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Following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s amazing address in May 30th, you are probably curious about the Mossad and its activities.

Intelligence Organizations before 1948

At the time of the U.N. General Assembly’s partition resolution of November 29, 1947 there were several underground and semi-underground organizations operating in the Yishuv (the Jewish residents in the British Mandate of Palestine) which required intelligence for rescuing Jews, illegal immigration, attacking the Arab rioters, and action against the British Mandate.

The Yishuv’s largest paramilitary organization, the Haganah (The Defense), established the Sherut Yediot (Shai, information service) to collect information, both for Haganah activity and for providing intelligence to the Yishuv leadership for its political–military contention with the Arabs of the Land of Israel, the Arab States, and the Mandate authorities.

The Shai established itself significantly during the pre-state years, and one of its leaders was Isser Harel (“Little Isser”), who later headed the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad. Mossad history starts almost immediately after the inception of the State of Israel.

Secrets of the Mossad Israeli Intelligence Secret Military War History Documentary

The Mossad after Israeli Independence

On June 7, 1948, Ben Gurion decided on the following: 

  • The establishment of a military information service by the Headquarters (General Staff – Aman).  The military information service (later Israel Defense Intelligence) was responsible for security, censorship, and counterintelligence.
  • The establishment of an internal information service (later the Shin Bet – Shabak).
  • The establishment of an external state information service (later the Mossad) under the Foreign Ministry and had two arms: Collection, which operated mostly in Europe, and Analysis, which operated in the Foreign Ministry HQ in Tel Aviv. In June 1951 Mossad signed a clandestine agreement with the American CIA.

Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counterterrorism. Its activity is subject to secret procedures that have never been published. Its director reports directly to the Prime Minister.

The Mossad’s main function

  • Information collection, utilizing a network of spies and other agents operating in stations around the world
  • Political action and intelligence liaison
  • Psychological warfare, propaganda, and dis-information
  • Research and assessment
  • Special operations, such as sabotage, assassination, and other activities, especially beyond Israel’s borders.

Mossad Operations

The Mossad largely stayed in the shadows in its early years. Yitzhak Shamir, a former Stern Gang terrorist and future prime minister, ran operations targeting German scientists who were helping Nasser’s Egypt build rockets – foreshadowing later Israeli campaigns to disrupt Iraqi and (continuing) Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear and other weapons.

The first high profile operation of Mossad came in 1960 when it managed to kidnap Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal, from Argentina. Eichmann was sentenced to death for his role in killing Jews in Europe.

During the 60’s Mossad provided critical information about Egyptian air force during the 6 day war.

On the eve of the October 1973 war, the Mossad gave the government an early warning of an imminent Egyptian offensive against the Bar-Lev Line, but military intelligence did not take the warning seriously.

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