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Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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Goals: Familiarize the chanichim with the achievements of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Network; Illustrate some of the skills needed to be a Mossad agent.
1. Games: chasing and spying games relating to the Mossad
2. Story: “Eli’s Lonely Mission” – the story of Mossad agent Eli Cohen
Materials: background information, suggested games, story
Some of the Mossad’s Many achievements include:
- The capture of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi, enabling the Israeli courts to being him to justice.
- The many achievements of Eli Cohen, a now famous Mossad agent. Before the Six-Day War, Eli managed to infiltrate the Syrian defense ministry to a very high level. He obtained important strategic information about the Golan heights, which Israel subsequently captured.
- The discovery and destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, which later prevented the threat of a nuclear attack during the Gulf War.
II. Games – any chasing or spying games can easily relate to this topic. Here are a few suggestions:
- Streets and Allies: From Shabbat Games, Active Section, p. 32 (have the enemy chase the Mossad Agent.)
- Telephone: Each chanich whispers the same message to the next, see how the final message differs from the original. This is a classic game about the difficulty of passing accurate messages, one of the major problems facing secret agents.
- Switch: From Shabbat Games, Quiet Section, p. 95. (A game which requires quiet and deception. See if your Mossad agent can detect the movement of the enemy..)
- I Spy: Another classic game requiring thought and deduction, two important criteria for an agent.
Eli’s Lonely Mission (1965)
“My heart years for you, my desert love,” wailed the radio. It was almost drowned out by sounds of glasses clicking and loud laughter and talk in the warm living room af Amin Kamil Taabes in Damascus, Syria. Amin, a tall, dark-eyed, smiling man, was a busy host. He filled glasses, brought out another tray of honey pastry, and joked with his guests. But most of all, he listened.
When the last guest left, Amin drew the curtains, locked the door, and sat and wrote. Then he went into the cluttered kitchen and lifted off the top of his electric food mixer. Inside the base there was a powerful miniature radio transmitter. Softly Amin began to transmit a coded message to Tel Aviv.
Amin Kamil Taabes, the popular Damascus businessman, was Eli Cohen, an Israeli Jew and an agent of the Mossad.
Eli was born in Egypt and came to Israel in 1956. A few years later he began to work for the Mossad, collecting information inside Syria. It was a very important job. The Syrians, Israel’s neighbors to the northeast, were fierce enemies. They held the Golan Heights, which loom above Israel’s Jordan Valley. From the heights they had been shooting into Israeli villages along the river. If war broke out, they could rapidly sweep down and cut Israel in half. The Israelis had to know Syria’s plans. Only a spy in Damascus could give Israel the early warning that might save her life.
To become Amin Kamil Taabes, Eli first went to Argentina, where many Syrians live. He became known as a young Syrian businessman, handsome, friendly, and always ready to throw a party, lend some money, or argue politics at a sidewalk café. When Amin finally went “home” to Damascus, his social life become even busier and more glamorous. The propaganda minister, high air-force and police officials, and the president himself were his friends.
Amin and his friends visited Syrian fortifications on the Golan Heights. He looked down on the green fields, fishponds, and villages of Israel and took many snapshots of the “Zionist enemy.” His wife and three children lived only a few hours away in Tel Aviv. He was so close, but yet a long, lonely distance away. At other times Amin and his friends eagerly discussed new weapons and battle plans over tiny cups of Turkish coffee.
Late at night Amin became Eli. He spent hours putting his information into secret code and transmitting it to the Mossad in Tel Aviv. He hid plans and photos in the false bottoms of backgammon sets and the hollow legs of furniture. Eli’s company exported them to Switzerland, where Mossad agents were his best customers.
By January 1965, Eli had nearly finished his work. In a few months he would return to his wife Nadia and his three children in Israel. As he transmitted late one night, the door of his apartment suddenly burst open. A squad of men charged through with guns drawn. “Secret Police!” shouted the leader. “You are under arrest.”
An accident had betrayed Eli Cohen. The operator at the nearby Indian embassy had complained that an unknown transmitter was interfering with his messages. “Unknown “ could mean only one thing – a spy. Syrian police cruised the area with listening equipment until finally, on a night when there was an electricity blackout and few sets were operating, they traced the signal to the house of Amin Kamil Taabes.
The Syrians hanged Eli Cohen as a spy in May 1965.
Two years later his lonely sacrifice paid off. The Six Day War broke out, and Israeli planes attacked the Golan Heights. Because of Eli’s reports, they knew every ridge, rock and gun emplacement. After the planes wiped out many fortifications the tanks stormed up the cliffs, carefully avoiding mines, traps, and trenched, and drove the
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