The Middle Eastern Jews Who Were Some of Israel's Earliest Undercover Spies

A wonderful new book recaptures their story and relates it to broader issues of Middle Eastern Jewish identity.

A member of the Palmaḥ’s Arab unit. Palmach Archive.

A member of the Palmaḥ’s Arab unit. Palmach Archive.

Observation
May 15 2019
About the author

Michael Weingrad is professor of Jewish studies at Portland State University and a frequent contributor to Mosaic and the Jewish Review of Books. 


On a summer night in 1949, two men approached the Jordanian soldiers at a military post in the Old City section of Jerusalem, a city then divided between Jewish and Arab sectors. Their names, they said, were Abdul and Yussef: Arab refugees from Palestine who wanted to catch a glimpse of their former homeland. The soldiers brought them to a fortified embankment from where they could look down onto the battered, rubble-strewn Jewish sector.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Mossad