Mossad (/məˈsæd/; Hebrew: הַמוֹסָד, IPA: [ha moˈsad]; Arabic: الموساد, al-Mōsād, IPA: [almoːˈsaːd]; literally meaning "the Institute"), short for HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim (Hebrew: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים, meaning "Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations"), is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security).
Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counterterrorism. In contrast to the government and military, the goals, structure and powers of the Mossad are exempt from the constitutional laws of the State of Israel. However, its activity is subject to secret procedures that have never been published. Its director answers directly to the Prime Minister. Its counter-terrorist unit is known as Kidon.
|The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations|
הַמוֹסָד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים
الموساد للاستخبارات والمهام الخاصة
|Formed||December 13, 1949 as the Central Institute for Coordination|
|Headquarters||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Parent agency||Office of the Prime Minister|
The largest department of Mossad is Collections, tasked with many aspects of conducting espionage overseas. Employees in the Collections Department operate under a variety of covers, including diplomatic and unofficial. The Political Action and Liaison Department is responsible for working with allied foreign intelligence services, and nations that have no normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Additionally, Mossad has a Research Department, tasked with intelligence production, and a Technology Department concerned with the development of tools for Mossad activities.
Mossad was formed on December 13, 1949, as the Central Institute for Coordination at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army's intelligence department (AMAN), the Internal Security Service (Shin Bet), and the foreign office's "political department". In March 1951, it was reorganized and made a part of the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the prime minister.
Mossad's former motto, be-tachbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milchāmāh (Hebrew: בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה) is a quote from the Bible (Proverbs 24:6): "For by wise guidance you can wage your war" (NRSV). The motto was later changed to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tachbūlōt yippol `ām; ū-teshū`āh be-rov yō'éts (Hebrew: באין תחבולות יפול עם, ותשועה ברוב יועץ, Proverbs 11:14). This is translated by NRSV as: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
Metsada is a unit responsible for attacking the enemy. Metsada runs "small units of combatants" whose missions include "assassinations and sabotage".
The Kidon is a unit which belongs to the Caesarea department (one of Mossad's eight departments). It is described by Yaakov Katz as "an elite group of expert assassins who operate under the Caesarea branch of the espionage organization. Not much is known about this mysterious unit, details of which are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the Israeli intelligence community." It recruits from "former soldiers from the elite IDF special force units." This unit has been a part of Israel's policy of assassinations, a policy that Israel has used more than any other country in the West, with Ronen Bergman stating it has carried out at least 2,700 assassination missions.
In early 1991, two Mossad operatives infiltrated the Moroccan port of Casablanca and planted a tracking device on the freighter Al-Yarmouk, which was carrying a cargo of North Korean missiles bound for Syria. The ship was to be sunk by the Israeli Air Force, but the mission was later called off by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The 2016 alleged killing of Hamas operative, Mohammad al-Zawahri, in Tunisia. Mohammad Zawari, known to Israel's security echelon as "The Engineer", was a Hamas affiliated engineer who was believed to be constructing drones for the group. He was shot at close range.
In the late 1990s, after Mossad was tipped off to the presence of two Iranian agents in Johannesburg on a mission to procure advanced weapons systems from Denel, a Mossad agent was deployed, and met up with a local Jewish contact. Posing as South African intelligence, they abducted the Iranians, drove them to a warehouse, and beat and intimidated them before forcing them to leave the country.
After the 1994 AMIA bombing, the largest bombing in Argentine history, Mossad began gathering intelligence for a raid by Israeli Special Forces on the Iranian embassy in Khartoum as retaliation. The operation was called off due to fears that another attack against worldwide Jewish communities might take place as revenge. Mossad also assisted in Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel from a famine-ridden region of Sudan in 1984, also maintaining a relationship with the Ethiopian government.
In 1960, Mossad discovered that the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was in Argentina. A team of five Mossad agents led by Shimon Ben Aharon slipped into Argentina and through surveillance, confirmed that he had been living there under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was abducted on May 11, 1960 and taken to a hideout. He was subsequently smuggled to Israel, where he was tried and executed. Argentina protested what it considered as the violation of its sovereignty, and the United Nations Security Council noted that "repetition of acts such as [this] would involve a breach of the principles upon which international order is founded, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and distrust incompatible with the preservation of peace" while also acknowledging that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused." Mossad abandoned a second operation, intended to capture Josef Mengele.
During the 1990s, Mossad discovered a Hezbollah agent operating within the United States in order to procure materials needed to manufacture IEDs and other weapons. In a joint operation with U.S. intelligence, the agent was kept under surveillance in hopes that he would betray more Hezbollah operatives, but was eventually arrested.
Mossad informed the FBI and CIA in August 2001 that, based on its intelligence, as many as 200 terrorists were slipping into the United States and planning "a major assault on the United States." The Israeli intelligence agency cautioned the FBI that it had picked up indications of a "large-scale target" in the United States and that Americans would be "very vulnerable." However, "It is not known whether U.S. authorities thought the warning to be credible, or whether it contained enough details to allow counter-terrorism teams to come up with a response." A month later, terrorists struck at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the largest terrorist attack in history.
A report published on the Israeli military’s official website in February, 2014 said that Middle Eastern countries that cooperate with Israel (Mossad) are the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The report claimed that Bahrain has been providing Israel with intelligence on Iranian and Palestinian organizations. The report also highlights the growing secret cooperation with Saudi Arabia, claiming that Mossad has been in direct contact with Saudi intelligence about Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, SAVAK (Organization of National Security and Information), the Iranian secret police and intelligence service was created under the guidance of United States and Israeli intelligence officers in 1957. After security relations between the United States and Iran grew more distant in the early 1960s which led the CIA training team to leave Iran, Mossad became increasingly active in Iran, "training SAVAK personnel and carrying out a broad variety of joint operations with SAVAK."
A US intelligence official told The Washington Post that Israel orchestrated the defection of Iranian general Ali Reza Askari on February 7, 2007. This has been denied by Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. The Sunday Times reported that Askari had been a Mossad asset since 2003, and left only when his cover was about to be blown.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has accused Mossad of assassination plots and killings of Iranian physicists in 2010. Reports have noted that such information has not yet been evidently proven. Iranian state TV broadcast a stated confession from Majid Jamali-Fashi, an Iranian man who claimed to have visited Israel to be trained by Mossad.
Le Figaro claimed that Mossad was possibly behind a blast at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Imam Ali military base, on October 12, 2011. The explosion at the base killed 18 and injured 10 others. Among the dead was also general Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who served as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile program and was a crucial figure in building Iran’s long-range missile program. The base is believed to store long-range missiles, including the Shahab-3, and also has hangars. It is one of Iran's most secure military bases.
Mossad has been accused of assassinating Masoud Alimohammadi, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan; scientists involved in the Iranian nuclear program. It is also suspected of being behind the attempted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi. Meir Dagan, who served as Director of Mossad from 2002 until 2009, while not taking credit for the assassinations, praised them in an interview with a journalist, saying "the removal of important brains" from the Iranian nuclear project had achieved so-called "white defections," frightening other Iranian nuclear scientists into requesting that they be transferred to civilian projects.
In early February 2012, Mossad director Tamir Pardo met with U.S. national security officials in Washington, D.C. to sound them out on possible American reactions in the event Israel attacked Iran over the objections of the United States.
In 2018 the Mossad broke into Iran's secret nuclear archive in Teheran and smuggled over 100,000 documents and computer files to Israel. The documents and files showed that the Iranian AMAD Project aimed to develop nuclear weapons. Israel shared the information with its allies, including European countries and the United States.
Assistance in the defection and rescuing of the family of Munir Redfa, an Iraqi pilot who defected and flew his MiG-21 to Israel in 1966: "Operation Diamond". Redfa's entire family was also successfully smuggled from Iraq to Israel. Previously unknown information about the MiG-21 was subsequently shared with the United States.
Operation Bramble Bush II – In the 1990s, Mossad began scouting locations in Iraq where Saddam Hussein could be ambushed by Sayeret Matkal commandos inserted into Iraq from Jordan. The mission was called off due to Operation Desert Fox and the ongoing Israeli-Arab peace process.
In what is thought to have been a reprisal action for a Hamas suicide-bombing in Jerusalem on July 30, 1997 that killed 16 Israelis, Benjamin Netanyahu authorised an operation against Khaled Mashal, the Hamas representative in Jordan. On September 25, 1997, Mashal was injected in the ear with a toxin (thought to have been a derivative of the synthetic opiate Fentanyl called Levofentanyl). Jordanian authorities apprehended two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists and trapped a further six in the Israeli embassy. In exchange for their release, an Israeli physician had to fly to Amman and deliver an antidote for Mashal. The fallout from the failed killing eventually led to the release of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement, and scores of Hamas prisoners. Netanyahu flew into Amman on September 29 to apologize personally to King Hussein, but he was instead met by the King's brother, Crown Prince Hassan.
Allegedly killed Ali Hussein Saleh, member of Hezbollah, in Beirut in 2003.
Mossad was suspected of establishing a large spy network in Lebanon, recruited from Druze, Christian, and Sunni Muslim communities, and officials in the Lebanese government, to spy on Hezbollah and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard advisors. Some have allegedly been active since the 1982 Lebanon War. In 2009, Lebanese Security Services supported by Hezbollah's intelligence unit, and working in collaboration with Syria, Iran, and possibly Russia, launched a major crackdown which resulted in the arrests of around 100 alleged spies "working for Israel". Previously, in 2006, the Lebanese army uncovered a network that allegedly assassinated several Lebanese and Palestinian leaders on behalf of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
Caesarea tried for many years to assassinate Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, a job later tasked by Israel's Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon to a military special ops task force code named "Salt Fish," later renamed "Operation Goldfish," specially created for the job of assassinating Arafat, with Ronan Bergman suggesting that Israel used radiation poisoning to kill Yasser Arafat.
Eli Cohen infiltrated the highest echelons of the Syrian government, was a close friend of the Syrian President, and was considered for the post of Minister of Defense. He gave his handlers a complete plan of the Syrian defenses on the Golan Heights, the Syrian Armed Forces order of battle, and a complete list of the Syrian military's weapons inventory. He also ordered the planting of trees by every Syrian fortified position under the pretext of shading soldiers, but the trees actually served as targeting markers for the Israel Defense Forces. He was discovered by Syrian and Soviet intelligence, tried in secret, and executed publicly in 1965. His information played a crucial role during the Six-Day War.
On 1 April 1978, 12 Syrian military and secret service personnel were killed by a booby trapped sophisticated Israeli listening device planted on the main telephone cable between Damascus and Jordan.
The alleged death of General Anatoly Kuntsevich, who from the late 1990s was suspected of aiding the Syrians in the manufacture of VX nerve-gas, in exchange for which he was paid huge amounts of money by the Syrian government. On April 3, 2002, Kuntsevich died mysteriously during a plane journey, amid allegations that Mossad was responsible.
The uncovering of a nuclear reactor being built in Syria as a result of surveillance by Mossad of Syrian officials working under the command of Muhammad Suleiman. As a result, the Syrian nuclear reactor was destroyed by Israeli Air Forces in September 2007 (see Operation Orchard).
On July 25, 2007, the al-Safir chemical weapons depot exploded, killing 15 Syrian personnel as well as 10 Iranian engineers. Syrian investigations blamed Israeli sabotage.
The decomposed body of Yuri Ivanov, the deputy head of the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence service, was found on a Turkish beach in early August 2010, amid allegations that Mossad may have played a role. He had disappeared while staying near Latakia, Syria.
Mossad was accused of being behind the assassination of Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist responsible for developing long-range rockets and chemical weapons programs. He was killed in a car bomb in Masyaf on August 5, 2018.
Mossad is suspected of killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, in January 2010 at Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The team which carried out the killing is estimated, on the basis of CCTV and other evidence, to have consisted of at least 26 agents traveling on bogus passports. The operatives entered al-Mabhouh's hotel room, where Mabhouh was subjected to electric shocks and interrogated. The door to his room was reported to have been locked from the inside. Although the UAE police and Hamas have declared Israel responsible for the killing, no direct evidence linking Mossad to the crime has been found. The agents' bogus passports included six British passports, cloned from those of real British nationals resident in Israel and suspected by Dubai, five Irish passports, apparently forged from those of living individuals, forged Australian passports that raised fears of reprisal against innocent victims of identity theft, a genuine German passport and a false French passport. Emirati police say they have fingerprint and DNA evidence of some of the attackers, as well as retinal scans of 11 suspects recorded at Dubai airport. Dubai's police chief has said "I am now completely sure that it was Mossad," adding: "I have presented the (Dubai) prosecutor with a request for the arrest of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the head of Mossad," for the murder.
A Rediff story in 2003 revealed that Mossad had clandestine links with the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. When R&AW was founded in September 1968 by Rameshwar Nath Kao, he was advised by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to cultivate links with Mossad. This was suggested as a countermeasure to military links between that of Pakistan and China, as well as with North Korea. Israel was also concerned that Pakistani army officers were training Libyans and Iranians in handling Chinese and North Korean military equipment.
Pakistan believed intelligence relations between India and Israel threatened Pakistani security. When young Israeli tourists began visiting the Kashmir valley in the early 1990s, Pakistan suspected they were disguised Israeli army officers there to help Indian security forces with anti-terrorism operations. Israeli tourists were attacked, with one slain and another kidnapped. Pressure from the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora in the United States led to his release. Kashmiri Muslims feared that the attacks could isolate the American Jewish community, and result in them lobbying the US government against Kashmiri separatist groups.
In 1996, R.K. Yadav, a former RAW official had filed a disproportionate assets case in the Delhi High Court against Anand Kumar Verma, RAW chief between 1987 and 1990. Yadav listed eight properties that he claimed were purchased illegally by Verma using RAW's unaudited funds for secret operations. Although his petition for a CBI inquiry into Verma's properties was dismissed, Yadav managed to obtain more information using in RTI in 2005 and filed another case in 2009. In 2013, the CBI carried out an investigation of Verma's properties. Proceedings in the Delhi High Court revealed the names of two companies floated by RAW in 1988 - Piyush Investments and Hector Leasing and Finance Company Ltd. The firms were headed by two senior RAW officials V. Balachandran and B. Raman. Balachandran and Raman retired in 1994 and 1995 respectively. The companies were listed as trading houses that dealt in several kinds of minerals, automobiles, textiles, metals and spare parts, and also claimed to produce feature films. The companies purchased two flats in Gauri Sadan, a residential building on Hailey Road, New Delhi in March 1989 for ₹23 lakh.
India Today reported that the two flats were RAW safe houses used as operational fronts for Mossad agents and housed Mossad's station chief between 1989 and 1992. RAW had reportedly decided to have closer ties to Mossad, and the subsequent secret operation was approved by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. India Today cites "RAW insiders" as saying that RAW agents hid a Mossad agent holding an Argentine passport and exchanged intelligence and expertise in operations, including negotiations for the release of an Israeli tourist by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militants in June 1991. When asked about the case Verma refused to speak about the companies, but claimed his relationship with them was purely professional. Raman stated, "Sometimes, spy agencies float companies for operational reasons. All I can say is that everything was done with government approval. Files were cleared by the then prime minister [Rajiv Gandhi] and his cabinet secretary. Balachandran stated, "It is true that we did a large number of operations but at every stage, we kept the Cabinet Secretariat and the prime minister in the loop."
In November 2015, The Times of India reported that agents from Mossad and MI5 were protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Turkey. Modi was on a state visit to the United Kingdom and was scheduled to attend the 2015 G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The paper reported that the agents had been called in to provide additional cover to Modi's security detail, composed of India's Special Protection Group and secret agents from RAW and IB, in wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Mossad may have been involved in the 2004 explosion of Ryongchon, where several Syrian nuclear scientists working on the Syrian and Iranian nuclear-weapons programs were killed and a train carrying fissionable material was destroyed.
In a September 2003 news article, it was alleged by Rediff News that General Pervez Musharaf, the then-President of Pakistan, decided to establish a clandestine relationship between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Mossad via officers of the two services posted at their embassies in Washington, DC.
In 1954, after Mossad received intelligence that an Israeli officer who had access to classified military technologies, Major Alexander Israel, had approached Egyptian officials in Europe and offered to sell Israeli military secrets and documents, a team of Mossad and Shin Bet officers was quickly sent to Europe to locate him and abduct him, and located him in Vienna. The mission was code-named Operation Bren. A female agent managed to lure him to a meeting through a honey trap operation, and he was subsequently kidnapped, sedated, and flown to Israel aboard a waiting Israeli military plane. However, the plane had to make several refueling stops, and he was given an additional dose of sedatives each time, which ultimately caused him to overdose, killing him. Upon arrival in Israel, after it was discovered that he was dead, he was given a burial at sea, and the case remained highly classified for decades.
Mossad is alleged to be responsible for the killing of Canadian engineer and ballistics expert Gerald Bull on March 22, 1990. He was shot multiple times in the head outside his Brussels apartment. Bull was at the time working for Iraq on the Project Babylon supergun. Others, including Bull's son, believe that Mossad is taking credit for an act they did not commit to scare off others who may try to help enemy regimes. The alternative theory is that Bull was killed by the CIA. Iraq and Iran are also candidates for suspicion.
On April 5, 1979, Mossad agents are believed to have triggered an explosion which destroyed 60 percent of components being built in Toulouse for an Iraqi reactor. Although an environmental organization, Groupe des écologistes français, unheard of before this incident, claimed credit for the blast, most French officials discount the claim. The reactor itself was subsequently destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 1981.
The alleged killing of Atef Bseiso, a top intelligence officer of the PLO, in Paris in 1992. French police believe that a team of assassins followed Atef Bseiso from Berlin, where that first team connected with another team to close in on him in front of a Left Bank hotel, where he received three head-shots at point blank range.
Operation Plumbat (1968) was an operation by Lekem-Mossad to further Israel's nuclear program. The German freighter "Scheersberg A" disappeared on its way from Antwerp to Genoa along with its cargo of 200 tons of yellowcake, after supposedly being transferred to an Israeli ship.
The sending of letter bombs during the Operation Wrath of God campaign. Some of these attacks were not fatal. Their purpose might not have been to kill the receiver. A Mossad letter bomb led to fugitive Nazi war-criminal Alois Brunner losing 4 fingers from his right hand in 1980.
The alleged targeted killing of Dr Wadie Haddad, using poisoned chocolate. Haddad died on 28 March 1978, in the German Democratic Republic supposedly from leukemia. According to the book Striking Back, published by Aharon Klein in 2006, Haddad was eliminated by Mossad, which had sent the chocolate-loving Haddad Belgian chocolates coated with a slow-acting and undetectable poison which caused him to die several months later. "It took him a few long months to die", Klein said in the book.
Mossad discovered that Hezbollah had recruited a German national named Steven Smyrek, and that he was travelling to Israel. In an operation conducted by Mossad, the CIA, the German Internal Security agency Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), and the Israeli Internal Security agency Shin Bet, Smyrek was kept under constant surveillance, and arrested as soon as he landed in Israel.
Mossad is alleged to have been involved in industrial espionage in Germany. In the late 1990s, the head of the BfV reportedly warned his department chiefs that Mossad remained a prime threat in stealing the country's latest computer secrets.
The assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh – a senior Hamas military commander – in Dubai, 2010, was suspected to be the work of Mossad, and there were eight Irish passports (six of which were used) fraudulently obtained by the Israeli embassy in Dublin, Ireland for use by alleged Mossad agents in the operation. The Irish government was angered over the use of Irish passports, summoned the Israeli ambassador for an explanation and expelled the Israeli diplomat deemed responsible from Dublin, following an investigation. One of the passports was registered to a residence on Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, on the same road as the Israeli embassy. The house was empty when later searched, but there was suspicion by Irish authorities it had been used as a Mossad safe house in the past. Mossad is reported to have a working relationship with Ireland's armed forces' national intelligence service, the Directorate of Military Intelligence, and has previously tipped the Irish authorities off about arms shipments from the Middle East to Ireland for use by dissident republican militants, resulting in their interception and arrests. Mossad is also believed to cooperate with the British government in combating IRA terrorism, including involvement in Operation Flavius, 1988.
In 1986, Mossad used an undercover agent to lure Mordechai Vanunu from the United Kingdom to Italy in a honey trap style operation where he was abducted and returned to Israel where he was tried and found guilty of treason because of his role in exposing Israel's nuclear programme.
On July 21, 1973, Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, was killed by Mossad agents. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September, the Palestinian group responsible for the Munich massacre, who had been given shelter in Norway. Mossad agents had used fake Canadian passports, which angered the Canadian government. Six Mossad agents were arrested, and the incident came to be known as the Lillehammer affair. Israel subsequently paid compensation to Bouchiki's family.
Israel provided weapons to the Serbs during the Bosnian War, possibly due to the pro-Serbian bias of the government of the time, or possibly in exchange for the immigration of the Sarajevo Jewish community to Israel. The Mossad allegedly was responsible for providing Serbian groups with arms.
In Switzerland the Israelis have an Embassy in Bern and a Consulate-General in Zürich which provide cover for Collection Department officers involved in unilateral operations. These Israeli diplomatic installations also maintain close relations with the Swiss on a local level in regard to overt functions such as physical security for Israeli official and commercial installations in the country and the protection of staff members and visiting Israelis. There is also close collaboration between the Israelis and Swiss on scientific and technical matters pertaining to intelligence and security operations. Swiss officials have made frequent trips to Israel. There is a continual flow of Israelis to and through Switzerland. These visits, however, are usually arranged through the Political Action and Liaison regional controller at the Embassy in Paris directly with the Swiss and not through the officials in the Israeli Embassy in Bern, although the latter are kept informed.
In February 1998, five Mossad agents were caught wiretapping the home of a Hezbollah agent in a Bern suburb. Four agents were freed, but the fifth was tried, found guilty, sentenced to one year in prison, and following his release was banned from entering Switzerland for five years.
Mossad was involved in outreach to Refuseniks in the Soviet Union during the crackdown on Soviet Jews in the period between the 1950s and the 1980s. Mossad helped establish contact with Refuseniks in the USSR, and helped them acquire Jewish religious items, banned by the Soviet government, in addition to passing communications into and out of the USSR. Many rabbinical students from Western countries travelled to the Soviet Union as part of this program in order to establish and maintain contact with refuseniks.
In February 2011, a Palestinian engineer, Dirar Abu Seesi, was allegedly pulled off a train by Mossad agents en route to the capital Kiev from Kharkiv. He had been planning to apply for Ukrainian citizenship, and reappeared in an Israeli jail only three weeks after the incident.
Mossad assisted the UK Intelligence organisation MI5 following the 7/7 bombings in London. According to the 2007 edition of a book about Mossad titled Gideon’s Spies, shortly after the 7/7 London underground bombings, MI5 gathered evidence that a senior al-Qaeda operative known only by the alias Mustafa travelled in and out of Britain shortly before the 7/7 bombings. For months, the real identity of Mustafa remained unknown, but in early October 2005, Mossad told MI5 that this person was, in fact, Azhari Husin, a bomb-making expert with Jemaah Islamiyah, the main al-Qaeda affiliate in Southeast Asia. Husin studied in Britain and reports claim that he met the main 7/7 bomber, Mohammad Sidique Khan, in late 2001 in a militant training camp in the Philippines (see Late 2001). Meir Dagan, the then head of Mossad, apparently also told MI5 that Husin helped plan and recruit volunteers for the bombings. Mossad claimed that Husin may have been in London at the time of the bombings, and then fled to al-Qaeda’s principal haven in the tribal area of Pakistan, where he sometimes hid after bombings. Husin was killed in a shootout in Indonesia in November 2005. Later official British government reports about the 7/7 bombings did not mention Husin.
In addition, Gideon's Spies also claimed that Mossad conducted industrial espionage in the UK, and that shortly after Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister, MI5 briefed him on Mossad's efforts to obtain British scientific and defense data.
In July 2004, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident in which two Australia-based Israelis, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, who were allegedly working for Mossad, attempted to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports by claiming the identity of a severely disabled man. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom later apologized to New Zealand for their actions. New Zealand cancelled several other passports believed to have been obtained by Israeli agents. Both Kelman and Cara served half of their six-month sentences and, upon release, were deported to Israel. Two others, an Israeli, Ze'ev Barkan, and a New Zealander, David Reznick, are believed to have been the third and fourth men involved in the passport affair but they both managed to leave New Zealand before being apprehended.
Otto Adolf Eichmann (; German: [ˈʔɔtoː ˈʔaːdɔlf ˈʔaɪ̯çman]; 19 March 1906 – 1 June 1962) was a German-Austrian Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer ("Senior Assault Unit Leader") and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. He was tasked by SS-Obergruppenführer ("Senior Group Leader") Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics involved in the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. He was captured by the Mossad in Argentina on 11 May 1960 and subsequently found guilty of war crimes in a widely publicised trial in Jerusalem, Israel. Eichmann was executed by hanging in 1962.
After an unremarkable school career, Eichmann briefly worked for his father's mining company in Austria, where the family had moved in 1914. He worked as a travelling oil salesman beginning in 1927, and joined both the Nazi Party and the SS in 1932. He returned to Germany in 1933, where he joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD; Security Service); there he was appointed head of the department responsible for Jewish affairs—especially emigration, which the Nazis encouraged through violence and economic pressure. After the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Eichmann and his staff arranged for Jews to be concentrated in ghettos in major cities with the expectation that they would be transported either farther east or overseas. He also drew up plans for a Jewish reservation, first at Nisko in southeast Poland and later in Madagascar, but neither of these plans was ever carried out.
The Nazis began the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and their Jewish policy changed from emigration to extermination. To co-ordinate planning for the genocide, Heydrich, who was Eichmann's superior, hosted the regime's administrative leaders at the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942. Eichmann collected information for him, attended the conference, and prepared the minutes. Eichmann and his staff became responsible for Jewish deportations to extermination camps, where the victims were gassed. Germany invaded Hungary in March 1944, and Eichmann oversaw the deportation of much of the Jewish population. Most of the victims were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, where about 75 per cent were murdered upon arrival. By the time that the transports were stopped in July 1944, 437,000 of Hungary's 725,000 Jews had been killed. Dieter Wisliceny testified at Nuremberg that Eichmann told him he would "leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction".After Germany's defeat in 1945, Eichmann was captured by US forces, but escaped from a detention camp and moved around Germany to avoid re-capture. He ended up in a small village in Lower Saxony, where he lived until 1950, when he moved to Argentina using false papers. Information collected by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, confirmed his location in 1960. A team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents captured Eichmann and brought him to Israel to stand trial on 15 criminal charges, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the Jewish people. During the trial, he did not deny the Holocaust or his role in organising it, but claimed that he was simply following orders in a totalitarian Führerprinzip system. He was found guilty on all of the charges, and was executed by hanging on 1 June 1962. The trial was widely followed in the media and was later the subject of several books, including Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, in which Arendt coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to describe Eichmann.Ali Hassan Salameh
Ali Hassan Salameh (Arabic: علي حسن سلامة, ʿAlī Ḥasan Salāmah) (1940 – 22 January 1979) was the chief of operations—code name Abu Hassan—for Black September, the organization responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre and other terror attacks. He was also the founder of Force 17. He was assassinated by Mossad in January 1979.Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists
Four Iranian nuclear scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan —were assassinated between 2010 and 2012. Another scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, was wounded in an attempted murder. Two of the killings were carried out with magnetic bombs attached to the targets' cars; Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead, and Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in a motorcycle-bomb explosion.
The Iranian government accused Israel of complicity in the killings. In 2011 and 2012, Iranian authorities arrested a number of Iranians alleged to have carried out the assassination campaign on behalf of Mossad (the Israeli intelligence service). Western intelligence services and U.S officials reportedly confirmed the Israeli connection. In June 2012, the Iranian government was confident that it had arrested all the assassins.Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement, but Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya'alon said: "We will act in any way and are not willing to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. We prefer that this be done by means of sanctions, but in the end, Israel should be able to defend itself." The assassination campaign was reportedly terminated in 2013 following diplomatic pressure from the United States, which was attempting to negotiate restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities.The People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) are also among suspects. Two US senior officials confirmed that MEK was "financed, trained, and armed by Israel" in killing Iranian nuclear scientists.According to the private American intelligence agency Stratfor, a fifth Iranian scientist was poisoned by Mossad in 2007. In 2014 the scientist's sister accused the Iranian government of involvement in her brother's killing.In January 2015, Iranian authorities said that they had thwarted another attempt by Mossad to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.Danny Yatom
Danny Yatom (Hebrew: דני יתום, born 15 March 1945) is a former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Labor. In 1996–1998, Yatom was head of the Mossad security service and between 1999 and 2001, he served as Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Chief Of Staff and security advisor.Efraim Halevy
Efraim Halevy (Hebrew: אפרים הלוי; born 2 December 1934) is a lawyer and an Israeli intelligence expert. He was the ninth director of Mossad and the 4th head of the Israeli National Security Council.
Above all, he is remembered for his part in bringing about the Israel–Jordan peace treaty. The special relationship he developed with King Hussein of Jordan made it possible for Halevy to open Jordan to the awareness that only a peace agreement with Israel would extricate the Hashemite kingdom from the crisis after the Gulf War.Enemies Foreign
"Enemies Foreign" is the eighth episode of the eighth season of the American police procedural drama NCIS and the 170th episode overall. It originally aired on CBS in the United States on November 16, 2010. The episode is the first of a two-part story arc and continues the long-term storyline within the series of the complex relationship between protagonist Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and her father, Mossad Director Eli David (Michael Nouri). During the first installment, the NCIS team is assigned to protect Eli when he arrives in Washington D.C. for an inter-agency conference and must deal with three Palestinian terrorists who are attempting to assassinate him.
A number of recurring actors appeared in the episode to portray the Mossad officers, including TJ Ramini as Malachi Ben Gidon and Arnold Vosloo as Amit Hadar. Israeli actress Sarai Givaty was cast for a new role as Liat Tuvia, the officer who replaced Ziva on the Kidon unit.
The episode is written by Jesse Stern and directed by Dennis Smith. It was watched live by 19.43 million viewers.Herberts Cukurs
Herberts Cukurs (17 May 1900 in Liepāja, Russian Empire – 23 February 1965 in Shangrilá, Uruguay) was a Latvian aviator. He was a member of the Arajs Kommando, which was involved in the mass murder of Latvian Jews as part of the Holocaust. He never stood trial, though there are eyewitness accounts linking Cukurs to war crimes. He was assassinated by operatives of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad) in 1965.
The Mossad agent "Künzle", who killed Cukurs, and the journalist Gad Shimron wrote a book, The Execution of the Hangman of Riga in which they called Cukurs the "Butcher of Riga", and the term was later picked up by several sources.Lillehammer affair
The Lillehammer affair (Hebrew: פרשת לילהאמר, Parshat Lillehammer, Norwegian: Lillehammer-saken) was the killing by Mossad agents of Ahmed Bouchikhi, a Moroccan waiter and brother of the renowned musician Chico Bouchikhi, in Lillehammer, Norway, on 21 July 1973. The Israeli agents had mistaken their target for Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief of operations for Black September. Six of the Mossad team of fifteen were captured and convicted of complicity in the killing by the Norwegian justice system, in a major blow to the intelligence agency's reputation.List of Israeli assassinations
The following is a list of alleged and confirmed assassinations reported to have been conducted by the State of Israel. It includes attempts on notable persons who were reported to have been specifically targeted by the various Israeli security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
According to Eyal Weizman, "targeted assassinations have become the most significant and frequent form of Israeli military attack", and serve not only to contain terror but as a "political tool" to control Palestinian territories Israel has otherwise withdrawn from. In response to protests over the number of civilians killed in targeting operations, and the refusal of a number of pilots to engage in such missions in 2003, Israel set up groups to minimize collateral damage in 2003 to establish acceptable levels of damage to bystanders. In 2006 "focused lethality munitions", missiles with intense but highly localized explosive were introduced to this end, and in November a legal committee was set up to rule on assassinations.There is no clear definition of "targeted killing" under international law. The Supreme Court of Israel, in response to a suit on the practice, mainly regarded actions in the Palestinian Territories, ruled on 14 December 2006 that such actions took place in an 'international armed conflict' but that the "terrorists", as civilians, lacked combatant status under international law. Yet they were, in the court's view, civilians participating directly in hostilities, which would mean they lose their immunity. It also ruled, following a precedent set forth by the European Court of Human Rights in its McCann and Others v United Kingdom judgement, that a 'law of proportionality', balancing military necessity with humanity, must apply. Assassination were permitted if "strong and persuasive information" concerning the target's identity existed; if the mission served to curtail terror; and if other techniques, such as attempting to arrest the target, would gravely endanger soldiers' lives.
Nils Melzer in his 2006 study Targeted Killing in International Law defines targeted killings in terms of five criteria, summed up as "the use of lethal force attributable to a subject of international law with the intent, premeditation and deliberation to kill individually selected persons who are not in the physical custody of those targeting them." Before 2001 Israel denied it practiced or has a policy of conducting extrajudicial executions.The term itself gained widespread currency only after Israel went public concerning its policy regarding alleged terrorists in the Palestinian territories. Early into the Second Intifada, it became the first state to publicly outline a policy of “liquidation” and “preemptive targeted killing,” when two female bystanders were killed during an operation to kill a Palestinian militant, Hussein ‘Abayat, on 9 November 2000. Killings in the past were often premised on revenge for earlier crimes, and required a quasi-judicial commission to convict the target of culpability before action was taken. The policy, re-introduced by Ariel Sharon in the face of suicide bombings, no longer took evidence of potential involvement by the target in future attacks on Israel as decisive, and the decision was left to the discretion of the Prime Minister and Shin Bet.According to the former Legal Advisor to the State Department Judge Abraham Sofaer:
...killings in self-defense are no more "assassinations" in international affairs than they are murders when undertaken by our police forces against domestic killers. Targeted killings in self-defense have been authoritatively determined by the federal government to fall outside the assassination prohibition.
A state engaged in such activities must however, Sofaer concluded, openly acknowledge its responsibility and accept accountability for mistakes made.
This characterization is criticized by many, including Amnesty International.B'tselem has calculated that between 2002 and May 2008, at least 387 Palestinians died as a result of Israeli targeted killings, of which 234 were the targets, and the rest collateral casualties. The majority of Israeli targeted killings have taken place in Area A of the West Bank lying within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority. Some of killings listed below have been denied by Israel. Most fall within a series of campaigns, including Operation Wrath of God (launched in response to the 1972 Munich massacre), Israeli actions in the wake of the al-Aqsa Intifada (2000–), and strikes during the 2008–09 Gaza War. Gaza, according to Eyal Weizman, has now become 'the world's largest laboratory for airborne assassinations.' According to reports, as part of the long-term cease-fire terms negotiated between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian groups to end the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Israel pledged it would desist from its targeted killings against Palestinian terrorists and faction leaders.The policy of targeted killings is known in Hebrew as "focused foiling" (Hebrew: סיכול ממוקד sikul memukad).Meir Amit
Meir Amit (Hebrew: מאיר עמית, 17 March 1921 – 17 July 2009) was an Israeli politician and cabinet minister. He served as the Chief Director and the head of global operations for Mossad from 1963 to 1968, before entering into politics and holding two ministerial positions. He was also widely regarded as the most successful intelligence officer and a leading political figure for Israel.Meir Dagan
Aluf Meir Dagan (Hebrew: מאיר דגן; 30 January 1945 – 17 March 2016) was an Israel Defense Forces Major General and Director of the Mossad.Mossad LeAliyah Bet
The Mossad LeAliyah Bet (Hebrew: המוסד לעלייה ב', lit. Institution for Immigration B) was a branch of the Haganah in the British Mandate of Palestine, and later the State of Israel that operated to facilitate Jewish immigration to British Palestine (later Israel). During the Mandate period, it was facilitating illegal immigration in violation of governmental British restrictions. It operated from 1938 until four years after the founding of the State of Israel in 1952. It was funded directly by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the JDC), and was not subject to the control of the Jewish Agency who operated their own Aliyah department headed by Yitzhak Rafael.The Yishuv referred to legal immigration as "Aliyah Alef" (Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, corresponding to the Latin A), whilst clandestine immigration was referred to as "Aliyah Bet" (Bet is the second letter, corresponding to the Latin B).Munich (film)
Munich is a 2005 historical drama film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth. It is based on the book Vengeance, an account of Operation Wrath of God, the Israeli government's secret retaliation against the Palestine Liberation Organization after the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Munich received five Academy Awards nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Score. The film made $130 million worldwide but just $47 million in the United States, making it one of Spielberg's lowest-grossing films domestically. In 2017, the film was named the sixteenth "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" by The New York Times.Operation Wrath of God
Operation "Wrath of God" (Hebrew: מבצע זעם האל Mivtza Za'am Ha'el), also known as Operation "Bayonet", was a covert operation directed by the Mossad to assassinate individuals involved in the 1972 Munich massacre in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were killed. The targets were members of the Palestinian armed militant group Black September and operatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the autumn of 1972, the operation is believed to have continued for over twenty years.The operation was depicted in the television film Sword of Gideon (1986) and Steven Spielberg's film Munich (2005).Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny (12 June 1908 – 5 July 1975) was an Austrian-born SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. During the war, he was involved in a string of operations, including the removal of Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy from power and the rescue mission that freed the deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity. Skorzeny led Operation Greif, in which German soldiers infiltrated enemy lines using their opponents' languages, uniforms, and customs. For this he was charged at the Dachau Military Tribunal with breaching the 1907 Hague Convention, but was acquitted.
Skorzeny escaped from an internment camp in 1948, hiding out on a Bavarian farm for 18 months, then spent time in Paris and Salzburg before eventually settling in Francoist Spain. In 1953 he became a military advisor to Egyptian President Mohammed Naguib and recruited a staff of former SS and Wehrmacht officers to train the Egyptian Army, staying on to advise President Gamal Abdel Nasser. He spent time in Argentina, where he acted as an advisor to President Juan Perón and as a bodyguard for Eva Perón. In 1962, Skorzeny was allegedly recruited by the Mossad and conducted operations for the agency. Skorzeny died of lung cancer on 5 July 1975 in Madrid at the age of 67.Ram Ben-Barak
Ram (Rami) Ben-Barak (born 1958) is a former member of the Israeli security forces and an Israeli politician. He served as deputy director of the Mossad and director general of the Ministry of Intelligence Services and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.Shabtai Shavit
Shabtai Shavit (Hebrew: שבתי שביט; born 17 July 1939) was director general of the Mossad from 1989 to 1996.Ziva David
Ziva David (; Hebrew: זיוה דוד, pronounced [ˈziva daˈvid], Ziva: "Radiance"; birth date November 12, 1982, Beersheba in the Negev desert of southern Israel) is a fictional character from the CBS television series NCIS, portrayed by Chilean-born American actress Cote de Pablo. Ziva first appeared in the season 3 premiere episode, "Kill Ari (Part 1)", and became a regular cast member from the episode "Silver War". She replaced Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander), who was killed at the hands of Ziva's half-brother, Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin), in the season 2 finale. Following the onscreen death of the character's father in season 10, Gabi Coccio recurrently portrayed a young Ziva in flashbacks.
Ziva is introduced to the show as an Israeli citizen, an agent of the Kidon unit of the Mossad, a daughter of Mossad Director Eli David, and a friend of NCIS Director Jenny Shepard. She was assigned to NCIS as a liaison officer in an arrangement between Eli and Jenny, a position she held for four years until she returned to Mossad in the season 6 finale, "Aliyah". After being captured by terrorists in Somalia while on assignment for Mossad and presumed dead, she was eventually saved by Gibbs, Tony, and McGee, who brought her back to America. These events led to her resigning from Mossad, applying to become an NCIS agent, and being sworn in as a U.S. citizen.On July 10, 2013, CBS television studios announced that Cote de Pablo would be leaving NCIS during season eleven. De Pablo appeared in two episodes as a series regular, and was subsequently replaced by Special Agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham).
In the season 13 finale, "Family First", in 2016, it is discovered that she has a daughter, Tali, with Anthony DiNozzo. During a mortar attack arranged by former CIA agent Trent Kort, Ziva is apparently killed. In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, executive producer and show runner Gary Glasberg commented on Ziva's fate; "Tremendous thought was put into every element of what you saw last night ... down to the lines of dialogue, the specific wordage. At the end of the day, I leave it in the hands of our fantastic fans and audience".In the season 16 episode "She", after the NCIS team solves a case that Ziva had kept notes on after her departure, it is revealed that Ziva is in fact alive and had gone into hiding. She writes a note to Bishop asking to keep her secret due to her family being at risk of danger.
Outside of fiction, the cultural impact of Ziva became a subject of discussion among various critics, with academics and rabbis weighing in on the matter. Newspapers such as The Jerusalem Post cite her as the only full-time Israeli character on an American mainstream network television show, and Harvard preceptor Eitan Kensky identifies her as the "most prominent televisual Israeli" in the United States. Her depiction is generally praised for exposing the Western public to Israeli society and culture, its positive portrayal of an Israeli, and its "cheerleading for American ties to Israel". The role made de Pablo the second most popular actress on U.S. primetime television in 2013, according to Q Score, and a 2013 study by E-Poll Market Research listed her among the top 10 most appealing celebrities in America.Zvi Zamir
Zvi Zamir (Hebrew: צבי זמיר) born Zvicka Zarzevsky (born 3 March 1925) is a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and the Director of the Mossad from 1968 to 1974. He is currently retired and lives in Israel.
National intelligence agencies