Ehud Adiv

Ehud Adiv

Dr. Ehud 'Udi' Adiv (Hebrew: אהוד ("אודי") אדיב) is an Israeli social scientist and political activist who was accused of spying for Syria.

Adiv was born in 1946 and raised in a kibbutz named Gan Shmuel in Israel. He was the son of one of the kibbutz founders. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he was a political activist. He belonged to the far left of the Israeli political spectrum. After a trip to Damascus where he met members of the PLO he was sentenced to 17 years in prison for spying and membership in a hostile organization. After 12 years, in 1985, he was released. Today Adiv works for the Open University of Israel.


His undergraduate studies were in philosophy and Middle Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University.

After his release from prison he finished a PhD (Politics and identity: a critical analysis of Israeli historiography and political thought. Ehud Adiv. London Ph.D. 1998) thesis in the University of London (under the supervision of Sami Zubaida, one of the leading scholars on the Middle East) on Zionist historiography and particularly on the 1948 historiography. He was then appointed as a lecturer in the Open University of Israel, a position he still holds.

Dr. Adiv's main work and publications are generally related to the question of nationalism and particularly that of Israeli identity.


In February 1973 controversy erupted in Israel over the political trial of Daud Turki, Udi Adiv and Dan Vered, together with other Israeli leftist radicals. The trial marked a unique milestone in the history of the democratic and anti-Zionist opposition in Israel. The story that emerged was that the Revolutionary Communist alliance - Red Front, a splinter offshoot of the Socialist Organization in Israel (Matzpen) which aimed to form a common anti-Zionist military resistance underground for Arabs and Jews inside Israel and link forces with the Palestine Liberation Organization resistance to Zionism and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip. Roughly thirty people, both Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel, were brought to trial. According to testimony given in the course of the trial it became known that Udi Adiv traveled clandestinely to Damascus via Athens to meet PLO resistance leaders. The case - dubbed by the Hebrew press as the "Syrian spy ring trial" - was to become perhaps the most sensational political trial in Israeli history until that time. Udi Adiv and Daud Turki were each sentenced to seventeen years imprisonment. Dan Vered received a sentence of ten years.

Adiv was mentioned by Yasser Arafat in his famous [ "Gun and the Olive Branch"] speech before the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. In that speech, Arafat said the following about Udi Adiv:

"As he stood in an Israeli military court, the Jewish revolutionary, Ehud Adiv, said : 'I am no terrorist; I believe that a democratic State should exist on this land.' Adiv now languishes in a Zionist prison among his co-believers. To him and his colleagues I send my heartfelt good wishes."

Of his experience, Udi Adiv said:

"For me and for many young people, the 1967 war and its aftermath were a real shock. I woke up to the hypocrisy of the Mapam, its nationalism and refusal of any form of solidarity with the Palestinians. As a student I tried to make direct contact with the latter. And so, after a succession of secret meetings, I ended up, stupidly, in Damascus. Needless to say, I never gave the Syrians a scrap of information."

Current status

Ehud Adiv currently lives in Israel, lately divorced from his wife Sylvia. Sylvia is the daughter of Marcus Klingberg, who was convicted in Israel for passing biological warfare secrets to the Eastern Bloc. He is a lecturer in social sciences at the Open University of Israel.

Writings by Udi Adiv

* [ The Jewish Question and the Zionist Movement]

Films about Udi Adiv

* [ B'Yom Bahir Ro'im et Dameshek (1984) (alternate title: On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus)]


*Dominique Vidal (August, 2000) "Could Israel’s kibbutz experiment finally fail?". "Le Monde Diplomatique"
*Batsheva Tsur (September 11, 1998) "Israeli court orders release of aging spy". "Jerusalem Post"
*Uri Davis (Winter, 1996). [ "Citizenship legislation in the Syrian Arab Republic"] . "Arab Studies Quarterly"
*Unsigned (Dec. 25, 1972) [,9171,906703,00.html "The Sabra Spies"] "Time Magazine"

NAME=Adiv, Ehud
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Israeli anti-zionist activist and socialist
PLACE OF BIRTH=Gan Shmuel, Israel

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