"The Nasty Business" - "Esek Habish"
“The Nasty Business” title in retrospect was given to the reckless operation of two underground cells which comprised young Jews in Egypt. In the summer of 1954 they were sent to operate actions of minor sabotage in British and American facilities in Alexandria and Cairo. The actions’ goal was to prevent the British pull-out from Egypt. The operatives’ own commander betrayed them and turned them in to the Egyptians. In addition, he also turned in Meir Max Bineth, a senior intelligence combatant, who operated then in Egypt. They were all brutally interrogated and stood showcase trial, which commenced on 11 December 1954. Bineth committed suicide ten days later. Commanders of the two cells – Dr. Moshe Marzouk of the Cairo’s squad, and Samuel Azar of Alexandria’s, were sentenced to death by hanging. They were hanged in Cairo, on January 31, 1955. Victor Levy and Philippe Nathanson were sentenced to life of hard penal labor. Marcelle Ninio and Robert Dassa were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment terms each. Mayer Meyohas and Mayer Zafran, were sentenced to seven years in prison of hard penal labor.
Remarks by Prof. Nahem Ilan, Head of The Cairo Martyrs Memorial Fund
“The shocking event is so decisively-significant in the history of the state of Israel. Not just then but also now days”.
A quotation from Prof. Nahem Ilan, Fund’s Head words in an event noting sixty years to Operation Susannah – the Nasty Business, at the Dahan Center.
Established in 1991, the IICC had initiated the establishment of the foundation with the bereaved families of the slain prisoners in order to preserve and pass on the legacy of the Cairo prisoners and martyrs and of their peers.
Engineer Samuel Azar was sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on January 31, 1955
Dr. Moshe Marzouk
Dr. Moshe Marzouk was trialed and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on January 31, 1955.
Meir Max Bineth
Intelligence officer Mair Max Bineth operated in Egypt during the first years after Israel was established. He ended his life on 21 December 1954
Victor Levi was sentenced to life of hard penal labor and was released in a prisoner’s exchange in 1968. Died: August 2003.
Philippe Nathanson was sentenced to life of hard penal labor and was released in a prisoner’s exchange in 1968. Died: May 2004.
Robert Dassa was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was released through a prisoner exchange in 1968.
Marcelle Ninio-Boger was sentenced to 15 years in prison. She was released through a prisoner exchange in 1968. Died: October 2019.
Mayer Zafran was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 1961 . Died: October 2022
Mayer Meyohas was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 1961. Died: October 1994.
The Israeli media reported extensively about ‘The Affair’ as did the Arab media, which referred it to be “the great trial of Zionism”.
During many weeks the Cairo prisoners were tutored and stood showcase trials in the presence of generals and senior commanders from numerous armed forces. However, during the entire time the prisoners kept their pride and heads up!
“Galei Zahal” radio station – “Minheret Hazman program” (time tunnel) – “The Nasty Business”