Eli Cohen was an extraordinary spy for Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, during the early 1960s. Born in 1924 in Egypt to a Syrian-Jewish family, Cohen emigrated to Israel in 1957, where he was later recruited by Mossad. He was sent to Syria under the alias Kamel Amin Thaabet and swiftly rose through the social, political, and military ranks there.
In Syria, Cohen made significant strides, such as rapidly improving Israel’s intelligence on Syrian military and political developments. He revealed valuable military secrets that proved instrumental during the Six-Day War in 1967. His most notable achievement was providing detailed information about the Syrian fortifications on the Golan Heights. With this information, the Israeli armed forces could capture the fortifications, causing a significant turn in the war.
His spying career ended tragically in 1965 when he was caught by Syrian authorities due to a radio signal from his secret transmissions being traced. Despite international appeals, Eli Cohen was executed by hanging in Damascus, leaving a huge legacy in Israel and a significant loss for Mossad.
- Eli Cohen was a dedicated spy for Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, operating in Syria in the early 1960s.
- Using his alias Kamel Amin Thaabet, he garnered a wealth of intelligence information beneficial to Israel.
- Cohen’s significant achievement was obtaining detailed information about the Syrian fortifications on the Golan Heights.
- This vital information resulted in a significant victory for Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967.
- Cohen’s work ended tragically in 1965 when he was caught and executed by Syrian authorities.
1. What was Eli Cohen’s early life like before becoming a spy?
Eli Cohen was born in an ardent Zionist family in Alexandria, a city in Egypt. He was involved in undercover activities for Zionist groups in Egypt, leading to several imprisonments. After he was expelled from Egypt, he moved to Israel in 1957, where he lived a normal life until he was recruited by Mossad.
2. How did Eli Cohen manage to infiltrate Syrian high society?
Cohen posed as a Syrian businessman returning after living in Argentina. He built profound relationships with influential people in the Syrian military, government, and society, making him privy to diverse vital information.
3. How did Eli Cohen’s information help Israel in the Six-Day War?
Cohen relayed key military details, such as the Syrian fortifications on the Golan Heights. This intelligence allowed the Israeli defense forces to plan their attack and claim a significant victory during the war.
4. What happened to Eli Cohen after he was caught?
After being caught in 1965, Cohen was put on a very public trial and was subsequently sentenced to death. Despite international pleas for clemency, Cohen was executed in May 1965.
5. What is the legacy of Eli Cohen?
Cohen is highly respected in Israel as a national hero, with streets named after him and numerous memorials erected in his honor. His story has also been dramatically portrayed in several films and series – one of the most recent depictions is Netflix’s “The Spy.”