Israeli Army

The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

Curious about Israel’s famous spy agency, the Mossad? We’ve gathered the top facts about its history that will give you chills!

The famous (or infamous) Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence service, founded in 1949 and considered one of the world’s premier spy agencies. The Hebrew word “Mossad” literally means “Institute,” a shortening of the agency’s full name: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים or the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.

Most of the Mossad’s activities and operations are classified and shrouded in secrecy. However, certain aspects of its history and past accomplishments have been released to the public. The following are just a few facts from the Mossad’s rich history of protecting Jews and Israelis via covert operations, sure to inspire and astound!

The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

1. 1950s: The Mossad helped smuggle Jews out of several Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa to Israel, after they had been banned by their countries of origin from emigrating.

2. 1960: A team of Mossad agents captured former Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel in a daring and clandestine operation. He then stood trial in Jerusalem for his crimes against humanity during the Holocaust, and was convicted and executed. He was the only Nazi leader tried directly by the Jewish nation, and his trial was a poignant moment in Israeli history.

3. 1960s: Mossad spy Eli Cohen infiltrated the highest levels of the Syrian government over a period of several years and became close friends with Syria’s President and other officials. Despite his eventual capture and execution in 1965, the intelligence he gathered was key to Israel winning the Six Day War two years later and capturing the Golan Heights.

4. 1967: The Mossad provided crucial intelligence to the IDF for the opening strikes of the Six Day War, which gave Israel the upper hand and allowed it to win so decisively.

5. 1973: In Operation Spring of Youth, a team of IDF special forces commandos and Mossad agents smuggled themselves into Lebanon and attacked several Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) targets, following months of Mossad surveillance. The raid is considered to have been part of Israel’s retaliation for the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists.

The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

6. 1976: The Mossad provided intelligence for one of the Israeli Defense Forces’ most famous missions, Operation Entebbe, which rescued Jewish and Israeli hostages held by terrorist hijackers at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda.

7. 1970s-1980s: Following an order by Prime Minister Golda Meir, Operation Wrath of God was launched, which aimed to assassinate those responsible for the Munich Olympic massacre - as both retaliation and to deter future attacks. Mossad agents were dispatched all over the world to go after and eliminate members of the terror group Black September as well as certain PLO operatives. The agency also employed creative psychological warfare, such as publishing obituaries of still-living targets or sending condolence cards to family members right before a hit.

8. 1992-1993: The Mossad assisted in evacuating Bosnian Jews from war-torn Sarajevo to Israel.

9. August 2001: The Mossad advised the FBI and CIA in the United States that it had picked up intelligence of a large-scale terrorist attack being planned for US soil, though it is unclear whether the information was taken seriously. The World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked a month later in the September 11 attacks.

10. 2007: The agency uncovered a nuclear reactor being built in Syria, which was subsequently destroyed by the Israeli Air Force. This completely devastated Syria’s nuclear program and prevented the country from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon.

 

We hope you've enjoyed learning a bit about Israel's feared and admired Mossad!

If you love Israel’s famous intelligence service, shop Mossad and IDF gifts right at our store here! Check out our top 10 favorites, and don’t forget to get ready for Israel’s 75th birthday coming up in April 2023.

The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

JWS POST YOU MAY LIKE

What Jewish Texts Tell Us About Romantic Love
What Jewish Texts Tell Us About Romantic Love
Jewish tradition is surprisingly romantic, with lots to say about love and relationships. So in honor of the upcoming secular holiday
The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency
The Unbelievable History of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency
The famous (or infamous) Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence service, founded in 1949 and considered one of the world’s premier
Top 5 Romantic Couples in the Bible
Top 5 Romantic Couples in the Bible
The Hebrew Bible, or Tanach, is full of inspiring stories and life lessons of all kinds, and is the building block
Up to Date: The Hebrew Calendar
Up to Date: The Hebrew Calendar
Why do the Jewish holidays always change date year to year? How does the Rabbi figure out the bar mitzvah
Mezuzah Necklaces
Mezuzah Necklaces
People have been wearing Jewish amulets going back milenia. Some such items are worn as a commandment like tefillin, which
Who Were the Temple Priests?
Who Were the Temple Priests?
Who were the priests of ancient Israel and why were they so important? What did they do in the Holy