Mossad is the national intelligence agency of the country of Israel. Israel has an Israeli Intelligence Community which is made up of three entities. It consists of Shin Bet, which is internal security, Aman, which is military intelligence and Mossad which is an espionage agency. Collection of intelligence, counter terrorism and covert operations are some of the responsibilities of Mossad. The reason Mossad is considered one of the most powerful espionage agencies in the world is that unlike any other security body, its roles, missions, power, budget and objectives is not clearly defined by the law. It is estimated that it employs more than seven thousand people across the world and the head of Mossad directly answers to the Prime Minister alone. Here are a few amazing facts about Mossad that will give you an insight into what it actually is.
– Mossad, which is one of the top intelligence agencies of the world, was first established under the name of Institute for Co-ordination in December 1949 by Israel’s founder and Prime Minister David Gurion. It was the direct successor of the intelligence department of Haganah which was the Jewish military force in the country of Palestine during the British period. The first director of Mossad was Reuven Shiloah, who played an important role in secret diplomacy and special operations during the pre-state period. The Mossad faced difficult days during its initial period of existence. There were certain bureaucratic conflicts that prevented them from becoming fully functional. It took them a little more than 1 year to become operational.
– One of the best kept secrets of Mossad is the Kidon unit that belongs to the Caesarea department. The Kidon unit is supposed to consist of an elite group of assassins who are an expert at what they do and are responsible for carrying out some of the most secretive operations of Mossad. This unit and the people working in it has always been a mystery and any information related to this is closely guarded and protected by the Israeli Intelligence Community. The Kidon unit is a part of policy of assassinations of Israel and is estimated to have carried out at least 2700 assassination missions since the Second World War.
– There are several people involved in carrying out the operations of Mossad but not all of them are a part of Mossad or are paid by the government for working with them. This group of people are known as “sayanim” which literally means helper and are an important determinant of how Mossad works. The sayanims are Jewish civilians who are recruited by the field agents of Mossad in order to help them in a minor way. The sayanims help Mossad out of a sense of devotion for their country Israel and their contribution allows Mossad to conduct vast operations all over the world on a tight budget.
– One of the successful operations where the power of the Mossad agency was clearly demonstrated was the capture of former Nazi Adolf Eichmann. He had played a major role in organizing the Holocaust and has escaped the US forces when Germany was defeated. He moved to Argentina using false papers but was captured by Mossad in 1960 and brought to Israel to stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty of all charges and was hanged to death in the year of 1962.
– The best operation of Mossad, among many, was the infiltration of the Syrian government by Eli Cohen. Eli Cohen was an Egyptian born Jew who worked for Mossad. He successfully developed a close relationship with the Syrian political people and people having high military ranks by posing as a Syrian businessmen. He was an Israeli spy who collected intelligence related to the Syrian government between 1961 and 1965. He was eventually discovered by the Syrian counterintelligence and was executed by hanging 1965.
– In the past, the name of the person who was heading Mossad was never made public. That is one of the amazing facts about Mossad that most people are unaware about. However, this changed in 1996 when Major General Danny Yatom who was working with the Israel Defence Forces as deputy commander. Since then, Mossad releases the name of the head of the organization once they start their five year term or when their position if confirmed by the Prime Minister. The current head of Mossad is David Barnea who was selected and appointed by the Israeli Prime Ministed in June 2021.
– One of the most audacious heists in history was carried out by Mossad in Iran where they broke into a storage facility in Tehran on January 2018. The storage facility contained valuable information such as Iran’s nuclear documents kept within 32 safes. The Mossad agents knew which safe had the most important documents and went on to melt the locks of those safes in order to acquire the information and left without leaving a clue. The Iranian officials were baffled by the incident but remained quiet on this matter. Three months later, the documents were found to be in Tel Aviv, Israel.
– Mossad is an intelligence agency that takes Israel’s security very seriously. They have successfully unearthed Nazi war criminals and enemies of Israel who live in hiding and brought them to trial or assassinated them. The Mossad agents were responsible for tracking down the Arab guerrilla leaders who murdered the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
– One of the amazing facts about Mossad is that they have an annual budget of around 3 billion dollars and a working force of more than 7000 people worldwide. This makes them one of the largest espionage organizations after the CIA. They conduct several covert operations that bring important intelligence to Israel that are essential in maintaining the security of the country. Mossad also helps in countering terrorism attempts, thwarts unconventional weapons and prevents espionage in order to create a new path for peace and regional cooperation.