The Jewish Spies Who Helped the British Defeat the Ottoman Empire in World War I

The achievements and sacrifice of a family of Palestinian Jews helped to secure both victory in war and Great Britain’s endorsement of Zionism.

Yosef Lishansky, Sarah Aaronsohn, and Lyova Shneerson, three members of the NILI spy ring, in Cairo, 1917. Beit Aaronsohn-Museum Nili, Zikhron Yaakov.

Yosef Lishansky, Sarah Aaronsohn, and Lyova Shneerson, three members of the NILI spy ring, in Cairo, 1917. Beit Aaronsohn-Museum Nili, Zikhron Yaakov.

Observation
Sept. 13 2017
About the author

Douglas J. Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the George W. Bush administration. He is writing a history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


One-hundred years ago this month, the Ottoman Turks, then in control of Palestine, rounded up and destroyed a Zionist intelligence network that made a decisively important contribution to the British invasion and liberation of Palestine. This is the group’s story.

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More about: Balfour Declaration, History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism