mentioned by Yasser Arafat in his "Gun and the Olive Branch" speech[6] before the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. In that speech, Arafat said: "As he stood in an Israeli military court, the Jewish revolutionary, Ehud Adiv, said : 'I am no terrorist; I believe that a democratic State should exist on this land.' Adiv now languishes in a Zionist prison among his co-believers. To him and his colleagues I send my heartfelt good wishes."

Of his experience, Adiv said: "For me and for many young people, the 1967 war and its aftermath were a real shock. I woke up to the hypocrisy of the Mapam, its nationalism and refusal of any form of solidarity with the Palestinians. As a student I tried to make direct contact with the latter. And so, after a succession of secret meetings, I ended up, stupidly, in Damascus. Needless to say, I never gave the Syrians a scrap of information."

Published works[edit]

  • The Jewish Question and the Zionist Movement[7]
  • Politics and Identity:A Critical Analysis of Israeli Historiography and Political Thought, London, UP, 1998


  • B'Yom Bahir Ro'im et Damesek (1984) (On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus)[8]
  • Udi Adiv, A broken Israeli myth[9]


External links[edit]