Yeshayahu Yerushalmi

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Lieutenant Colonel Yeshayahu Yerushalmi (Hebrew: ישעיהו ירושלמי‎‎), sometimes referred to as Isaiah Yerushalmi (born 1920 in Poland[1]), is a former Israeli judge. Yerushalmi was the presiding judge of the preliminary Israeli inquiry into the USS Liberty incident (called the Yerushalmi Report).[2] In many subsequent accounts his name is transliterated as Y. Yerushalmi.


Yerushalmi was born in Poland in 1920. As a teenager, he emigrated to Israel in 1935.[2] A graduate of Tel Aviv's Balfour College, he studied law at the University of Jerusalem and joined Haganah.[1] He served as a law clerk and lawyer from March 1942 to 1947 and then joined the military where he transferred to the Military Advocate General and became JAG to the airforce, later to the navy.[1] In 1957 he was appointed as a judge on the Court of Military Appeals, a position in which he held until launching an enquiry in the USS Liberty incident in 1967.[1]

USS Liberty incident (1967)[edit]

In his investigation into the assault, Yerushalmi conceded that the pilots responsible for the attack had spotted the markings on the ship but were generally uncertain of the identity of the ship.[2] His report diminished many of the criticisms against Israeli forces in the attack despite the critical fact that two Israeli Navy officers had appeared to be aware of who was running the Liberty.[2] Yerushalmi conceded that the United States ship had entered waters which "were dangerous for shipping" and concluded that the Israel perpetrators responsible for the deaths of 34 Americans had acted within reason during wartime.[2] Although Yerushalmi's report was reported to be "poorly written",[2] and faced considerable US criticism, all US enquiries into the event concluded that it was a genuine case of mistaken identity.[3] Although the attack was initially seen as a deliberate attack against the US, NSA has provided evidence from radio intercepts that the target was erroneously identified as having hostile intent and was not identified as American until 44 minutes after the attack.[3] Also complicating the situation was that just two days prior to the incident on June 8, 1967, the United States and the United Nations Security Council had declared that they had no warships within hundreds of miles of the fighting zone.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Cristol, A. Jay (2002). The Liberty incident: the 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S. navy spy ship. Brassey's. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-57488-536-1. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Scott, James (6 July 2010). The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship. Simon and Schuster. pp. 277–8. ISBN 978-1-4165-5483-7. Retrieved 6 January 2011.