Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Sharett Denounces the Executions; Knesset Mourns

February 1, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A tense Parliament rose to its feet in a two-minute silent tribute to the two Jews hanged in Cairo this morning following their conviction by a military court on charges of “espionage” in behalf of Israel. The House rose after Premier Moshe Sharett made a statement denouncing the executions.

“The Israel nation and the Jewish people everywhere and seekers of justice and peace throughout the world heard with anger and moral indignation the dreadful news of the execution of Dr. Moshe Matzouk and the schoolmaster Shmuel Azzar who died a martyr’s death this morning,” the Premier declared.

“The number of Jewish victims of the odious trial in Cairo has now reached four. One died under torture, one according to the Egyptian authorities took his own life, and two were put to death this morning. Let us rise in their memory,” Mr. Sharett said, “and convey to their families expressions of cur deep-felt sympathy.

“The Egyptian junta,” the Premier continued, has received in attempt to strengthen its position as against its rivals from within as well as its opponents abroad by spilling Jewish blood. Many regimes have in the past adopted this same criminal means, and in the end sealed their own doom, Egypt has chosen to revenge itself on the Jews in whose hearts there was a longing for Israel. These victims have been sacrificed to that same bloody assault launched against Israel from the moment of its establishment, and which Egypt’s rulers continue to this day to maintain by all means at their disposal.”


“Egypt will not be sustained by the blood which has thus been spilled, nor will Israel or the Jewish people forget their blessed martyrs,” Mr. Sharett pledged “The devotion for Zion of an untold number of Jews was not stifled in the past by persecution, nor will it be in the future. The love here for their people will vanquish the hatred surrounding them.”

After the deputies had stood in silence for two minutes, Mr. Sharett voiced the Israel Government’s “profound appreciation” for the efforts made throughout the world to save the condemned Jews. “The Government of Israel voices its contempt and horror at the heartless rejection by the rulers of Egypt of the urgent representations made to them, a rejection accompanied even, in some cases, by calculated deceit regarding what was intended,” Mr. Sharett declared.

“At the same time, the government wishes to express its recognition of all who did what they could, by word and deed, to save human lives and prevent the gallows from casting its shadow over relations between peoples in the days to come.” When Mr. Sharett sat down, Speaker of the House Joseph Sprinzak called a half-hour recess as a sign of mourning.

Recommended from JTA