Mossad, short for HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim, is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Shin Bet. Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, counterterrorism. In contrast to the government and military, the goals and powers of the Mossad are exempt from the constitutional laws of the State of Israel. However, its activity is subject to secret procedures, its director answers directly to the Prime Minister. Its counter-terrorist unit is known as Kidon; the largest department of Mossad is Collections, tasked with many aspects of conducting espionage overseas. Employees in the Collections Department operate under a variety of covers, including diplomatic and unofficial; the Political Action and Liaison Department is responsible for working with allied foreign intelligence services, nations that have no normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Additionally, Mossad has a Research Department, tasked with intelligence production, a Technology Department concerned with the development of tools for Mossad activities.
Mossad was formed on December 13, 1949, as the Central Institute for Coordination at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army's intelligence department, the Internal Security Service, the foreign office's "political department". In March 1951, it was reorganized and made a part of the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the prime minister. Mossad's former motto, be-tachbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milchāmāh is a quote from the Bible: "For by wise guidance you can wage your war"; the motto was changed to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tachbūlōt yippol `ām. This is translated by NRSV as: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Metsada is a unit responsible for attacking the enemy. Metsada runs "small units of combatants" whose missions include "assassinations and sabotage"; the Kidon is a unit.
It is described by Yaakov Katz as "an elite group of expert assassins who operate under the Caesarea branch of the espionage organization. Not much is known about this mysterious unit, details of which are some of the most guarded secrets in the Israeli intelligence community." It recruits from "former soldiers from the elite IDF special force units." This unit has been a part of Israel's policy of assassinations, a policy that Israel has used more than any other country in the West, with Ronen Bergman stating it has carried out at least 2,700 assassination missions. Mossad has opened a venture capital fund, in order to invest in hi-tech startups to develop new cyber technologies; the names of technology startups funded by Mossad will not be published. Together with Shurat HaDin, they started Operation Harpoon, for ”destroying terrorists’ money networks.” Reuven Shiloah, 1949–53 Isser Harel, 1953–63 Meir Amit, 1963–68 Zvi Zamir, 1968–73 Yitzhak Hofi, 1973–82 Nahum Admoni, 1982–89 Shabtai Shavit, 1989–96 Danny Yatom, 1996–98 Efraim Halevy, 1998–2002 Meir Dagan, 2002–2011 Tamir Pardo, 2011–2016 Yossi Cohen, 2016–present Provision of intelligence for the cutting of communications between Port Said and Cairo in 1956.
Mossad spy Wolfgang Lotz, holding West German citizenship, infiltrated Egypt in 1957, gathered intelligence on Egyptian missile sites, military installations, industries. He composed a list of German rocket scientists working for the Egyptian government, sent some of them letter bombs. After the East German head of state made a state visit to Egypt, the Egyptian government detained thirty West German citizens as a goodwill gesture. Lotz, confessed to his cold war espionage activities. After a tense May 25, 1967, confrontation with CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden, who warned that the United States would help defend Egypt if Israel launched a surprise attack, Mossad director Meir Amit flew to Washington, D. C. to meet with U. S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and reported back to the Israeli cabinet that the United States had given Israel "a flickering green light" to attack. Provision of intelligence on the Egyptian Air Force for Operation Focus, the opening air strike of the Six-Day War.
Operation Bulmus 6 – Intelligence assistance in the Commando Assault on Green Island, Egypt during the War of Attrition. Operation Damocles – A campaign of assassination and intimidation against German rocket scientists employed by Egypt in building missiles. A bomb sent to the Heliopolis rocket factory killed five Egyptian workers sent by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad. Heinz Krug, 49, the chief of a Munich company supplying military hardware to Egypt disappeared in September 1962 and is believed to have been assassinated by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad. In September 1956, Mossad established a secretive network in Morocco to smuggle Moroccan Jews to Israel after a ban on immigration to Israel was imposed. In early 1991, two Mossad operatives infiltrated the Moroccan port of Casablanca and planted a tracking device on the freighter Al-Yarmouk, carrying a cargo of North Korean missiles boun
The Knesset is the unicameral national legislature of Israel. As the legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister, approves the cabinet, supervises the work of the government. In addition, the Knesset elects the State Comptroller, it has the power to waive the immunity of its members, remove the President and the State Comptroller from office, dissolve the government in a constructive vote of no confidence, to dissolve itself and call new elections. The Prime Minister may dissolve the Knesset. However, until an election is completed, the Knesset maintains authority in its current composition; the Knesset is located in Jerusalem. The term "Knesset" is derived from the ancient Knesset HaGdola or "Great Assembly", which according to Jewish tradition was an assembly of 120 scribes and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism – about two centuries ending c. 200 BCE.
There is, however, no organisational continuity and – aside from the number of members – little similarity, as the ancient Knesset was a religious unelected body. As the legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the president, approves the cabinet, supervises the work of the government through its committees, it has the power to waive the immunity of its members, remove the President and the State Comptroller from office, to dissolve itself and call new elections. The Knesset has de jure parliamentary supremacy, can pass any law by a simple majority one that might arguably conflict with the Basic Laws of Israel, unless the basic law includes specific conditions for its modification. In addition to the absence of a formal constitution, with no Basic Law thus far being adopted which formally grants a power of judicial review to the judiciary, the Supreme Court of Israel has in recent years asserted its authority, when sitting as the High Court of Justice, to invalidate provisions of Knesset laws it has found to be inconsistent with a Basic Law.
The Knesset is presided over by a Deputy Speaker. The Knesset is divided into committees. Committee chairpersons are chosen by their members, on recommendation of the House Committee, their factional composition represents that of the Knesset itself. Committees may elect sub-committees and delegate powers to them, or establish joint committees for issues concerning more than one committee. To further their deliberations, they invite government ministers, senior officials, experts in the matter being discussed. Committees may request explanation and information from any relevant ministers in any matter within their competence, the ministers or persons appointed by them must provide the explanation or information requested. There are four types of committees in the Knesset. Permanent committees amend proposed legislation dealing with their area of expertise, may initiate legislation. However, such legislation may only deal with Basic Laws and laws dealing with the Knesset, elections to the Knesset, Knesset members, or the State Comptroller.
Special committees function in a similar manner to permanent committees, but are appointed to deal with particular manners at hand, can be dissolved or turned into permanent committees. Parliamentary inquiry committees are appointed by the plenum to deal with issues viewed as having special national importance. In addition, there are two types of committees that convene only when needed: the Interpretations Committee, made up of the Speaker and eight members chosen by the House Committee, deals with appeals against the interpretation given by the Speaker during a sitting of the plenum to the Knesset rules of procedure or precedents, Public Committees, established to deal with issues that are connected to the Knesset. Permanent committees: House Committee Finance Committee Economic Affairs Committee Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Interior and Environment Committee Immigration and Diaspora Affairs Committee Education and Sports Committee Constitution and Justice Committee Labour and Health Committee Science and Technology Committee State Control Committee Committee on the Status of WomenSpecial committees: Committee on Drug Abuse Committee on the Rights of the Child Committee on Foreign Workers Israeli Central Elections Committee Public Petitions CommitteeThe other committees are the Arrangements Committee and the Ethics Committee.
The Ethics Committee is responsible for jurisdiction over Knesset members who violate the rules of ethics of the Knesset, or involved in illegal activities outside the Knesset. Within the framework of responsibility, the Ethics Committee may place various sanctions on a member, but is not allowed to restrict a members' right to vote; the Arrangements Committee proposes the makeup of the permanent committees following each election, as well as suggesting committee chairs, lays down the sitting arrangements of political parties in the Knesset, the distribution of rooms in the Knesset building to members and parties. Knesset members join together in formal or informal groups known as "lobbies" or "caucuses", to advocate for a particular topic. There are hundreds of such caucuses in the Knesset; the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and the Knesset Land of Israel Caucus are two of the largest and mo
Yitzhak Hofi was a member of the Palmach, IDF General, chief of the Northern Command, director of the Mossad. Hofi was born in Tel Aviv, he joined the Haganah in 1944 and commanded a company in the Arab-Israeli War in 1948. He continued to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces in a variety of command and training posts, he headed the Northern Command of the IDF during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He was Acting Chief of Staff for a brief period in 1974, before retiring from the military and taking the post of director of Mossad. Before that he was a general in the Israeli Defense Forces in charge of the Northern Command. In July 1976, Hofi lobbied for a rescue mission to be mounted to save the large number of Israeli passengers on a hijacked Air France airliner flown to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. In order to facilitate the resulting Operation Entebbe, Hofi directed Mossad katsas to survey the airport, used contacts in Kenyan intelligence to allow the refueling of Israeli planes in Nairobi on the return journey.
During his tenure as Director of the Mossad, Israel carried out Operation Opera, a surprise Israeli attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor in Osirak. In addition, the Mossad under his command assassinated a number of Palestinian terrorists, including Ali Hassan Salameh, chief of operations for the Black September Organization. After retiring from the Mossad in 1982, Hofi served as director of the Israel Electric Corporation until 1990, he died on 15 September 2014. Black, Ian. Morris, Benny. Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. New York: Grove Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8021-1159-9, 322 p. Central Intelligence Agency. "Israel. Foreign Intelligence and Security Services, 1979". Included in the volume "Documents from the US Espionage Den", Tehran, 1982
Zvi Zamir born Zvicka Zarzevsky is a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and the Director of the Mossad from 1968 to 1974. He is retired and lives in Israel. Born in Poland, Zamir immigrated with his family to the British Mandate of Palestine when only seven months old. At the age of 18 Zamir began his military career, first as a soldier in the Haganah's Palmach, a unit that included future Israeli leaders among the likes of Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Zamir fought in the newly created Israel Defense Forces as an Infantry Platoon Leader. After the war he continued climbing the chain of command, becoming a licensed reconnaissance pilot for the Artillery branch, was promoted to the Commander of the Southern Command, his final IDF post before being appointed Mossad Director came in 1966 when he was appointed the military attaché to London. During his tenure at the Mossad, he helped carry out Operation Wrath of God, the Israeli response to the Munich Massacre, dealt with the lead up and aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
After the German government refused to accept an Israeli team during the Munich hostage crisis, Zamir was sent to observe any activities. He was at the Fürstenfeldbruck airbase the night that the failed rescue attempt left all nine remaining Israeli hostages dead. Zamir was interviewed about the incident in 1999 when he spoke with the producer of One Day in September, a documentary on the massacre. In it he criticized the German rescue effort for its complete lack of coordination, he had been interviewed on this subject for an NBC profile during their coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, he has discussed the massacre several times since. Zamir resides in Zahala, a neighborhood in the north of Tel Aviv. Zamir was played by Ami Weinberg in Steven Spielberg's 2005 movie Munich, his memoirs were published in Hebrew in 2011 under the title Be'einaim Pekuhot. "Preventive measures" Zamir interview in 2006. One Day in September, a documentary by Kevin Macdonald. Raviv and Melman, Yossi; every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990. ISBN 0-395-47102-8 p. 179
Tamir Pardo is the former Director of the Mossad, taking over the role from Meir Dagan on January 1, 2011. The appointment was announced by Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 29, 2010. Pardo was born in Tel Aviv to a Sephardi-Jewish family, his father was an immigrant from Turkey, his mother was of Serbian-Jewish origin. At age 18, when he began his compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces, he volunteered for the paratroopers, he graduated from an officers' course, served as a communication officer in the elite special forces unit Sayeret Matkal. He served in the Shaldag Unit, he was a member of the unit under the command of Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu and participated in Operation Entebbe. Netanyahu, elder brother to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was killed during the operation. After completing his military service, Pardo joined the Mossad in 1980, served in entry-level technical positions, he took part in several classified operations, was awarded the Israel Security Prize three times.
He rose through the ranks and became head of the "Keshet" department, responsible for operations, including obtaining electronic intelligence through wiretaps and photographic methods. In 2005, he was in line for promotion to the organization's number 2 position, when another individual was given the job. Mossad Director-General Meir Dagan thereupon lent Pardo to the IDF, where he served as a senior advisor for operations to the Israeli General Staff, he served in this position during the 2006 Lebanon War. After Dagan fired his number 2, he invited Pardo to assume the role. Pardo did so in the belief. However, Dagan's term was extended and he didn't retire when expected; this led Pardo to leave the Mossad, whereupon he went into private business with Israeli Internet gambling entrepreneur Noam Lanir. Israeli media reported that Netanyahu's first candidate for the role of Mossad chief, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries's CEO, retired Major General Shlomo Yanai, was offered the job but turned it down.
Of several other candidates, Pardo was the only one to have served in the Mossad. His choice may reflect a wish on the part of Prime Minister Netanyahu to signal continuity by choosing a candidate from within the ranks, it was anticipated that Pardo would continue the work of his predecessor, Meir Dagan, in attempting to thwart any attempts by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to build a nuclear weapon. On August 2, 2011, German news website Spiegel Online published an article named "Mossad Behind Tehran Assassinations, Says Source", claiming receiving information from "an Israeli intelligence source", linking Mossad under Tamir Pardo as its chief to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Darioush Rezaeinejad in Tehran on July 23, 2011; the report was reprinted by several news agencies, yet without providing additional sources to confirm the information. In June 2016, the American NGO United Against Nuclear Iran announced that Pardo had joined the group's Advisory Board.
Upon joining, Pardo said, "The leading global powers cannot turn a blind eye to the clear and present dangers the Iranian regime poses to the safety and freedoms of millions of people within their borders and throughout the world."During an interview with Haaretz in May 2018, Pardo said that in 2011 Netanyahu ordered the Mossad and IDF to prepare for an attack on Iran within 15 days, but he and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz questioned the Prime Minister's legal authority to give such an order without Cabinet approval, so Netanyahu backed off. In June 2018 Pardo stated that Mossad was'a crime organization with a license,' something which, he added, made working for it the'fun part'
Aluf Meir Dagan was an Israel Defense Forces Major General and Director of the Mossad. Meir Huberman was born on a train on the outskirts of Kherson, between the Soviet Union and Poland during World War II to Polish Jewish parents who were fleeing Poland for the Soviet Union to escape the Holocaust, his maternal grandfather, Ber Erlich Sloshny, was killed by the Nazis. In 2009, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published two photos of Nazi soldiers standing next to a kneeling Sloshny shortly before they shot him. During his term as Director-General of the Mossad, Dagan kept one of the photographs hanging in his office. Meir and his parents survived the Holocaust, in 1950, the family made aliyah to Israel. During the ship's approach to Israel, it encountered a storm, during which Meir stood on the stern, praying to reach the shore safely; the family lived in an immigrant camp in Lod before settling in Bat Yam, where Meir grew up and his parents ran a laundry business. Dagan was a vegetarian and an amateur painter, who studied painting and sculpture at Tel Aviv University.
He had three children. Dagan was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces in 1963, he ended up joining the Paratroopers Brigade. He completed his compulsory service in 1966, but was called up as a reservist in 1967, fought in the Six-Day War as an officer, commanding a paratrooper platoon on the Sinai front. In the early 1970s, he commanded an ad hoc undercover commando unit, known as Sayeret Rimon, whose task was to combat the increasing violence in the Palestinian territories. In 1971, he received a Medal of Courage for tackling a wanted terrorist, holding a live grenade. Dagan fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War as an officer on the Sinai front, participated in the crossing of the Suez Canal. During the 1982 Lebanon War, he commanded the Barak Armored Brigade, was one of the first brigade commanders to enter Beirut. In the 1990s, he held a series of high-level positions in the IDF command reaching the rank of Major General before retiring from the army in 1995, after 32 years of service. Dagan served as a counterterrorism adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he served as a National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Sharon appointed him Director-General of Mossad in August 2002, replacing outgoing Director Efraim Halevy. As Mossad director, Dagan was responsible for intelligence, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism activities outside of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, he was aggressive in ordering killings of terrorists on foreign soil. According to Mossad veteran Gad Shimron, "Israel is in the paradoxical situation of not having a death penalty but allowing itself to target Arab terrorists outside its borders with complete impunity. Meir Dagan subscribes to this thinking, unlike some of his predecessors". By November 2004, at least four foreign terrorists had been killed in suspected Mossad operations, three major terrorist attacks planned against Israeli civilians abroad had been foiled. Ehud Yatom, a member of the Knesset Subcommittee on Secret Services, stated that "as someone, privy to the facts but not at liberty to divulge them, I can say this with complete authority; the Mossad under Meir Dagan has undergone a revolution in terms of organization and operations."
Under Dagan's watch, Mossad tripled its recruitment efforts, launching a website where people can apply to join. Much of its annual budget of $350 million was diverted from traditional intelligence gathering and analysis to field operations and "special tasks". Dagan was reconfirmed as Mossad director until the end of 2008 by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in February 2007, in June 2008, Olmert again extended his tenure until the end of 2009. In mid-2007, Dagan had a "spat" with the Deputy Director N, thought to be a candidate for replacing Dagan in late 2008. Dagan restored his former deputy T to the post and Dagan was thought to recommend T as his replacement, he was re-appointed in 2009 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve until the end of 2010. In June 2010, a report from Channel 2 stated that Netanyahu had denied a request by Dagan for another year as Mossad director, though this was denied by the Prime Minister's Office. In November 2010, Tamir Pardo was announced as his replacement.
Following his departure, Dagan made several controversial public statements concerning the prudence of an Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities contradicting the positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu. He called it a "stupid idea" in a May 2011 conference. After Dagan voiced criticism of the prime minister, he was asked to return his diplomatic passport before its expiry date. Dagan repeated the opinion in a March 2012 interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News' 60 Minutes, calling an Israeli attack on Iran before other options were exhausted "the stupidest idea" and saying he considered the Iranians "a rational regime." Dagan served as the director of the Israel Port Authority, in 2011 was appointed chairman of Gulliver Energy Ltd. which announced that it intended to mine uranium at a license in the Dead Sea area and drill in search of gold near Eilat. In 2012, Dagan was diagnosed with liver cancer, began chemotherapy treatment, but the cancer spread and he began to suffer from liver failure.
In October of that year, he flew to Belarus and had a successful liver transplant operation performed by French-Jewish surgeon Daniel Azoulay, considered one of the world's leading liver transplant
Yosef "Yossi" Meir Cohen is the current Director of Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel. Cohen grew up in the Katamon neighborhood, his father Aryeh was an eighth-generation Israeli and a worked in a senior position at Bank Mizrahi. He was an Irgun veteran, his mother Mina was a school principal. She was an eighth-generation Israeli born to a Jewish family rooted in Hebron, Israel Cohen was drafted into the IDF in 1979, he volunteered as a paratrooper in the Paratroopers Brigade. He served as a squad leader. Not long after he was honorably discharged he was drafted in to the Mossad. Cohen is a 30-year-veteran of the Mossad and described as'able to inspire the confidence of his charges', he ran agents in a number of countries over his career, led the Mossad's collections division. From 2011 to 2013, he was the deputy director, he was known publicly as "Y" in this post. Cohen won the prestigious Israel Security Prize for his Mossad work. Intelligence reporter Ronen Bergman has written that Cohen has a reputation as a tough boss, that he speaks perfect English and Arabic, is a marathon runner.
In August 2013 he was appointed the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel. In December 2015, Cohen was appointed to succeed Tamir Pardo as director of Mossad. and assumed office in January 2016. Cohen has four children. One of his sons, has cerebral palsy, he has one granddaughter. He is nicknamed "the Model" for his stylish appearance. Yossi Melman, WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE CHARMING HEAD OF THE MOSSAD?, The Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2018