The Adventures of a Mossad “Associate”

Born in Jerusalem in 1943, Yossi has lived in more than a dozen countries, owns five passports under different names, and speaks Hebrew, Italian, and German fluently. After working as a Mossad agent for several years in the 1960s, he became a Mossad “associate”—a civilian who helps the organization from time to time. Robert Rockaway, drawing on interviews with Yossi, recounts some of his experiences, which include kidnapping the brother of an Egyptian newspaper editor, helping an Israeli escape from a Swiss prison where Yossi himself was also being held, and assassinating an Italian terrorist. But some of Yossi’s escapades were less glamorous, if no less important:

[W]hen Hafez al-Assad was president of Syria, Israeli officials knew that he was diabetic and had suffered a heart attack. Israeli officials wanted to find out just how sick he was. The Mossad knew that Assad was flying to the Hilton Hotel in Geneva. . . . Mossad agents came to the hotel before Assad arrived. They knew in which room Assad was staying, . . . took the room directly [underneath], and connected Assad’s toilet pipe to their own room’s toilet. When Assad went to the toilet they took samples of his stool and sent it to Israel for analysis as to whether he was sick. They found that Assad was indeed very sick and that his days were likely numbered. Some months later, Assad suffered a heart attack and died.

In 1980, Yossi moved to Hong Kong and worked for an American company. In 1986, . . . the Mossad asked him to take someone named Zvi Aharoni to work for him. Aharoni was a Mossad agent, who in 1960 had traced Adolf Eichmann to Argentina and identified him as Ricardo Klement.

The Mossad sent Aharoni to Yossi so that he, too, could legally live and work in Hong Kong and use it as his base for operations. By means of his German passport, Aharoni had been making contacts with foreign governments for Israel. At that time, Israel had no relations with China and Indonesia. . . . Aharoni secretly brought the Indonesian army chief of staff to Israel. He also did the same with the chief of staff of the Chinese army. This led to surreptitious contacts between these countries and Israel. China eventually established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hafez al-Assad, Israel-China relations, Israeli history, Mossad

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror