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The Agranat Commission

The state commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the war chaired by Chief Justice Simon Agranat, the Agranat Commission shook the Israeli political system to its foundation. The Commission recommended the immediate dismissal of a number of high-ranking officers, including IDF Chief of Staff, David (Dado) Elazar, Director of the Military Intelligence Branch (hereafter DMI), General Eli Zeira, and his deputy and director of the AMAN Research Department, Brigadier-General Aryeh Shalev..... The Commission issued the interim report. Presented to the Israeli government on April 1, 1974, this booklet of about forty pages was widely discussed on the front pages of Israeli newspapers immediately upon its publication. Moreover, the Israeli press quoted large chunks of it word-for-word. On July 10, 1974, the Commission issued a second interim report, which, unlike the first interim report, was almost completely censored. Out of 423 pages, divided into two volumes, the Commission approved the publication of no more than six introductory pages.The third and final Agranat Report, which the Commission submitted to the government and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 30, 1975, covers 1,511 pages and is divided into seven volumes. As is true of the second report, its contents were heavily censored and inaccessible to the general public. The partial publication of the third and final report was made possible due to a petition brought by the daily newspaper Ma’ariv before the Supreme Court in 1993. In that year, which marked the twentieth anniversary of the war, the newspaper demanded that the government declassify the contents of the report about which the public was most curious. The court ruled in favor of Ma’ariv. It was not a difficult case to make since Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin and the IDF Chief-of-Staff Ehud Barak, did not object to the petition. In July 1994, the government oversaw the publication of the Agranat Report—excluding the parts that dealt with “information, sources, and working methods of the Intelligence Corps and the IDF. It took about a year of hard work for the Field Intelligence Department of the IDF General Staff to edit the report and make it ready for publication. This task was completed in January 1995, when the report was made available for scholars at the facilities of the IDF and Israel Defense Establishment Archives (IDFA). This edition of the report omitted forty-eight pages that dealt exclusively with intelligence affairs. In September 2006, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense announced the publication of a more comprehensive edition of the Agranat Report. This was made public in January 2007. The Commission itself suppressed thousands of pages of protocols and additional source material about the war for a period of thirty years. The authority to decide which excerpts should be published was to be given to “a special committee” assigned by the government and approved by the Knesset. In 2005, this special committee, spearheaded by Chairman Justice Yitzhak Engelhard, has gradually approved the publication of about fifty testimonies, which have attracted substantial public interest. When IDFA published a collection of Commission testimonies on its website in 2012 and 2013—which included excerpts of the protocols of Prime Minister Golda Meir and tens of military officers—the minutes of these testimonies made headlines in several newspapers and television channels. Some of its critics, like journalist Ronen Bergman, feel the Committee has not made enough of an effort to give the public full access to the government’s historical records.

Source: History in the Public Courtroom: Commissions of Inquiry and Struggles over the History and Memory of Israeli Traumas - University of California

A professor of law, Pnina Lahav has published nearly 50 journal articles and books, including the critically acclaimed Judgment in Jerusalem: Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist Century. Winner of Israel’s Seltner Award (1998) and the Gratz College Centennial Book Award (1998), Judgment in Jerusalem was offered as a selection by the History Book Club in the United States and was the subject of a symposium at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law in 1999.

Source: Pnina Lahav

The Agranat Commission, appointed by the cabinet to investigate the debacle of the Yom Kippur War, catapulted Agranat into the center of Israel's gravest crisis. He became the target of one of the most acrimonious and caustic torrents of criticism the country has ever known. The Agranat Commission's reports were ferociously debated on the front pages of newspapers, on radio and television, by every cab driver and shopkeeper across the country. Every Israeli had—still has—a definite opinion about its findings.

More, read chapter 13 in the book "War and the Agranat Commission "

Read the book here

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