“They silenced it,” the former combat soldier Moshe Diamant says, trying to be spare with his words. “It mustn’t be told, it could cause a whole scandal. I don’t want to talk about it, but it happened. What can you do? It happened.”
Twenty-two years have passed since the furor erupted over the account of what occurred during the conquest by Israeli troops of the village of Tantura, north of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, in the War of Independence. The controversy sprang up in the wake of a master’s thesis written by an Israeli graduate student named Theodore Katz, that contained testimony about atrocities perpetrated by the Alexandroni Brigade against Arab prisoners of war. The thesis led to the publication of an article in the newspaper Maariv headlined “The Massacre at Tantura.” Ultimately, a libel suit filed against Katz by veterans of the brigade induced him to retract his account of a massacre.