While Her Brother Worked to Obtain Britain’s Support for Zionism, Fanny Weizmann Spied for Germany

July 18 2019

During World War I, Chaim Weizmann and his associates sought to align the Zionist movement with the Western allies—a policy that brought enormous success in the form of the Balfour Declaration. But many Jews found Britain and France, allied as they were with viciously anti-Semitic Russia, unworthy of sympathy. So it is perhaps unsurprising that Weizmann’s own sister, Minna—who went by the name Fanny—agreed to spy for the Germans from, of all places, Palestine. Lenny Ben-David writes:

Fanny was . . . a young, attractive Berlin-trained doctor who immigrated to the Jewish homeland from near Pinsk in Russia in 1913. She was the first of her family to undertake aliyah. Perhaps her loneliness [there] made her easy prey for Curt Prüfer, a polyglot German diplomat known for his philandering. But Prüfer was also the head of German intelligence in Palestine, and he charmed Fanny into becoming one of his spies against the British. . . .

Prüfer provided intelligence to the Ottoman leaders and assisted in planning the Turkish attack on the British-controlled Suez Canal. He dispatched his recruit and paramour to Egypt in May 1915, where she was welcomed as a doctor at the overcrowded British military hospitals and as an ingenue in British, Russian, French, and Jewish circles in Cairo and Alexandria. Egypt was a candy shop for the young, attractive German doctor and spy. . . .

In Egypt, Minna ran into a dilemma: how to deliver her information to her German spymasters. She embarked across the Mediterranean accompanying a badly wounded French soldier. In Rome, she delivered her information to the German ambassador to Italy, not aware that the embassy was under British surveillance.

Minna was arrested and deported to her native Russia, but managed to return to the Land of Israel after the war ended. She continued to practice medicine there until here untimely death in 1925, at the age of thirty-five.

Read more at inFocus

More about: Chaim Weizmann, World War I, Zionism

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy