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Pinhas Lavon
Pinhas Lavon.jpg
Date of birth 12 July 1904
Place of birth Kopychyntsi, Austria-Hungary
Year of aliyah 1929
Date of death 24 January 1976 (aged 71)
Place of death Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 1, 2, 3, 4
Party Mapai
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Minister of Agriculture
Minister without Portfolio
Minister of Defense

Pinhas Lavon (Hebrew: פנחס לבון‎, 12 July 1904 – 24 January 1976) was an Israeli politician, minister and labor leader, best known for the Lavon Affair.

Early life

Lavon was born in Kopychyntsi in what was previously Galicia in Austria-Hungary (now in Ukraine). He studied law at the University of Lviv, where he organized Histadrut organizations in the region. He made aliyah and moved to Mandate Palestine in 1929.

Political life

Lavon was elected to the first Knesset in 1949, and was appointed Minister of Agriculture in David Ben-Gurion's second government.

He retained his seat in the 1951 elections, and in 1952 was appointed Minister without Portfolio. Following Ben-Gurion's resignation, he was appointed Minister of Defense in 1954. However, following the Lavon Affair in which he was accused of involvement in terrorist bombings in Egypt, he resigned from the cabinet.

Nevertheless, he remained an MK following elections in 1955 and 1959, and was later 'absolved' of any involvement in the Egyptian bombings. He retired from public life in 1964 after a long-standing discord with Ben-Gurion and died in Tel Aviv in 1976.

During his tenure, Lavon strained relations with the Chief of Staff of the IDF Moshe Dayan by holding important policy meetings without Dayan being present, directly contacting IDF officers without following the established chain of command and attempting to scuttle Israeli purchases of French arms. The culmination came when Operation Susannah (as the Lavon affair was officially called) was launched when Dayan was out of the country.

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