TEL AVIV (Jan. 1)
One of the two additional Israeli Jews detained last week in connection with the uncovering of an Arab-Jewish spy ring was identified yesterday as Ram Livneh of Tel Aviv 27, son of the Rakah member of the Knesset, Avraham Levenbrum.Livneh is married and the father of two. The second Jew is Yehoshua Lerman, 22, known as “Mali,” a new immigrant from Argentina.
The news of the arrest of a Knesset member’s son caused anxiety in leftist circles in Israel, particularly among the Rakah members. Meir Wilner, a Knesset member who returned Friday from the Soviet Union, said that Livneh was a known member of Matzpen, a small ultra-leftist Israeli group, and did not see eye to eye with his father.
Police sources said both Livneh and Lerman were not directly connected with the main group, called the Adiv group for Ehud Adiv, one of the four Israeli Jews seized in the initial roundup along with 35 Arabs, in what authorities said was a Syrian-directed espionage ring. But it was reported that upon suggestions from Adiv and from Dan Vered, another arrested suspect a special messenger of the Syrian intelligence bureau had come to visit Livneh and Lerman and suggested they join the “revolutionary movement” to “oust the Zionist conquering forces from Palestine.”
(See Page four for Maoist defense of spy ring.)
DENY THEY KNEW SYRIAN AGENT
According to police sources, both Lerman and Livneh, members of a action which split from Matzpen rejected the suggestion but they did not inform Israeli authorities about the contact, an offense in itself. Police were aware of that meeting but the two were not immediately detained in the hope that the Syrian contact might try another meeting.
Both had been under constant surveillance since the initial arrests of Adiv and Vered, the latter a left-wing extremist who joined the Students for a Democratic Society while in the United States and later quit Matzpen because he thought the anti-Zionist pro-Trotskyist splinter group was too conservative.
The two Jews denied all charges during interrogation, contending they did not know the man they met was a Syrian agent. Livneh, like Adiv, was a kibbutz member. He served in the Army and reserve forces. Two years ago he left his kibbutz and joined Rakah but left soon because it was not sufficiently revolutionary, police reported. He used the same reason for quitting Matzpen.
Lerman was reported to have been active in left-wing groups in Argentina and was said to have had troubles with the Argentine police. Officials speculated the Syrian contact man may have crossed over a Jordan River bridge during the summer visits but this could not be confirmed.