Israel News

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!


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.


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 celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday in 2023.


Blog Topics

/jewish gifts from israel/israel army gifts/israel army souvenirs


Purim Traditions Explained
The festive Jewish holiday of Purim will begin on Saturday night, March 23, 2024 – or Sunday night, March 24
Vagone Shoah con Stella di Davide in primo piano
Why Some Are Calling the ICJ Case Against Israel the Modern Dreyfus Affair
As Israel fights one of its toughest wars yet, following the brutal attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Israelis
Holding techelet tzitzit during Jewish prayer
How Israel Rediscovered the Ancient Tekhelet Dye
The original Biblical commandment called for adding a blue string called tekhelet to the white tzitzit fringes on one’s tallit or shirt. The exact blue dye
Pomegranate seeds in a shape of a heart on wooden background.
Top Love Symbols in Judaism You Didn't Know About
Check out these uniquely Jewish representations of love, and then get your loved one a romantic Jewish gift right from
Biblical Jewish Priest Standing In Front Of King Solomon's Templ
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
Learn About the IDF Special Forces
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) includes various branches and units, and among them are several special forces units (in Hebrew