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Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence Ephraim Kahana
of Israeli Intelligence
Historical Dictionaries of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, No. 3
The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Maryland • Toronto • Oxford
Editor’s Foreword Jon Woronoff ix Preface xi Acknowledgments xiii Acronyms and Abbreviations xv Chronology xix Introduction xxxix THE DICTIONARY 1
A Directors of the Israeli Intelligence Organizations 331
B Israeli Intelligence Community Structure 333
C Directorate of Military Intelligence 335
D Israeli Security Agency (ISA) 337
E Mossad: Israel Secret Intelligence Service 339
About the Author 367
Israel’s intelligence community is probably the most intriguing one around and also one of the hardest to get much information on. Starting almost from scratch at the time the State of Israel was created, it quickly grew, developed new branches, and launched numerous operations. For Israel, whose establishment is among the largest and most proficient in the world, this was hardly just a luxury. In the past, and even today, it was more a matter of life and death, initially not just the life or death of some of its citizens, but that of the very nation. Over the past half cen- tury or so, Israeli Intelligence has scored an amazing number of suc- cesses, including support in a series of wars, infiltration of enemy Arab states and even of secretive terrorist organizations, and the escape to Is- rael of whole communities of Jews. But it has also recorded some dis- mal failures, none of which it could afford. Consequently, like others, Israel has had to adapt to new times and occasionally reform its system.
Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence is thus one of the most interesting volumes in this new series, dealing as it does with one of the most secretive intelligence organizations in the world. Yet, there is a wealth of details in the dictionary section, including entries on the var- ious agencies, their top leadership and outstanding operatives, rare but very damaging cases of outside penetration of Israel, various aspects of tradecraft, and above all descriptions of major operations over the years, both the successes and the failures. They are imbedded in an introduc- tion, which covers the whole field over the half century or so and looks into the future. The chronology helps follow this amazing trajectory. And the bibliography is a precious key to finding more information in written literature or on the Web.
This volume was written by Ephraim Kahana, who is an academic with a strong specialization in national security and intelligence studies, which he teaches at Western Galilee College, the University of Haifa,
x • EDITOR’S FOREWORD
and the Technion. Over the years, Dr. Kahana has published many pa- pers and articles on related issues and also organized panels and con- ferences. This experience provided the basis for a reference work that will doubtlessly be welcomed by students and fans of intelligence and counterintelligence, not only for its contents but also for its organization and the accessible style. Indeed, the entries on certain operations and operatives read almost more like fiction than reality, although they are the stuff of what is broadly regarded as one of the top—if not the top— intelligence establishments.
The State of Israel was established only in 1948, but in its 57 years of existence its intelligence community has won the image of a “super- man.” Most espionage movies somehow contrive to mention the Israeli Mossad, which has probably become the most ubiquitous Hebrew word everywhere after shalom. Countless books have been written on the Is- raeli intelligence community, especially the Mossad.
Much of the literature about the Mossad may be considered pure fic- tion, but the fact is that many observers regard Israel’s intelligence com- munity as among the most professional and effective in the world and as a leading reason for Israel’s success in its conflicts with the Arab states. Its missions encompass not only the main task of ascertaining the plans and strengths of the Arab military forces opposing Israel but also the work of combating Arab terrorism in Israel and abroad against Israeli and Jewish targets, collecting sensitive technical data, and conducting political liaison and propaganda operations.
The Israeli intelligence community is comprised of four separate components, each with distinct objectives. The Mossad is responsible for intelligence gathering and operations in foreign countries. The Is- raeli Security Agency controls internal security and, after 1967, intelli- gence within the occupied territories. Military Intelligence is responsi- ble for collecting military, geographic, and economic intelligence, particularly in the Arab world and along Israel’s borders. The Center for Political Research in the Foreign Ministry prepares analysis for gov- ernment policy makers based on raw intelligence as well as on longer analytical papers.
The Mossad, and likewise elite units of the Israel Defense Forces, have achieved many notable successes. Most of them remain secret and unknown. The known ones are still impressive and are covered in the dictionary. They includes the capture of the high-ranking Nazi Adolf
xii • PREFACE
Eichmann, the theft of a Soviet MiG-21 fighter aircraft, the rescue of Is- raelis taken hostage by terrorists in far-off Uganda, and the conveyance to Israel, their homeland, of Jewish communities in oppressive coun- tries such as Iraq, Iran, the Maghreb states, and Ethiopia. All these were accomplished despite the Mossad’s tiny size in terms of manpower and budget compared with its counterparts in the West.
In February 1978, Time magazine ranked the intelligence establish- ments of 14 countries, mostly of Western countries and a few commu- nist states, based on parameters such as integrity of personnel, ability to conduct operations, and skill in making the best of given resources. The Mossad was ranked among the four leading intelligence organizations in the world, together with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the So- viet KGB, and the British Secret Service.
This book aims to portray the entire Israeli intelligence community, its organizations and directors, its successes and its failures, for the first time in a dictionary style. The book may appear to lay undue stress on failures, but this is only because these have been uncovered and made known to the general public; only some of the successes are known, while many more remain secret.
Writing a dictionary like this cannot be done alone, and I wish to grate- fully acknowledge the help of friends and colleagues who helped me in the completion of this task. First and foremost, I would like to thank Richard R. Valcourt, editor in chief of the Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, for recommending to Jon Woronoff that I compile this dictionary.
I am greatly indebted to Professor Michael Andregg, who took time out of his busy schedule to read parts of the book and amazed me by re- sponding immediately with valuable assistance each time I turned to him for advice.
The kind assistance of the library of the Western Galilee College, the staff of which assisted me in locating the proper references, made the task of writing this book much easier. A special thanks goes to Ms. Za- hava Santo, the director of the library, and to Ms. Tamar Israeli, the li- brary’s information specialist, who helped with the technical side of preparing the bibliography. Many thanks also go to Dr. Haim Sperber, an academic consultant at the college, who reviewed parts of the proofs.
I wish also to thank Jon Wornoff for his useful corrections and sug- gestions throughout the course of my writing. Ms. Nicole McCullough and Ms. April Snyder of Scarecrow Press assisted with the editing and technical aspects of the book, and I am grateful for their careful atten- tion to the many details. My student and research assistant, Ephraim Tkacz, also provided me with valuable help.
Last, but of course not least, I would like to thank my family, who had to live with the fact that so much of my time over the past year was devoted to bringing this work to completion.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
AEC Atomic Energy Commission (United States) ALA Arab Liberation Army
Aman Agaf Modi’in/Directorate of Military Intelligence
ARCO Atlantic Richfield Corporation
BESA Begin-Sadat (Center for Strategic Studies)
Bilu Bet Ya’akov L’chu V’Nelcha (“O House of Jacob come ye and let us go”)
BND Bundesnachrichtendienst/Federal Intelligence Service
BSO Black September Organization
CGS Chief of the General Staff
CIA Central Intelligence Agency (United States) CID Criminal Investigation Department COMINT Communications Intelligence
CPPR Center for Political Planning and Research
CPR Center for Political Research
CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union
CSS Center for Special Studies
DCI Director of Central Intelligence (United States) DMI Director of Military Intelligence
DSDE Director of Security for the Defense Establishment FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation (United States) FSU Former Soviet Union
GSS General Security Service
GUPS General Union of Palestinian Students
Hatsav Homer Tsevai Bariah/Unwittingly Exposed Military
HRM Hebrew Resistance Movement
HUMINT Human Intelligence
xvi • ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
IAF Israel Air Force
IAI Israel Aircraft Industries
ICT International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism
IDF Israel Defense Forces
IMINT Imagery Intelligence
IPS Institute of Policy and Strategy
ISA Israeli Security Agency
ISORAD Isotopes and Radiation Enterprises
JCSS Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
Katamim Ktsinim Le’Tafkidim Meyuhadim/Officers for Special
KGB Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti/Committee for
State Security (USSR)
LAKAM Lishka Le’Kishrei Mada/Bureau of Scientific Liaison
LAP Literature and Publications
LHI Lohamei Herut Israel/Fighters for the Freedom of
Mahman Mahleket Modi’in/Naval Intelligence Squadron
Maki Miflaga Komonistit Israelit/Israeli Communist Party
Malmab Memuneh Al Ha’Bitahon Be’Ma’arekhet Ha’Bitahon/ Director of Security for the Defense Establishment (DSDE)
Mamad Ha’Mahlka Le’Mehkar Medini/Center for Political
Mapai Mifleget Poali Eretz Israel/Israeli Workers Party Mapam Mifleget Poalim Meuhedet/United Workers Party Matmad Ha’Mahlaka Le’Mehkar Ve’Tikhnon Medini/Center
for Political Planning and Research (CPPR) MEMRI Middle East Media Research Institute
MI Military Intelligence
MI5 Secret Service (United Kingdom) NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service
NILI Netzah Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (“The Everlasting of Israel will not lie”)
NSC National Security Council
NUMEC Nuclear Material and Equipment Corporation
OSINT Open Source Intelligence
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS • xvii
OSS Office of Strategic Services (United States) PA Palestinian Authority
PFLP Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
PKK Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan/Kurdistan Workers Party
PLO Palestine Liberation Organization
POW Prisoner of War
SAM Surface-to-Air Missile
SAVAK Sazeman-i Ettelaat va Amniyat-i Keshvar/National
Organization for Intelligence and Security (Iran) SDECE Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-
Espionnage/Foreign Information and Counter- espionage Service (France)
Shabak Sheruth Bitahon Klali/General Security Service
Shai Sheruth Yedioth/Information Service Shin Bet Sheruth Bitahon/Security Service SIBAT Siyua Bithoni/Security Support SIGINT Signals Intelligence
UN United Nations
UNFP Union Nationale de Forces Populaires/National Union of Popular Forces (Morocco)
USFP Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires/Socialist
Union of Popular Forces (Morocco) USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
VARASH Va’adat Rashei Ha’Sherutim/Committee of Directors of the Intelligence Services
YAMAM Yehidat Mishtara Meyuhedet/Special Police Unit
Zidar Zira Dromit/South Theater
Zika Zirat Kol Ha’Olam/World Theater
Zimar Zira Merkazit/Central Theater
Zit Zira Technologit/Technological Theater
Zitar Zirat Terror/Terror Theater
Zitsap Zira Tsefonit/North Theater
1915 November: Netzah Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (NILI), a clandestine pro- British spying organization, is founded in Ottoman Turkish-ruled Pales- tine by Aharon Aaronsohn, his brother Alexander Aaronsohn, his sister Sarah Aaronsohn, Avshalom Feinberg, and the Belkind brothers.
1917 February: The first contact is made between the Netzah Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (NILI) center at Atlit and British intelligence in Cairo. The con- nection is maintained by sea for several months and the British receive use- ful information from the group. September: The Turks catch a carrier pi- geon sent from Atlit to Egypt, furnishing clear proof of espionage within the Jewish population. One of the group, Na’aman Belkind, is captured by the Turks. 1 October: NILI is uncovered by the Turkish police; Turkish soldiers surround its members in Zikhron Ya’akov and arrest many people, including Sarah Aaronsohn. 5 October: Sarah Aaronsohn attempts suicide after four days of torture: she shoots and mortally wounds herself, dying on 9 October.
1919 May: Aharon Aaronsohn is killed in an air accident; Netzah Yis- rael Lo Yeshaker (NILI) finally breaks up.
1920 The Haganah underground militia is officially established.
1936 Ezra Danin, together with Ephraim Dekel and Emmanuel Wilen- sky, lays the foundations of the Arab Department in the Haganah.
1939 The Mossad Le’Aliyah Beth is created to organize illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine.
1940 June: Shaul Avigur, in a memorandum to the Haganah command, proposes establishing a joint countrywide information service. Septem- ber: Avigur’s proposal goes into effect, and the Information Service (Sheruth Yedioth, or Shai), the Haganah’s intelligence arm, is officially established.
xx • CHRONOLOGY
1941 The Palmah underground militia creates the Syrian Platoon, commanded by Yisrael Ben-Yehuda and Yehoshua (Josh) Palmon, who have made a major specialist contribution to Shai; members of the pla- toon speak Arabic and operate in Syria.
1942 Due to World War II, the Mossad Le’Aliyah Beth activities are wholly suspended for the duration of the war.
1943 The Palmah sets up the Arab Platoon, a unit of combat and in- telligence officers disguised as Arabs for covert missions. It is known by its codename Shahar.
1944 The Palmah sets up the German Platoon, consisting of German- speaking Palestinian Jews, commanded by Shimon Avidan. They are parachuted into Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to encourage resistance and collect intelligence. The Mossad Le’Aliyah Beth activities are re- sumed when Palestinian Jews learn the full extent of the “Final Solution.”
1945 Yolande Harmer is recruited in Egypt to the Political Department of the Jewish Agency during a visit to Egypt by the department’s head, Moshe Sharett; posing as a journalist, she is considered one of the best spies in Egypt. July: Briha (Escape), an organization for the illegal im- migration movement of Jews to Palestine from postwar Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, begins activities.
1946 In Hadera, Palmah’s Arab Platoon organizes courses on intelli- gence, as a result of cooperation between Zerubaval Vermal (Arbel), nicknamed Chifab, later a founder of combat intelligence in Israel De- fense Forces (IDF), and Yehoshua Flomin. Participants are taught Ara- bic and hear lectures to gain an acquaintance with the Arabs.
1948 14 May: The State of Israel is declared. 15 May: Israel becomes an independent state. 7 June: Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, after consulting with Shai’s acting director Reuven Shiloah, resolves to es- tablish three intelligence organizations instead of Shai: Military Intelli- gence (MI), attached to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) General Staff; a domestic secret service, later known as the Israeli Security Agency (ISA); and a foreign intelligence service. The first two are initially sub- ordinate to the IDF; the foreign intelligence service is intended to be subordinate to the minister of defense until the end of Israel’s War of In- dependence. 29 June: Meir Tobianski is executed by firing squad after
CHRONOLOGY • xxi
a field court-martial conducted by Shai members and presided over by Isser Be’eri. The charge is treason, based on circumstantial evidence. Tobianski is later cleared of espionage charges. 30 June: Shai is for- mally dismantled. Heker 2, an ultrasecret unit, is set up in the Political Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Its missions are sabotage and propaganda behind enemy lines. Chaim Herzog is appointed direc- tor of Military Intelligence (DMI), holding this position until 1950. MI is assigned the responsibility for combat intelligence, operations secu- rity and counterespionage, listening, and censorship. July: The listen- ing unit moves into the Tsahalon building in Jaffa. 22 July: Changes are made in the structure of the operations section of the IDF and intelli- gence. Functions formerly belonging to Shai are to merge into the Mil- itary Intelligence Service, under the IDF Operations Branch. The new body is to encompass the combat intelligence, censorship, and opera- tions sections and will be headed by Be’eri. The head of the combat in- telligence section is to be Binyamin Gibli. 30 July: MI is created under the IDF General Staff branch. Eventually this service is to become the Department of Intelligence. 1 August: Under Order 48/25, the Intelli- gence Service comes into force. 20 August: The first regulations of the Intelligence Service, drawn up by Herzog and Be’eri, are approved. 22
September: Yigael Yadin, head of Operations Branch, publishes a doc- ument defining the division of authority between MI and the Political Department of the Foreign Ministry. October: The offices of the Shai, headed by Be’eri, are transferred to the Green House in Jaffa.
1949 24 March: The original order of Intelligence Service is can- celed, replaced by a new order prepared by Herzog; the Department of Intelligence in the General Staff is divided into branches called Military Intelligence Service (IS) with a number appended. April: A supreme committee for intelligence work is formed and chaired by Shiloah; later it is titled the Committee of Directors of the Intelligence Services, known by the Hebrew acronym VARASH. On the establishment of this committee, the Magic Carpet operation for secret airlifting of Yemeni Jews to Israel begins; by its end in September 1950 it will have brought some 45,000 out of 46,000 Yemeni Jews to Israel. 2 May: Ya’acov Buqa’i, disguised as an Arab en route to Syria on a spying mission, is caught by the Jordanian authorities. July: Shiloah proposes the creation of a central institution to enhance coordination and cooperation among
xxii • CHRONOLOGY
the intelligence services. 3 August: Buqa’i is tried and hanged in Am- man. October: Isser Be’eri is tried for his part in the execution of Meir Tobianski. The court decides to discharge Be’eri from the military ser- vice. 13 December: Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion authorizes es- tablishment of the “Institute [mossad] for Co-ordination” to oversee the Political Department of the Foreign Ministry and to coordinate internal security and military intelligence bodies. This is the birth date of the Mossad, then attached to the Foreign Ministry. Reuven Shiloah is ap- pointed the Mossad’s first director.
1950 The Ezra and Nehemia Operation is launched, whereby almost all Iraqi Jews are brought to Israel, first via Cyprus then directly; the operation continues until early 1952. April: Binyamin Gibli is made director of Military Intelligence (DMI) with promotion to colonel. He mainly develops apparatus for intelligence gathering. July: Yehoshafat Harkabi is appointed Gibli’s deputy and boosts intelligence analysis.
1951 Ben-Gurion authorizes the final reorganization of the Mossad, making it an independent, centralized authority, capable of handling all overseas intelligence tasks. According to the proposal, which in the end does not materialize, the Mossad is supposed to be called the “Author- ity.” It is meant to include representatives of the other two services, MI and the domestic security service. The Mossad then departs from the Foreign Ministry and reports directly to the prime minister, thus becom- ing part of the Prime Minister’s Office. Major Max Binnet is assigned to an espionage mission in Egypt. March: Creation of Nativ, an intelli- gence organization responsible for Israel’s connection with the Jews of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and for immigration to Israel from those countries. 1 April: The so-called Spies’ Revolt erupts, sparked by the transfer of intelligence functions from the Foreign Ministry to the Mossad; the revolt is led by Asher Ben-Natan. May: In Egypt, Major Avraham Dar recruits young Jews for an espionage network.
1952 Avraham (Avri) El-Ad is recruited by MI’s Unit 131 to com- mand the Jewish espionage network in Egypt; later he betrays its mem- bers. 20 September: Shiloah resigns from the Mossad directorship, and Isser Harel, until then director of the ISA, is appointed to the post. Izi Doroth replaces Harel as the ISA director.
1953 Amos Manor is appointed ISA director. December: Official ti- tle of Military Intelligence (MI) is changed from the Department of In-
CHRONOLOGY • xxiii
telligence to Directorate of Intelligence in the General Staff of the Israel
Defense Forces (IDF), raising its status in the IDF hierarchy.
1954 2 July: Members of a Jewish espionage network in Egypt begin the Susannah Operation by planting small firebombs in several mail- boxes in Alexandria. A series of sabotage acts, directed primarily against Western embassies and other institutions, is planned, attempting to pre- vent the British evacuation from Egypt. 14 July: In its second action, the network in Egypt firebombs the American libraries in Cairo and Alexan- dria. 23 July: After the third action of the network in Egypt, its members are caught. 26 July: First publication on the capture of the Susannah net- work in the Arabic press. Toward the end of the month, a furor erupts in Israel as to who gave the order to set up the network in Egypt in the so- called Affair, also known as Bad Business. 11 December: The trial of the Jewish espionage network members begins in an Egyptian court.
1955 The Misgeret (Framework), a subunit of the Mossad, is estab- lished as a special force in North Africa to protect Jewish populations, mainly in Algeria but also in Tunisia. Harkabi, promoted to major gen- eral, becomes director of Military Intelligence (DMI); he serves in this position until 1959. January: The verdict on the Jewish espionage net- work is handed down by the Egyptian court. Penalties ranged from seven years imprisonment to execution. Dr. Moshe Marzouk and Shmuel Becor Azzar, members of the network, are sentenced to death and hanged. 27 September: Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser announces a new arms deal between Egypt and Czechoslovakia. This deal and the concern it creates contribute to the formation of a research department in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), with two sections: tech- nical and international.
1956 February: Israel succeeds in obtaining Nikita Khrushchev’s speech denouncing the policies of his late predecessor, Josef Stalin. Khrushchev condemns Stalin’s personality cult and apparent support for the concept of individuality. Israel delivers Khrushchev’s speech to the United States, which is now able to reveal Stalin’s true face. Israel’s acquisition of the speech sends the Mossad’s reputation soaring world- wide, especially in the United States. 11 July: Colonel Mustafa Hafez, head of Egyptian intelligence in the Gaza Strip and in charge of acti- vating killer and sabotage squads of fedayeen in the 1950s, is assassi- nated by Israeli intelligence by means of an explosive envelope. The
xxiv • CHRONOLOGY
same day, the Egyptian military attaché in Amman, Jordan, Major Salah Mustafa, receives a similar explosive envelope. In the explosion, both his hands are blown off; he dies a week later. September: Following the ban imposed on emigration of Jews from North Africa to Israel, the Mossad forms another type of Misgeret in North Africa for smuggling Jews out of Morocco to Israel, sometimes with false papers and no travel documents and sometimes by bribing Moroccan officials for au- thentic passports. 29 October: Outbreak of the Kadesh Operation, the Sinai Campaign between Egypt and Israel. Hostilities continue until
5 November. The war is conducted in political and military coordina- tion with Britain and France, which name it the Musketeer Campaign. The IDF, commanded by Moshe Dayan, wins an impressive victory, capturing the Sinai Peninsula. Hostilities are preceded by a diversion- ary tactic whereby the IDF deploys as if to act against Jordan. The ruse succeeds, and the Egyptian army is taken wholly by surprise. Israeli in- telligence evaluations of pacifying the frontier and easing the pressures along it are realized. 9 November: The Tushia Operation, an operation to persuade Egyptian Jews to immigrate to Israel, begins when Avraham Dar and Aryeh (Lova) Eliav, disguised as French officers, manage to at- tach themselves to French forces after the 1956 Sinai Campaign and march with French and British troops into Port Said. Despite the sincere effort to initiate Jewish immigration to Israel, not many Egyptian Jews show interest.
1957 The Bureau of Scientific Liaison (LAKAM), initially called the Office of Special Assignments, is established. Its mission is to collect scientific and technical intelligence from open and covert sources. Its first director is Binyamin Blumberg.
1958 The Tevel wing is established in the Mossad, responsible for maintaining “shadow diplomatic relations” between the Mossad, rather than the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations. Aharon Cohen, an Israeli citizen affiliated with leftist political party Mapam, is charged with maintaining contacts with a foreign agent. July: A revolution breaks out in Iraq, contrary to the evaluation of MI. Abd al-Karim Qassem takes power.
1959 1 April: A general mobilization exercise is launched, by means of unit codenames broadcast over Israel Radio, without advance notification
CHRONOLOGY • xxv
to the public. As a result, Yehoshafat Harkabi as head of director of Mil- itary Intelligence (DMI) and his head of Operations Branch, Major Gen- eral Meir Zorea, are dismissed. Harkabi is replaced by Chaim Herzog for a second term as DMI.
1960 Seven-year-old Yossele Schumacher is kidnapped from Jerusalem by his ultraorthodox grandfather. Later the Mossad is tasked to trace him.
18 February: Due to fears of an Israeli strike against Syria, and Egypt’s wish to reinforce its posture as a strong state and to stress the vitality of Egyptian-Syrian unity, Egyptian forces secretly and under radio silence begin to cross the Suez Canal. 23 February: Aerial reconnaissance pho- tography discovers that the Egyptian fourth armored division has disap- peared. Later the division is found widely deployed facing the Israeli frontier. 24 February: A discussion chaired by the chief of the general staff is held, in which the director of Military Intelligence (DMI) reports on the above discoveries. Partial mobilization of the Israeli army takes place, under the name the Rotem Affair, but no confrontation occurs be- tween Israel and Egypt. Following the intelligence failure in early detec- tion of the entry of Egyptian forces into the Sinai Peninsula, the subject of early warning rises to the top of the list for notification of vital infor- mation. April: The first hint to the public of the Affair (Bad Business) is made by Uri Avneri in his weekly Ha’Olam Ha’Zeh, by the device of a fictional thriller tale for the Passover festival. Until then, details of the episode have been kept under full blackout. May: Eli Cohen is enlisted to the MI and trained as a spy. 11 May: Adolf Eichmann is captured in Ar- gentina in a stunning Mossad operation. 21 May: Eichmann, dressed as an El Al crew member and drugged, is secretly placed aboard an El Al flight from Buenos Aires to Tel Aviv.
1961 Eli Cohen is sent to Argentina, where his persona as an Arab businessman, a Syrian émigré named Kamal Amin Ta’abat, is created. Cohen becomes friendly with the local Arab community. 7 February: Professor Kurt Sitta, of the Technion in Haifa, is convicted of espionage for Czechoslovakia and imprisoned for five years.
1962 Cohen moves to Damascus and rents an apartment near the Syrian army general staff headquarters to monitor its activity more conveniently. He builds up his reputation as a generous businessman and a patriot; he be- comes friendly with military personnel and members of the Syrian elite,
xxvi • CHRONOLOGY
with whom he tours the length and breadth of Syria. By means of these con- tacts, Cohen collects much information, according to instructions from his handlers in Israeli intelligence, about the Syrian army and leadership. Once every six months, he travels abroad on business, principally to Europe, which allows him to meet his handlers and to visit his family in Bat Yam near Tel Aviv. Mordechai (Motke) Kedar is sentenced to prison for a mur- der he committed in Argentina, while building his cover story there for an espionage mission behind enemy lines. The director of the Mossad, Isser Harel, initiates the Damocles Operation, aimed at threatening German sci- entists in order to keep them from assisting in Egypt’s surface-to-surface missile program. 1 January: Major General Meir Amit is appointed direc- tor of Military Intelligence (DMI), replacing Major General Herzog. Her- zog was responsible for introducing a scientific approach to intelligence re- search and for initiating Military Intelligence (MI) liaison with foreign intelligence communities. February: The Mossad launches Tiger Opera- tion to find Yossele Schumacher. 31 March: Yisrael Baer, a former IDF lieutenant colonel, is arrested on suspicion of treason and espionage for the Soviet Union. 31 May: Eichmann is executed after being found guilty of crimes against humanity by an Israeli court. July: Egypt launches four sur- face-to-surface al-Zafar and al-Kahira missiles. Israel is caught by surprise, as the Israeli intelligence estimate was that Egypt possessed rockets of
35- to 70-mile (60–120 kilometer) range in the initial stages of develop- ment. MI publishes a comprehensive paper on the subject of the “Russian doctrine.” September: Yossele Schumacher is found by the Mossad safe in Brooklyn, New York, and is returned to his parents in Israel.
1963 The Yadin-Sherf Commission is set up by Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion to probe the structure and functioning of the entire Israeli intelligence community in light of the Bad Business in Egypt and a clash regarding German scientists in Egypt. 22 March: Efraim Samuel is caught by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) spying for Ro- mania. He is subsequently sentenced to six years in prison. 26 March: Meir Amit assumes the position of director of the Mossad while still serving as director of Military Intelligence (DMI).
1964 Control of Eli Cohen’s activity is transferred from Military In- telligence (MI) to the Mossad as part of the reorganization of the intel- ligence arms. The Yakhin Operation, a joint Mossad and Israeli Navy action to ferry Moroccan Jews to Israel illegally, begins. Major General Aharon Yariv is appointed DMI, serving in this position until October
CHRONOLOGY • xxvii
1972. January: Yosef Harmelin is appointed director of the ISA, which he will hold until 1975; he will subsequently be called back to take up this position again after the 1984 Bus 300 affair. 19 January: Captain Abbas Hilmi, a pilot in the Egyptian air force dissatisfied with the Nasserist regime, defects to Israel flying a Soviet Yak trainer aircraft. Israel at the time is interested in obtaining the Soviet MiG fighter.
1965 18 January: The Syrians discover Cohen’s true identity, and he is caught. His interrogators try to coerce him into remaining in contact with Israel; he uses this opportunity to inform Israel of his exposure by a spe- cial code. 18 May: Cohen is hanged in Damascus after being sentenced to death for spying for Israel. Fall: Mossad director Amit and General Muhammad Oufkir, head of Moroccan domestic security, meet in France to reach an agreement whereby Mossad agents will set a trap for Mehdi Ben-Barka. Ben Barka, former tutor of King Hassan and ex-president of the Moroccan National Consultative Assembly, is now an opponent of the Moroccan government. For the sake of the Moroccan Jews, Israel agrees to find Ben-Barka and thus enable the Moroccan authorities to do with him as they wish. 29 October: A Mossad agent persuades Ben-Barka to leave Geneva, supposedly for a meeting with a film producer in Paris. Three French security officers, cooperating with the Moroccans, arrest Ben-Barka. 30 October: Ben-Barka is shot dead by Oufkir or one of his Moroccan agents.
1965 Wolfgang Lotz, an Israeli spy in Egypt, is arrested and imprisoned.
1966 16 August: Iraqi pilot Munir Redfa defects to Israel with his MiG-
21, an act long planned by the Mossad. Not surprisingly, in the Six-Day War in June 1967 the Israeli air force demonstrates its superiority over the MiG-21 aircraft of the Arab air forces. Fall: In its publication National In- telligence Estimate, Military Intelligence (MI) maintains that Egypt has no intention of initiating any military move against Israel in 1967, after its war in Yemen.
1967 7 April: The Israel Air Force (IAF) sends planes to destroy Syr- ian guns on the Golan Heights; Syrian aircraft take off to defend them, and in the ensuing dogfight the IAF downs six Syrian planes with no Is- raeli losses. 13 May: The Kremlin conveys spurious information on nonexistent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troop movements and on American intentions to Anwar Sadat, Nasser’s deputy, during a visit to Moscow. 14–15 May: Lead units of two Egyptian divisions roll into the
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Sinai Peninsula. Nasser places the Egyptian army on full alert. The Is- raeli intelligence community, having calculated that the Arab armies will not be ready for war until 1969 or 1970, is taken by surprise. 19
May: Egypt deploys six army divisions to the Sinai. Mossad director Amit suggests that Israel publish aerial reconnaissance photographs of the massive Egyptian deployment; this tactic, according to Amit, would justify Israel’s mobilization of its army reserves, begun in the early hours of 16 May. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol rejects the idea. 20 May: Military Intelligence (MI) receives ominous information that Nasser has recalled three Egyptian brigades from Yemen. The same day, Egypt- ian forces enter Sharm al-Sheikh at the southern tip of the Sinai Penin- sula. 22–23 May: At midnight Nasser announces the closure of the Strait of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, thus sealing Israel’s only shipping route through the Red Sea. Israel considers this move a casus belli; such a step has been Israel’s red line since the Sinai Cam- paign of 1956, and since then Israel has declared several times that it will not tolerate any such blockade. 23 May: The Israeli cabinet holds a briefing, with the participation of MI director Yariv, and concludes that with the closure of the Strait of Tiran it is now merely a question of time until a military response is made. 30 May: In a genuinely surpris- ing move, Jordan’s King Hussein flies to Cairo. MI is fully aware of the deep ongoing animosity between Nasser and Hussein. During this visit, the two leaders conclude a mutual defense pact and announce that Jor- dan will form a joint military command with Egypt under an Egyptian general on the Jordanian front. 2 June: The Israeli cabinet decides in principle to launch a preemptive war. The military recognizes the dan- ger in delaying any longer: more Egyptian troops will arrive from Yemen, and the USSR will continue supplying weapons to Egypt. Moreover, it is understood that the United Nations and United States will do nothing to break Nasser’s blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba. MI is aware of the inadequacy of Egyptian preparations and its army’s weak morale. 4 June: The Israeli cabinet resolves to start the war the follow- ing morning. 5 June: The IAF strikes Arab military airfields and de- stroys 304 of the 419 Egyptian aircraft on the ground, 53 of 112 Syrian planes, and Jordan’s entire 28-plane air force. 6 June: A radiotelephone conversation between Nasser and King Hussein over the public tele- phone system is tapped by two veteran MI officers using vintage World War II equipment. By that time most of Nasser’s air force has been
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eliminated, but he does not share this information with Hussein. Still, it is clear from the conversation that Hussein knows that things are going badly. Nasser tries to convince the king that the air attack on 5 June was carried out jointly by the Israeli, U.S., and British air forces—which Nasser himself might indeed have believed. Israeli signals intelligence (SIGINT) monitors Nasser’s orders to his forces to fall back to the Suez Canal following the breakthrough of Israeli forces in the north and the south of Sinai early that morning. Disclosure of this order enables the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to start an offensive against Syria on the Golan Heights three days later. 12 October: The Israeli Navy destroyer Eilat on a routine coastal patrol from Ashdod port past El Arish toward the northern entrance to the Suez Canal at Port Said is ambushed by an Egyptian missile boat and sunk. This was the result of miscommunica- tion of early warning intelligence information.
1968 Through the Swiss-Jewish engineer, Alfred Frauenkecht, Lishka Le’Kishrei Mada/Bureau of Scientific Liaison (LAKAM) obtains the blueprints of the Mirage III jet fighter. David Bar-Tov replaces Yehuda Lapidot as director of Nativ. Zvi Zamir is appointed director of the Mossad, holding this position until 1974. February: The remaining members of the Jewish espionage network in Egypt are released under a prisoner-of-war exchange agreement between the Israeli and Egyptian governments. November: The Plumbat Operation, a combined action by the Bureau of Scientific Liaison and the Mossad in support of the Is- raeli nuclear weapons effort, is carried out. A German freighter with a cargo of some 200 tons of uranium oxide (“yellowcake”) disappears. When the freighter reappears at a Turkish port, the cargo has gone; it was transferred at sea to an Israeli ship.
1969 Marwan Ashraf, scion of a respected Egyptian family and mar- ried to the third daughter of Egyptian president Nasser, volunteers to provide the Mossad with sensitive and top classified information from the Egyptian government. Ashraf’s information on Egypt’s inability to wage war against Israel because its army lacks the weapons necessary for this purpose gradually crystallizes in Israeli intelligence circles into what becomes known as “the Concept.” 24 December: In the Noah’s Ark Operation, Israel “steals” five missile boats it had ordered—and paid for—from the French shipyard at Cherbourg.
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1972 September: After the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Mu- nich Olympic Games by Palestinian terrorists of the Black September Or- ganization, Aharon Yariv, newly appointed adviser to the prime minister on counterterrorism, and Mossad director Zamir persuade the Israeli cabi- net to form a top secret counterterrorist committee within the Israeli cabi- net. Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan chair this special panel, known simply as “Committee-X.” It assumes compe- tence to compile a list of targets for assassination. Committee-X resolves to kill any Black September terrorist involved directly or indirectly in plan- ning, assisting, or executing the attack on the Israeli athletes. October: Eliyahu (Eli) Zeira is appointed director of Military Intelligence (DMI), serving in this position until April 1974. 16 October: Wael Zwaiter, or- ganizer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror activity in Europe, is killed by a Mossad team in Italy. December: A Jewish-Arab spy ring is exposed in the so-called Udi Adiv affair.
1973 24 January: Hussein Abad Al-Chir is killed in Cyprus by Mossad agents. April: Marwan Ashraf, the Mossad’s top source, provides early warning that at the end of April, later revised to May, Egypt will launch a war; in fact, April and May 1973 pass uneventfully, except for a small- scale mobilization of Israeli reserves. 9 April: The Spring of Youth Oper- ation is carried out in Beirut by Sayeret Matkal with the assistance of the Mossad. Abu Yussef (also known as Mahmoud Yussuf Najjer), Kamal Ad- wan, and Kamal Nasser are killed. All three had played a part in the Mu- nich massacre. 12 April: Ziad Muchassi, the PLO’s liaison with the Soviet KGB, is killed by an explosive device in his bedroom at the Aristide Ho- tel in Athens by a Mossad team. 28 June: Mohammed Boudia, liaison be- tween the Palistine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) headquarters and its offices in Europe, is killed by the Mossad. 21 July: Mossad agents in Lillehammer, Norway, kill a Moroccan waiter, Ahmed Bouchiki, after misidentifying him as Ali Hassan Salameh, leader of the Black September Organization which carried out the 1972 Munich massacre. August: The Syrian army carries out a massive deployment of troops and weaponry along the Golan front, accompanied by a dense (surface-to-air) missile net- work, which covers the airspace over the Golan Heights as well as the Syr- ian divisions. Military Intelligence (MI) analysts dismiss this deployment as defensive against Israeli air strikes. Nothing further occurs at that time.
13 September: Israel Air Force (IAF) jets are attacked during a recon- naissance mission over Syrian territory. IAF planes shoot down 12 Syrian
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aircraft and suffer one loss. This naturally reinforces the military’s belief that the Arabs will not attack on account of Israel’s once-again proven air capability. 25 September: King Hussein meets Prime Minister Meir and warns her that the Israeli–Arab diplomatic impasse will lead to a war, which Egypt and Syria are intent on launching. 1 October: Lieutenant Siman-Tov, a junior intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command, contrary to his commanders, strongly maintains that the huge Egyptian deployments and exercises along the west bank of the Suez Canal seem to be camouflage for a real canal-crossing assault. His assessment is categorically rejected. After the Yom Kippur War, the so- called Siman-Tov procedure is initiated in MI, whereby every Israeli army officer who holds a different view is allowed to express it freely, even by- passing his immediate commander and going directly to the director of Military Intelligence (DMI). Normally, no soldier or officer is allowed to bypass his immediate commanders. 5 October: The director of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir, receives a phone call from the Mossad’s case officer in London, who is in contact with Marwan Ashraf. The latter has given him the codeword znon, signifying the immediate unleashing of war, but he insists on providing more details only to the Mossad director in person. Zamir flies to London for the meeting. 6 October: Zamir calls the DMI, Eli Zeira, from the Israeli embassy in London on an open phone line due to the absence of a cipher clerk; no clerks are available because of the Yom Kippur observances. Zamir conveys Zeira Ashraf’s message that war will start that day before sunset and that the attack will be by combined Egypt- ian and Syrian forces simultaneously. At 1:55 P.M., with Israel woefully un- prepared, the Egyptian/Syrian attack is launched. Amos Levinburg, an in- telligence officer, is captured in the Hermon outpost by Syrian commandos at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War. He has a phenomenal memory and conveys to his captors a vast amount of information about IDF struc- ture. He is nicknamed “the Jewish book-writing professor” in Syrian com- munications. When the range of information he has divulged to the enemy becomes known, there is no alternative to a total overhaul of MI. Levin- burg returns to Israel, is recognized as an IDF invalid, and is not charged.
12 October: Field intelligence officers pick up on certain changes that oc- cur on the battlefield during the war. One success is the prediction two days in advance of the start of the second stage of the Egyptian offensive. MI forwards this information to the chief of the general staff (CGS), Lieu- tenant General David Elazar. Intelligence has detected a “seam” between the Egyptian Second Army, which crossed the Suez Canal near Ismailia,
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and the Third Army, to the south, which crossed between the Suez and Great Bitter Lake. This seam is the most vulnerable point of the Egyptian forces, and through it IDF forces reach the Suez Canal at Dier Suweir on
15 October and cross to the west bank of the canal. 16–17 October: Sig- nals Intelligence (SIGINT) from MI successfully tracks the Egyptian 25th Armored Brigade as it makes its way northward from the Third Army en- clave toward the Israeli crossing zone. With this early information, a divi- sion in Major General Ariel Sharon’s force sets a two-brigade trap on the shore of Great Bitter Lake. As a result, the 25th Brigade is almost com- pletely destroyed, with few Israeli casualties. This marks the start of the collapse of the Egyptian army. 18 November: The Israeli government re- solves to establish a state commission of inquiry to investigate the Israeli intelligence failure on the eve of the Yom Kippur War; this becomes known as the Agranat Commission.
1974 The Greek Catholic archbishop Hilarion Capucci, who has smug- gled weapons for the Palestine Liberating Organization (PLO) from Lebanon to Israel, is caught by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and im- prisoned. 2 April: The Agranat Commission publishes its interim 40-page report. The recommendation is that CGS Major General Elazar, DMI Zeira, intelligence officer of Southern Command David Gedaliah, and head of the Egyptian desk in Military Intelligence (MI) Yonah Bendman be removed from their positions. The commission counsels pluralism of assessment in the Israeli intelligence community and the creation of a control unit to produce a “devil’s advocate” evaluation. Shlomo Gazit is appointed director of Military Intelligence (DMI) with promotion to ma- jor general; Gazit serves in this position until 1979. Yitzhak Hofi is ap- pointed director of the Mossad.
1976 27 June: Air France Flight 139 takes off from Athens en route to Paris. At about 12:30 P.M., less than 10 minutes after takeoff, the aircraft is hijacked and diverted to Benghazi in Libya. After seven hours on the tarmac there, during which the Airbus is refueled and one female hostage is allowed to disembark, it takes off again. 28 June: At 3:15 A.M., the air- craft lands at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. The passengers are held hostage in the Old Terminal transit hall. The hijackers later re- lease many of them, keeping only Israelis and Jews, whom they threaten to murder if the Israeli government does not comply with the captors’ de- mand to release Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli government decides to undertake a military rescue mission to free the hostages after days of col-
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lecting intelligence and careful planning. 3–4 July: In Operation Yehonathan, four IAF transport aircraft fly secretly from Israel and night-land with no aid from ground control at the Entebbe airport. They are followed by an air force jet with medical facilities flying into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. More than 100 Israeli troops, including the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, arrive to conduct the as- sault, assisted by some Mossad agents and with the support of the Kenyan government. In a superb military action, they free all but three of the hostages, who are killed, and return them safely to Israel. Excel- lent intelligence has contributed greatly to the success of the operation.
1977 The Israeli intelligence community fails to perceive the serious- ness of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat in his peaceful intentions. The Kilowatt Group for international cooperation among intelligence ser- vices on counterterrorism is formed at the instigation of Israel, largely in response to the 1972 Munich massacre. The group is dominated by Israel because of its strong position in information exchange on Arab- based terror groups in Europe and the Middle East.
1979 February: Yehoshua Saguy is promoted to major general and appointed the ninth director of Military Intelligence (DMI).
1980 The Israeli intelligence community fails to predict the outbreak of the Iraqi war against Iran. 4 January: Izzat Nafsu, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lieutenant and member of Israel’s Circassian mi- nority, is arrested on suspicion of treason and espionage for the Pales- tinians in Lebanon. He is brutally interrogated, makes a forced confes- sion of his guilt, is tried, and is sentenced to 18 years in prison. After seven years in prison he is acquitted by the Israeli Supreme Court of the charges. December: Avraham Shalom is appointed director of the Is- raeli Security Agency (ISA).
1981 7 June: The Israel Air Force (IAF) bombs the Iraqi nuclear re- actor Tammuz-1 at Osirak in an attack code-named Opera Operation.
1982 12 September: Nahum Admoni is unexpectedly appointed di- rector of the Mossad after the person designated for the post, Major General Yekutiel Adam, is killed during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the Peace for Galilee Operation. 28 September: The Israeli govern- ment decides to set up a commission of inquiry into the events of 16
September at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut;
it is known as the Kahan Commission.
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1983 The Moshe Dayan Center for the Middle East is established at Tel Aviv University; it concentrates its research on the Arab world (in- cluding North Africa), Turkey, and Iran. January: Marcus Klinberg, vice president of the Nes Tsiona Institute for Biological Research, is ar- rested for espionage for the Soviet Union. He is tried, found guilty, and imprisoned for 20 years. 7 February: The Kahan Commission reports that the massacre at Sabra and Shatila was carried out by a Lebanese Phalangist unit, acting on its own; although the unit’s entry into the camps was known to Israel, no Israeli was directly responsible for the events that occurred in the camps. April: Ehud Barak is appointed DMI and promoted to major general. The Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS) is founded at Tel Aviv University. The center is considered the academic equivalent to MI.
1984 12 April: Four Palestinians hijack bus no. 300, en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon with 41 passengers, and force it to drive to the Gaza Strip. The terrorists negotiate for the release of some 500 PLO terrorists in Israeli jails. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unit storms the bus, re- leases the passengers except for one woman passenger who is killed; seven other passengers are wounded. Two of the terrorists are killed in- side the bus. The other two are severely beaten, then driven off in a van by ISA agents, who torture and kill them. The revelation of these events by the Israeli press creates an enormous furor. May: Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American naval security analyst, begins to deliver sensitive informa- tion to his Israeli handlers Yossi Yagur and Aviam Sella. June: The Zorea Commission of Inquiry is formed to determine who killed the two terror- ists of bus 300 who were captured alive; the commission is headed by re- serve major general Meir Zorea. 21 November: The Moses Operation to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel starts, continuing until 5 January 1985.
1985 28 March: Another operation to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, Sheba Operation, begins; it is of short duration, lasting three to four days. 6 June: The Center for Special Studies is established with the pri- mary purpose of memorializing the fallen of the Israeli intelligence community. It devotes its resources to the education of the younger gen- eration about the past deeds of Israeli intelligence. November: Pollard is arrested in the United States and charged with espionage, straining re- lations between the two allies.
1986 Major General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak is appointed director of
Military Intelligence (DMI), a position he holds until 1991. September:
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Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona Nuclear Re- search Center, reveals sensitive information about the reactor to the Sunday Times (London). 24 September: Cheryl Ben-Tov (Cindy), a fe- male Mossad assistant agent, contrives to meet Vanunu in London in an attempt to lure him to Rome for capture and conveyance to Israel for trial. 30 September: After a few meetings in London, Cindy succeeds in getting Vanunu to her supposed apartment in Rome, where three Mossad case officers await them. Vanunu is held, given a knockout in- jection, and placed in a large crate, which is taken to an Israeli ship and loaded as diplomatic cargo en route to Israel. 5 October: The Sunday Times publishes the article on the Israeli nuclear weapons program, with photos provided by Vanunu that he took at the Dimona reactor.
1987 The Israeli intelligence community fails to predict the Palestinian uprising (known as the Intifada). The Landau Commission of Inquiry into Israeli Security Agency (ISA) methods of investigation regarding hostile terrorist activities is appointed to probe allegations of torture of arrested Palestinians; the commission’s conclusions pave the way for the 2002 ISA law. April: Yosef Amit, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intelligence officer, is convicted of treason and espionage for the United States.
1988 The Israeli intelligence community fails to foresee the end of the Iraq-Iran war, which occurs in 1988. The Ofeq-1 satellite is launched for research purposes to examine various features of intelligence satellites. Shabtai Kalmanovitch is found guilty and sentenced to a prison term for espionage for the Soviet Union. April: Yaakov Peri takes office as di- rector of the ISA. He holds the post until 1 March 1995. 16 April: Abu Jihad is assassinated in his villa in Tunisia by the Israeli elite Sayeret Matkal unit with the assistance of the Mossad.
1989 Shabtai Shavit is appointed director of the Mossad, remaining in this position until 1996.
1990 The Ofeq-2 satellite is launched for research purposes. 22 March: Gerald Bull, a Canadian astrophysicist and metallurgist who worked on a project to build a cannon powerful enough to launch satellites into space for Iraq, is shot dead at close range at the entrance to his home, allegedly by the Mossad. September: Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad trainee, publishes his book By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer. The Mossad embarks on a complex and politically sen- sitive mission, code-named Solomon Operation, to airlift thousands of
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Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. The Israeli government has reached an agreement with Ethiopia’s ruler, Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu, to al- low their departure for just $30 million.
1991 March: Major General Uri Sagie assumes the directorship of Mil- itary Intelligence (MI) and serves in this position until June 1995. 24 May: Operation Solomon begins. Israel Air Force (IAF) and El Al airplanes take off and land continuously at Addis Ababa airport. Thirty-three hours after the first plane has left Israel, the last plane returns to Israel; 14,325
Ethiopian Jews have been flown to the country.
1992 Ya’acov Kedmi is appointed director of Nativ, the intelligence organization focusing on the Soviet Union and Eastern European coun- tries, serving in this position until 1999. September: Nativ organizes the removal of Jews from the city of Sukhumi in Georgia, which is un- der attack by Muslim rebels. The same month, it operates an airlift of Jews from Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, which has also been at- tacked by rebels, members of an extremist Muslim organization.
1993 2 September: Shimon Levinson, a former Israel Defense Forces
(IDF) colonel, is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
1995 Moshe Ya’alon is appointed director of Military Intelligence (DMI) with promotion to major general. April: Ofeq-3, the first opera- tional intelligence satellite, is launched by the Israeli-made Shavit-1 satel- lite launcher. 25 October: Dr. Fathi Shkaki, leader of the Islamic Jihad, is shot and killed in Malta, allegedly by the Mossad.
1996 Yehuda Gill of the Mossad fabricates a false assessment that Syria is making preparations to launch a war against Israel. June: Danny Yatom is appointed director of the Mossad and serves in this position until 1998.
1997 September: Mossad agents fail in an attempt to assassinate Khaled Masha’al, a leader of the Hamas, in Amman, Jordan. The failed assassination and the false Canadian passports used by the arrested Mossad agents strain Israel’s relations with Jordan and Canada.
1998 January: An attempt to launch Ofeq-4 fails. 18–19 February: Mossad agents are caught red-handed trying to plant listening devices in an apartment in Bern, Switzerland, belonging to Abdulla Al-Zayn, a key figure in the Hizbullah movement in Europe. 5 March: Efraim Halevy is appointed director of the Mossad; he serves in this position
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until September 2002. 9 July: Major General Amos Malka takes office as director of Military Intelligence (DMI). 15 July: Nahum Manbar is sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for selling raw materials and know- how on the production of biological and chemical weapons to Iran and giving advice on how to set up factories.
2000 Avraham (Avi) Dichter is appointed director of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), serving in this position until 2005. His period as director of the ISA coincides with the tough years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada; Dichter records success in a substantial decline in the level of Palestinian terror against the Israeli population. Magna Carta 2, an agreement on the divi- sion of labor among the Mossad, MI, and the ISA aimed at introducing or- der into their work, is signed by the directors of these organizations. April: In recognition of the growing need for collecting combat intelligence by professional bodies, and the vital necessity to combine them in an organic framework, a decision is made to create a field intelligence corps.
2001 Aharon Ze’evi is appointed director of Military Intelligence (DMI)
with promotion to major general. He serves in this position until 2005.
2002 May: Ofeq-5, replacing Ofeq-3, is successfully launched. Sep- tember: Meir Dagan is appointed director of the Mossad and assumes office. 16 November: The Knesset adopts the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Law, regulating and restricting the ISA interrogators’ use of force against suspected terrorists.
2003 July: The Knesset Committee of Inquiry into Israel’s Intelli- gence System in Light of the War in Iraq begins its work. The aim is to assess the functioning of the Israeli intelligence system in light of what are deemed failures stemming from major inherent structural problems.
2004 March: The Knesset Committee of Inquiry into Israel’s Intelli- gence System in Light of the War in Iraq concludes its work and proposes an unprecedented and far-reaching program of structural reform for the intelligence community. July: Two Mossad agents are found guilty by a New Zealand court of fraudulently attempting to obtain New Zealand passports. September: The launch of Ofeq-6, equipped with long-range cameras fitted with sophisticated night vision capabilities, fails.
2005 May: Yuval Diskin is appointed director of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA). June: Major General Amos Yadlin is appointed director of Military Intelligence (DMI).
THE UNIQUE ISRAELI NEED FOR HIGH QUALITY INTELLIGENCE
In the late 1960s, there was a weekly program on Israel Radio called “On a Desert Island.” Guests on the show were asked what they would take to the island if they were allowed to take just one item. One guest replied that he would take a Bible, for example. Based on this idea, an interviewer asked the chief of the general staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the mid-1970s, Lieutenant General Mordechai Gur, what he would take with him to the desert island. “An intelligence offi- cer,” he said. He added that as chief of staff he might be able to serve as an artillery officer or command the armor, but without an intelligence officer he would be unable to direct any battle.
This is true for any country, but for Israel as a small country, inferior in terms of resources and quantity of manpower to its hostile neighbors, it is especially true. The majority of IDF troops are reserves, who can- not be mobilized for long periods without harming the country’s econ- omy. Therefore, the Israeli decision makers impose on Israeli intelli- gence a unique requirement, unlike anything known in any other intelligence community in the world: to provide early warning of the danger of Arab armies massing along the Israeli borders with the inten- tion of waging war against Israel. The early warning has to be delivered at least 48 to 72 hours before a military attack against Israel, allowing Israel time to mobilize its reserves. This task of providing such early warning has been assigned to Military Intelligence (MI).
After the 1973 Yom Kippur War surprise, it became clear that pro- viding early warning against such a war was almost impossible. It actu- ally meant predicting the unpredictable. The Yom Kippur War can be re- garded as unique in the sphere of surprises, since all the information
xl • INTRODUCTION
about the Egyptian and the Syrian military capabilities and their armies’ deployment was known; yet despite all, there was a deep misunder- standing with regard to Egyptian and Syrian intentions.
Every democracy, and a democracy more than a nondemocracy, needs the tool of covert action. This is usually regarded as the “third option,” something between all-out war, which is overwhelming, and diplomacy, which often produces no effective results. Israeli intelli- gence acts covertly. Some of the actions have been highly successful and impressive, while others failed and turned into fiascos. Covert actions were undertaken primarily by the Mossad, but MI and the elite units (especially Sayeret Matkal) took part in the most striking ones. The Israeli Security Agency (ISA) has also engaged in covert actions.
While covert action is not unique to Israeli intelligence, the Mossad and Nativ have been given a unique responsibility for taking care of Jewish citizens of other countries in distress, especially in so-called rogue states and in the former communist bloc countries. These activi- ties have included bringing Jews secretly out of Arab countries, such as those of the Maghreb, as well as from Ethiopia. No other intelligence service in the world is known to protect such a widespread group of people who are not citizens of the state to which the intelligence service belongs.
The Israeli intelligence community, especially the Bureau of Scien- tific Liaison (LAKAM), has engaged in the acquisition of military tech- nology and know-how for Israel, which frequently was embargoed by Western counties. For example, after the 1967 Six-Day War, France was reluctant to sell Mirage III aircraft to the Israel Air Force, and so LAKAM undertook the theft of Mirage III blueprints. LAKAM was also involved in obtaining uranium for Israeli nuclear weapons devel- opment.
The 1968 Plumbat Operation, known also as the Uranium Ship Op- eration, is a good example of such covert activity, in which a team of Is- raeli agents hijacked a ship full of uranium for the use of the Israeli nu- clear weapons program. Israeli intelligence, through the director of security for the Defense Establishment (DSDE), was in charge of pro- tecting and hiding the “greatest secret,” the Israeli nuclear weapons pro- gram. But it failed when Mordechai Vanunu revealed the program to the Sunday Times in September 1986.
INTRODUCTION • xli
EVOLUTION OF THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY AND ITS ACTIVITIES
The origin of the Israeli intelligence services can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire (1516–1917) when netzah yisrael lo yeshaker (NILI) was founded as an espionage group seeking to assist the British army to conquer Palestine from the Turks in anticipation that Britain would es- tablish in Palestine a homeland for Jewish people. NILI’s aims were sincere, but its members were amateurs. They tried to use homing pi- geons to deliver intelligence information to the British, but they lacked the necessary skill and were caught.
The British set up their mandate in Palestine, and the idea of a Jew- ish homeland, the creation of a Jewish state in the territory, began to progress as anticipated. As a consequence, the Jewish-Arab conflict came into being, and the Jewish Yishuv (settlement) in the region estab- lished underground militias to assist illegal Jewish immigration.
The foremost and largest Jewish-Zionist underground militia was the Haganah, which had as its intelligence arm a body known as the Infor- mation Service (Sheruth Yedioth, or Shai). Its task was to collect infor- mation on the British, the Arabs, and the Jews in Palestine. Shai was formally set up in September 1940 and was structured as three main de- partments. The British department, also known as the Political Depart- ment, was assigned to infiltrate the British army, police, and govern- ment in mandatory Palestine. The Arab Department was headed by a Jewish Arabist, Ezra Danin. The Internal Department focused princi- pally on Jews on the right of the political spectrum in Palestine who were members of militias other than the Haganah.
Two routes of immigration were open to Jews to emigrate from Europe, one legal—that is, permitted by the British—and the other illegal. The numbers of legal immigrants were small. Between 1939 and 1944, Britain allowed only 75,000 Jews to enter Palestine legally; beyond that figure, Jews could immigrate to Palestine only with Arab consent. The Mossad Le’Aliyah Beth came into being because of the need for illegal Jewish im- migration. At first the organization consisted of 10 people working in six countries: Switzerland, Austria, France, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. These agents were assigned to produce false passports, arrange escape routes, and charter ships to carry the illegal immigrants to Palestine with- out being detected by the British authorities.
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Another preindependence militia, which constituted the executive arm of the Haganah, was the Palmah. It had an Arab Platoon, whose mem- bers were Jews disguised as Arabs sent on intelligence missions in the Arab townships in Palestine and the neighboring Arab countries. Acqui- sitions (Rekhesh) was another organization, whose task was to buy arms and smuggle them into Palestine for the underground Jewish militias.
After the rise of Israel as an independent state in May 1948, Shai was disbanded the next month on 30 June. Utilizing Shai’s manpower and experience, the formal Israeli intelligence organizations were created. MI was established in the IDF, initially as the Department for Military Intelligence, later upgraded to the Directorate of Military Intelligence in
1953. The main task of MI in the 1950s was to assess the operational feasibility of military reprisals against proposed targets after fedayeen infiltration and attacks on Israeli civilians. Another task, which became the most dominant one, was to provide early warning against a possi- bility of war being launched against Israel by any neighboring Arab country. MI is still considered the principal intelligence organization in the Israeli intelligence community in assessing imminent threats.
The main activity of MI nowadays is to produce comprehensive na- tional intelligence estimates for the Israeli prime minister and cabinet, including communications interception, target studies on the nearby Arab states, and intelligence about the chances of war. This function is known as assessment.
After the Yom Kippur War, some organizational changes were made in MI. The first and most important of these was the strengthening and upgrading in rank of the research done by MI. This function was up- graded from a research department to a research division. Another pro- cedural change, known as the Siman-Tov Procedure, was the granting of permission to even junior intelligence officers to express their views and assessments to a higher-ranking officer if their immediate com- mander was reluctant to accept their opinions. A new unit known as the Control Unit was added to MI whose purpose is to take the stance of devil’s advocate. The officers of this unit are directly subordinate to the director of Military Intelligence (DMI).
The Air Intelligence Squadron performs the function of data collec- tion by means of aerial reconnaissance and signals intelligence, using an assortment of intelligence equipment, including remotely piloted and unmanned vehicles that are recoverable and recyclable after first use.
INTRODUCTION • xliii
These devices are excellent for gathering photographic information, which can be directly transmitted to commanders’ headquarters; imme- diate decisions can thus be made regarding troop deployment without ground reconnaissance being sent out.
The Naval Intelligence Squadron is a small unit of the Israel Navy that provides to the MI, on a consultative basis, assessments of sea- based threats to Israel. The squadron is also responsible for coastal stud- ies, naval gunfire missions, and beach studies for amphibious assaults.
Soon after the disbanding of the Shai, the Political Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs became responsible for collecting intelli- gence worldwide and for covert actions in Arab countries. This depart- ment was disbanded after the establishment of the Mossad in April 1949 and its reorganization in 1951. Originally the Mossad was engaged in covert action abroad, but after the Yom Kippur War, at the recommen- dation of the Agranat Commission, a research branch was set up. The aim was a pluralistic system of intelligence that uses more than just the single assessment prepared by MI. This is not an Israeli innovation, but it was adopted by Israeli intelligence. The usefulness of the pluralistic model still has to be studied, and conclusions drawn as to whether it serves the policy makers better or not.
Following another recommendation of the Agranat Commission, an intelligence arm was reestablished in the Foreign Ministry, again with the purpose of pluralism of assessment. This newly established body was named the Center for Political Planning and Research (CPPR). But in 1977, the foreign minister Moshe Dayan was reluctant to involve this intelligence arm too much in the planning and decision-making process, so the word “planning” was dropped and the name today is the Center for Political Research (CPR). Its main task is analysis of information re- ceived from foreign ministry diplomats worldwide.
The Israeli Security Agency (ISA)—popularly known in Israel and worldwide by the Hebrew acronym Shabak and also as Shin Bet—was formed initially in 1948 as a unit in the IDF for internal security and counterespionage. The Arab Affairs Branch of the ISA mainly conducts antiterrorist activities. The Non-Arab Affairs Branch is responsible for counterespionage; it was at first subdivided into Communist and non- Communist subsections, but that distinction became obsolete after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The functions of the Protective Security Branch of ISA include protecting foremost Israeli figures such as the
xliv • INTRODUCTION
president, the prime minister, and other government ministers. In addi- tion, it is in charge of protecting state buildings, embassies, and Israeli airlines. At the recommendation of the Agranat Commission, a research department was set up in the Arab Affairs Branch of the ISA. This branch covers three fields: Palestine: political; Palestine: sabotage; and Palestinians: Israeli. Academics in the relative disciplines are engaged for research in these ISA areas.
In 1960, when Shimon Peres was deputy director-general of the Min- istry of Defense, LAKAM was instituted, as noted above, to collect a variety of scientific and technical intelligence. After it became known that LAKAM had engaged Jonathan Jay Pollard to spy for Israel against the United States, LAKAM was disbanded; however, it is believed that a unit in the Foreign Ministry, whose name is unknown, is still engaged in obtaining technological knowledge worldwide for Israel.
Nativ, also mentioned earlier, was established in 1951. This intelli- gence organization has a glorious past as a sometimes clandestine oper- ation bringing immigrants from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc, Nativ has become far less cloaked in secrecy, and there are thoughts of trans- forming it into a cultural organization.
The National Security Council (NSC) was established in 1999 ac- cording to the Israeli Government Resolution 4889, which was unani- mously adopted on 7 March 1999. The NSC was designed to serve as a coordinating, integrative, deliberative, and supervisory body on matters of national policy; it operates as an arm of the Prime Minister’s Office. The chairman of the NSC also serves as national security adviser to the prime minister.
Early in 2000, for the first time in Israel’s history, the existence of the above-mentioned quasi-intelligence organization the DSDE became publicly known. The DSDE is deemed so secret that still now it is only conjectured that it was set up in the Ministry of Defense, probably in
1974 or even in the 1960s. The DSDE is apparently responsible for the physical security of the Defense Ministry and its research facilities, in- cluding the nuclear reactor at Dimona. It is also charged with prevent- ing leaks from the Israeli security institutions, including the Mossad and the ISA.
To coordinate all the domestic and foreign intelligence activity of the
Israeli intelligence community, the first director of the Mossad initiated
INTRODUCTION • xlv
the establishment of the Committee of Directors of the Intelligence Ser- vices, known by its Hebrew acronym VARASH. It first convened in
1949. Its members currently are the directors of the Mossad, MI, and the ISA; formerly the inspector general of the Israel Police, the director of the CPR in the Foreign Ministry, the counterterrorism adviser to the prime minister, and the director of Nativ were also members of VARASH.
Academic centers for strategic studies affiliated with Israeli universities serve as intelligence assessment organizations of a sort, as well. The best known are the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University; the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) at the Academic Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya; the Jaf- fee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS) at Tel Aviv University; and the Moshe Dayan Center for the Middle East, also at Tel Aviv University.
By and large, the mantra of the Israeli intelligence community, as in- vented by Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former DMI, and still applied, is “know your enemy.”
SUCCESSES SCORED BY THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
MI is known for a long list of assessment failures, especially the 1973
Yom Kippur War surprise. Yet its successes may be assumed to out- number the failures. Successes are kept secret, while failures and fias- cos immediately become headline news far and wide. Libya’s decision to cease its nonconventional weapons program was presumably the re- sult of good or probably excellent Israeli intelligence gathering on that country. Israel no doubt shared this intelligence with the U.S. intelli- gence community, and the result was heavy pressure on Libya. Interna- tional pressure on Iran may well be the outcome of first-class intelli- gence in whose collection Israel has taken part and still does, along with other Western intelligence communities.
MI has also dispatched Israeli spies to Arab countries. The best known are Eli Cohen, Max Binnet, and Wolfgang Lotz, among others. Although these three were ultimately caught, there were Israeli spies who were not apprehended and gathered important intelligence infor- mation that contributed to the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War. In the
1960s the task of dispatching spies to Arab countries was assigned to
xlvi • INTRODUCTION
the Mossad. Israeli spies who did an excellent job and were never caught include Yair Ben-Shaaltiel.
The IDF elite unit Sayeret Matkal has carried out the most daring covert military actions. The most famous is the Yehonathan Operation to free the passengers of Air France flight 139 who were hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Sayeret Matkal succeeded in rescuing the passen- gers from remote Entebbe, Uganda, on the night of 3/4 July 1976. These commandos also succeeded in a brilliantly planned covert action known as the Spring of Youth Operation in April 1973 in which Kamal Adwan, Kamal Nasser, and Abu Yussuf were killed for their part in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. The Wrath of God Operation is another example of how the Mossad succeeded in tracing most of the Black September Organization (BSO) members who were in some way involved in the Munich massacre. Despite several failures in this operation, it is generally regarded as a success, though the main purpose of the assassination of the BSO was revenge. Sayeret Matkal also assassinated Abu Jihad in April 1988 and succeeded in many other covert actions that have not been made public. All these mil- itary covert actions were based on excellent intelligence.
The Mossad scored its most impressive success in Adolf Eichmann’s capture in 1960, bringing him to justice in Israel. Other Mossad feats in the 1960s included the discovery of the kidnapped Israeli boy Yossele Schumacher and stealing the MiG-21. The Mossad accomplished the secret conveyance of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the well-known Moses Operation and Solomon Operation in 1984–1985 and 1991, respec- tively. As for conveying Jews to Israel from countries in which they were living in distressful conditions, in the 1960s the Yakhin Operation bringing Jews from the Maghreb countries was a triumph for the Mossad. Even earlier, between 1949 and 1951 the Mossad Le’Aliyah Beth successfully carried out the Ezra and Nehemiah Operation, bring- ing most of the Jews of Iraq to Israel. In 1986 the Mossad was able to lure Mordechai Vanunu to Rome, from where he was taken to Israel to stand trial for treason.
The ISA scored notable successes in detecting spies. Among them was Yisrael Baer, who managed to gain access to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s diary on the 1948–1949 War of Independence. Another spy detected and caught by the ISA was Ze’ev Avni, the only Soviet spy who was able to penetrate the Mossad in the early 1950s.
INTRODUCTION • xlvii
Also in the 1950s, the ISA successfully elicited information on the So- viet Union and the Soviet bloc by questioning new immigrants to Israel from those countries; this vital information was conveyed to the United States, then at the height of the Cold War. Furthermore, the ISA obtained from the new immigrants Soviet identity cards, which were of use to the United States in dispatching its agents clandestinely to the USSR. This contributed to the development of the Israel-U.S. intelligence coopera- tion in subsequent years. Israeli agents obtained Khrushchev’s Speech in
1956; it too was handed over to the United States, and this likewise pro- moted these intelligence ties.
In recent years, the ISA has won major victories in the war on Pales- tinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. Numerous early warnings of imminent terror attacks, around 50 each day, are received. Nevertheless, the volume of terrorism has been substantially contained.
GRAVE FAILURES AS WELL
Along with the impressive successes, Israeli intelligence, like every intel- ligence community, has failed in many instances, and these are the activi- ties most talked about. Many of the failures led to great political scandals.
The earliest of these is known as the 1954 Bad Business. This was a kind of covert action in which members of a Jewish espionage network in Egypt carried out a series of sabotage attacks against Western targets that were meant to be seen as having been committed by Egyptians gen- erally, thus driving a wedge between Great Britain and the United States and Egypt. The detection of the perpetrators of these deeds resulted in a major political scandal and the eventual resignation of Israeli prime ministers and ministers.
Another MI failure was the Night of Ducks debacle in 1959, when a general call-up exercise of the reserves was broadcast over Israel Radio, without prior announcement that any such exercise was to be held. As a result, the Arab armies believed that Israel was preparing for war and went into a state of high alert. This again led to a scandal and the forced resignation of Israeli generals, including the DMI at the time, Major General Yehoshafat Harkabi.
MI is known for a long series of assessment failures, many due to miscollection of information. The first is the Rotem Affair in February
xlviii • INTRODUCTION
1960, when most of the Egyptian army concentrated on the Negev bor- der without any early Israeli intelligence warning. Another failure was the erroneous assessment of Egyptian intentions in the months preced- ing the Six-Day War. But the most notorious wrong assessment was that of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when MI failed to grasp the Egyptian and Syrian intentions of launching a war. After the Yom Kippur War, MI’s evaluation that Egypt was not yet ready for peace contributed to the lack of readiness of Israel’s political and military decision makers for Anwar Sadat’s peace initiative in 1977.
MI did not predict the Palestinian uprising in the Occupied Territo- ries, known as the First Intifada, which started in December 1987. At the end of the 1980s MI failed to identify the buildup of Iraq’s nuclear capacity, and it gave no early warning of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which occurred in August 1990. In the 1990s, MI’s apocalyptic vision of unspeakable danger inherent in an Israeli pullout from the security zone in Lebanon prevented such a withdrawal. The ongoing IDF de- ployment in southern Lebanon incurred enormous costs in the lives of its troops. In the run-up to the war against Iraq in March 2003, MI over- estimated Iraqi capabilities in weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s intention to use such weapons against Israel should his regime find itself with its back to the wall.
The Mossad, for its part, also suffered grave failures. One of the most infamous is the assassination in 1973 of Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Arab waiter in Lillehammer, Norway. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September Organization responsible for the Munich massacre of the Israeli athletes, who had found asylum in Norway. Furthermore, the Mossad agents used fake Canadian passports, which aroused the ire of the Canadian government.
In 1981 false British passports were discovered in a grocery bag in London; this eventually led to a diplomatic row between Britain and Is- rael over Mossad involvement in an attempt to infiltrate China.
In 1997 two Mossad agents were caught in Jordan (which had earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel) on a mission to assassinate Sheikh Khaled Mash’al, a leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, by injecting him with poison. Again, they were caught using false Canadian passports. This resulted in a diplomatic showdown with Canada and Jordan. Israel was forced to provide the antidote to the poi- son and release some 70 Palestinian prisoners, in particular the militant
INTRODUCTION • xlix
Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who played a prominent role in attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers during the current Al-Aqsa Intifada. In return, the Mossad agents, who would otherwise have faced the death penalty for attempted murder, were released.
In July 2004, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions against Is- rael over an incident in which two Israelis, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, allegedly working for the Mossad, attempted to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports.
One ISA debacle is the arrest and torture of IDF lieutenant Izzat Nafsu for alleged treason. Another is the Bus 300 Affair. This grim af- fair of the summary killing of two Palestinian terrorists after their sur- render was discovered by the Israeli press. Its exposure led to the con- coction of a tissue of lies by an ISA officer, who claimed that Brigadier General Yitzhak Mordechay had beaten the terrorists to death before de- livering their bodies to ISA officers.
OVERSEEING THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
Given the importance of intelligence, and especially the possibility of failures, oversight is essential. First and foremost is parliamentary over- sight by the Knesset Subcommittee for Intelligence and Secret Services. After almost every debacle, a commission of inquiry is appointed to study the matter, to determine the reasons for the failure, and to recom- mend improvements.
Following the 1954 Bad Business, four committees were appointed to investigate it. The first was the Ulshan-Dori Commission in 1955. Then came the Amiad Commission in 1958, followed by the Cohen Commission in 1960; the last to investigate this scandal was the Com- mittee of Seven that same year. The problem was that none of these committees was a state commission of inquiry.
In 1963, still in the wake of the Bad Business but also following on the heels of the Damocles Operation, the Yadin-Sherf Commission rec- ommended some kind of structural change in the Israeli intelligence community, making it more pluralistic. In a sense, the Yadin-Sherf Commission attempted to duplicate the U.S. pluralistic structure, which had evolved naturally. The recommendation on pluralism at that time was not implemented.
l • INTRODUCTION
The Agranat Commission (1973–1974) reiterated the recommenda- tion of a pluralist structure. To some extent it was implemented, espe- cially by the creation of research units in the Mossad and the ISA and by the reestablishment of the CPR in the Foreign Ministry.
In the wake of the 1982 events at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut on 28 September 1982, the Israeli government resolved to es- tablish a commission of inquiry in accordance with the Israeli Com- missions of Inquiry Law of 1968. This was the Kahan Commission.
In 1984 the Zorea Commission investigated the Bus 300 Affair. And in 2003 the Israeli Knesset set up the Committee of Inquiry into Israel’s Intelligence System in Light of the War in Iraq.
Nativ as an intelligence organization was from its inception ex- empted from the scrutiny of the Israeli state comptroller, but now it is controlled just like any other Israeli government agency.
With regard to improvement in internal practices of the intelligence bodies, the following is an illustration. In 1948, soon after the estab- lishment of the State of Israel, Meir Tobianski, a captain in the Ha- ganah, was charged with treason. He was tried by field court-martial presided over by an officer without judicial training as judge, and he had no counsel for his defense. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed there and then. Over the years, this kind of behavior was gradually eradicated. On 16 November 2002 the Knesset adopted the ISA Law, which restricts the use of force against terrorists during their interrogation. A long course has indeed been traveled in the democrati- zation process.
FROM HUMAN INTELLIGENCE TO TECHNOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE
During Israel’s prestate days and for some time after statehood, all or- ganizations of the Israeli intelligence community relied mostly, if not solely, on human intelligence (HUMINT). HUMINT contributed a lot to gathering information about the Arab armies’ capabilities. Eli Cohen was regarded as “Our Man in Damascus,” Wolfgang Lotz in Egypt was known as “Tel Aviv’s Eye in Cairo,” and Max Binnet and Sylvia Rafael fulfilled the same human role in many Arab and non-Arab countries. Even before the Yom Kippur War, the Mossad engaged Marwan Ashraf,
INTRODUCTION • li
the son-in-law of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, as Top Source, who conveyed to his Mossad handlers Egyptian military capabilities and even intentions, with a certain degree of accuracy. Even King Hussein— who, although not an Israeli spy or agent, provided early warning against possibility of war in 1973—can be regarded in a sense as a kind of pur- veyor of HUMINT.
So, a great deal of intelligence collecting was by means of spies in Arab countries. However, since even before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli intelligence has relied mostly on technological intelligence, which includes signals intelligence (SIGINT). Unit 8200 in MI is con- sidered among the best SIGINT agencies in the world, equal in status to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), albeit smaller in budget and workforce. Israel, although a small country, is one of the pioneers in im- agery intelligence (IMINT) and has developed intelligence satellites.
The Mossad is considered one of the leading intelligence agencies in the world in the field of high-tech electronics. It has developed a pow- erful computer database, known as PROMIS, which can store and re- trieve enormous quantities of information. This technology is even sold by the Mossad to intelligence communities of foreign countries.
From time to time, in Israel as in other countries, traitors in the nation’s de- fense establishment are uncovered. The best known, and probably the one who caused the most damage to Israeli security interests, is Yisrael Baer, previously a lieutenant colonel in the IDF and close to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion and his secrets on the history of the War of Independence. He delivered state secrets to the Soviets and was arrested in 1961. Marcus Avraham Klinberg, deputy director of the Biological Institute in Nes Tsiona, where Israel allegedly produces biological weapons, was arrested in 1983 and convicted of conveying secrets to the Soviets. Mordechai Va- nunu, an ex-technician at the Dimona Nuclear Research Center, gave away secrets of the Israeli nuclear weapons program to the Sunday Times in
1986. Victor Ostrovsky, a former case officer trainee in the Mossad, wrote and published a detailed book on the Mossad without permission. Shimon Levinson, formerly a colonel in the IDF and affiliated with the Mossad, was arrested in 1993 for treason and spying for the Soviet Union.
lii • INTRODUCTION
In the present day and age, Israeli intelligence still has to be alert to the moods in enemy states, principally Syria and especially Iran with its nu- clear weapons program. But at the same time, the Israeli intelligence community is committed to assessing opportunities for peace, and the ISA is required to find openings for dialogue with the Palestinian Au- thority, in addition to warning of terrorist acts. Another challenge is ac- quiring intelligence not only on Arab terrorism generated outside Israel but on Israeli terrorism within as well, focusing on subversive individ- uals among Israeli Arabs and Jews. Dealing with the Jewish and Arab sectors in Israel has likewise to be adjusted to the public mood, which lays increasing stress on human rights.
Yet, regardless of the advances of technology in all fields of Israeli intelligence activity, the human factor, and the quality of intelligence personnel, still rate highest. This is attested by the very high bar that has to be crossed by candidates wishing to enter the ranks of the Israeli in- telligence community.
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All copyrighted sources are quoted and used for comment and education in accord with the nonprofit provisions of: Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107. This site is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107 and are protected under: Fair Use.