Damage caused after a bomb exploded in front of Soviet Embassy

On February 9th, 1953, the Soviet Union’s diplomatic outpost which was the de-facto embassy for the communist regime in Tel Aviv was bombed, resulting in the Soviets ending all official ties with Israel for close to a year. A number of Soviet officials were injured in the attack and the entire building is severely damaged. 

Immediately after the bombing by extreme anti-communist Israeli terrorists, protests broke out in Tel Aviv leading to violence between the protesters of the bombing and counterdemonstrators who were against the Soviet attempt to deliver communism to the newly founded Jewish state.

“The apologies of the Israeli Government have been contradicted by numerous facts of direct participation by the Israeli Government in fanning hatred for the Russian Government and in inciting hostile actions against Russia,” the Soviet Union said in an official statement released through the Soviet Tass news agency. The statement further mentioned “the obvious connivance of the Israeli police” in the attack.

The Stalinist Soviet Union, which was one of the supporters of the U.N. partition plan for Palestine in 1947, sent its official delegation to Israel in 1948 with the desire of gaining a communist hold in Israel amid the developing cold war between them and the United States. Despite the ruling Israeli politicians at the time favoring socialism over capitalism, the Soviets largely failed in their efforts as Israel gradually embraced the United States, its Western allies and a free market economy; which pressured Israel to reject Soviet attempts of regaining Russian property in the land of Israel. 

A combination of the popularity of the capitalist “Revisionist” movement led by Menachem Begin and fears of persecution of the 2.5 million Jews living behind the Iron Curtain increased the general rejection of the Israeli public to the attempts of the Soviets to fully communize Israel.

After the Soviets severed ties with Israel, The Netherlands represented Israeli interests in Moscow;  Israel and the Soviet Union announced the resumption of diplomatic relations later that year on July 21 in return for Israeli officials promising to find those responsible for the bombing.

Although the case was never officially closed, the bombing has been suspected to be carried out by the Israeli terrorist group called the “Kingdom of Israel”, which was largely made up of former members of the pre-state “Stern Gang” group. The leader of the Kingdom of Israel organization, also a former Stern Gang member, Yaakov Heruti, denied any involvement in the attack, and the government lacked the proof to pursue their claims that it was in fact him. 

Regardless, Heruti and the other Kingdom of Israel members were eventually sentenced to prison for other attacks directly linked to them, with the longest sentence being 12 years for other attacks. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion later commuted all the sentences just after two years.

The Soviet Union would eventually break off relations with Israel during the Six-Day war, only restoring its relations with the Zionist state during the fall of the Soviet regime in the early 90s.

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