BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed to help Argentina during the 1982 Falklands War as revenge for Britain’s crackdown on the Irgun during the British mandate of Palestine, according to a new book.
"Operation Israel: The Reaming of Argentina During The Dictatorship," by Argentinian journalist Hernan Dobry, explains how Israel secretly supplied arms and equipment to Argentina via Peru.
According to the book, Begin authorized the deal by saying, "Is this going to be used to kill the English, Kadima (go ahead). Dov from up there is going to be happy with the decision."
Dov Gruner was a close friend of Begin who was captured and hanged by the British in April 1947.
"Obviously, it must be all done perfectly," the Israeli prime minister adds.
The testimony is provided by Israel Lotersztain, a salesman for Isrex, an Israeli defense company in Argentina.
"What Israel did was all within legal channels, but was a support to Argentina during the Falklands War that was only shown by a few countries in the world, such Libya and Peru," Dobry told JTA.
The riskiest deal concerned supplying 23 French-built Mirage IIICs fighter aircraft, which were camouflaged with the Peruvian flag.
Israel armed Argentina’s military dictatorship with air-to-air missiles, fuel tanks for fighter bombers, gas masks and missile radar alert systems, as well as warm "dubonim" jackets, according to the book.
"If the United States hadn’t turned a blind eye, it would have been impossible for Israel to send such a large amount of weapons" Dobry told JTA. "Many components were American, and there is a law that prohibits the sale of any military component to third parties without the authorization of the White House."
Britain retook the Falkland Islands, called the Islas Malvinas in Argentina, in June 1982, less than three months after Argentina tried to recover the islands. More than 250 British and 650 Argentines were killed in the battle.