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Women of Mossad: how Israeli intelligence uses the skills of the fair sex



The terrorists, raised in contempt for women, were especially offended when they were beaten up by Israeli intelligence officers. We will talk about several brilliant operations of the Mossad, carried out by female hands.

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The morning in Beirut was cold. Englishwoman Erica Chambers, a volunteer of the organization of assistance to children in the camps of Palestinian refugees, went to feed stray cats. Leaning on the street, she returned to the house and, as usual, sat on the balcony, took a piece of canvas, pulled it on a wooden frame and began to draw, tells

In the afternoon, she put down her easel for a minute, picked up the control panel, pointed it at a red Volkswagen parked on the street, and pressed a button. 100 kilograms of explosives were thrown into the air by a passing Chevrolet. All of its passengers were killed, including Ali Hassan Salame, nicknamed the Red Prince, one of the main planners of the terrorist attack against Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

On the same day, January 22 1979, Chambers disappeared without a trace. But in Israel she was greeted as a heroine.

“She spent many months there alone,” recalls one former Mossad leader. - She herself made the main decision - where and when to blow up the terrorist.

- How could she live for months without arousing suspicion?

- In an environment with many threats, women are not considered a threat. This is a great advantage.

Women in Mossad

Within the Mossad leadership, respect for women's dignity is more pronounced today than in previous years. For the first time in history, two department heads at once (a position that requires a general's rank in the army) are women. One is in charge of the personnel department, the second is the briefing department.

From the first day of the Mossad’s existence, women participated in operations in the enemy’s rear, risking their lives more than once. According to information from the foreign press, women often took part in the liquidation of the enemies of Israel. Just look at the video and photos from the elimination of Mahmoud al-Mawhouh in Dubai in 2010.

“For 35 years in the Mossad, I have watched women working in critical areas,” says Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief. “They work great in the technological field, in analytics, and carry out operational tasks. The female sex is responsible for several outstanding intelligence operations.

- How is it that in the Mossad women are more widely involved in operational activities than, for example, in the IDF?

- There is a lot of hard physical work in the army. In our work, only the head is important. You don't even need to carry 60 kilos on your back.

Aliza Magen-Khalevi held the highest position in the Mossad - the deputy head of the “office”. “It is no problem for a woman to get where the men are ordered to move,” says the scout. - Women fit into the environment much easier. Who would suspect a woman? I have used this more than once. For example, somehow it was necessary to observe a certain place, but there was no convenient point. I went into the shop across the street, asked for a chair - just to rest - and sat without arousing suspicion. I don't think a man could do that. ”

Former operative Mirella Gal illustrates the same thesis in a different way: “It was necessary to complete a difficult task under cover of night in a foreign country. Suddenly a group of people approached us. It took a few seconds to get out of a difficult situation. We began to exchange secular gossip. If there were only men in our group, it would raise suspicion. A woman is another matter ... When recruiting, too. You cannot turn to a potential agent, you need to instill in him the feeling that it was he who turned to you. Once I got in line for a potential agent. The next morning, again. He greeted me, and after a few days began courting. Over the years I have learned to use feminine charm. ”

National injury

Women began to be actively recruited after a painful intelligence failure that earned the name "Dirty Business" or "The Lavon Affair." In 1954, a group of Israeli agents were sent to blow up facilities belonging to the United States and Great Britain in Egypt, and the Egyptians were to blame for this, which would have caused a conflict between Egypt and the West.

However, the Egyptians were able to neutralize the Israeli network. Among those arrested was a Jew of the Egyptian capital Marcel Niño. She tried to commit suicide, was seriously injured and after several months in the hospital was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Although her recruitment by Mosad was not proven, on returning home in 1968, Marcel received a position corresponding to the army rank of lieutenant colonel.

The fate of Marcel Niño has long been history, but she accompanies the Mossad whenever a woman enters a group of operational agents in an Arab country and there is a danger that she will be captured. Marcel herself today asks not to remember that case, but her experience has become an integral part of the DNA of the “office”.

“I remember when Agent Yael was thrown into Beirut in 1973, she worked directly with Mike Harari (then the commander of Caesarea, the Mossad's operations department),” says Magen-Halevi. “She was there alone, but it was she who passed on the information that made it possible for Operation Spring of Youth (during which the Special Forces of the General Staff eliminated the three leaders of“ Black September ”).

Magen-Khalevi recalls the then unrest in the Mossad. “After the end of the operation, Yael stayed a few more days in Beirut, and we were all terribly worried ... What makes a woman an excellent agent? She must be strong mentally and physically, must be able to adapt to circumstances. Yael was beautiful and clever, she knew everything. "

These fears for the agent are well known to the former head of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevi. “From personal experience, I can say that information about the presence of even one female agent behind enemy lines weighs heavily on the shoulders of any chief of the Mossad. But I don’t remember that the plan of the operation was changed or it was even canceled due to the participation of women. ”

Twenty years after Niño, two more female agents were imprisoned. True, this happened in relatively friendly Norway. In 1973, Rafael and Miriam Gladnikovs participated in Operation Wrath of God to eliminate those responsible for the murder of athletes at the Munich Olympics. A mistake in identification led to the elimination of a simple waiter of Moroccan origin. In 1991, two other women were detained on suspicion of espionage: the Mossad group was caught in Cyprus.

Pardo believes that these fears are exaggerated: “The pain threshold of a woman is higher than that of a man, this is due to pain during childbirth. Women are more fearless. "


In 1960, the head of the Mossad, Isser Harel, decided to use a woman in a group to capture Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. Mossad agents kept Eichmann in the apartment where our Mata Hari arrived from Israel. She was Judit Nasiho, a religious woman in a white scarf and gilded glasses. Former head of the Mossad department, Avner Avraham, says: “She flew in to make the safe house innocent. She sat in front of the house, drinking tea from a porcelain cup and looked like an average Argentinean of European descent. "

Sometimes women were used to calm nervous male scouts. One day, before the Doomsday War, the Mossad agent had to be reassured: a female agent arrived in Cairo, fictitiously married and helped carry out the task.

And the most famous seduction refers to the 1986 year: Shirley Ben-Tov (Cindy) managed to take Mordechai Vanunu from Rome to bring him to court.

Sima Shine, a former head of the Mossad's analytical department, said: “The organization saw no moral problem with this use of women. In intelligence work, you have to go to great lengths. For example, you need to get a person to betray his country. Is it moral? This is our job. ”

Two years earlier, as part of Operation Moshe to deliver Ethiopian Falashmura from Sudan, Mossad agent Yulia introduced herself as a businesswoman from Europe and established contact with a Sudanese businessman. Julia kept the “resort village” where Falashmur groups arrived from Ethiopia. From there, they were ferried by boat to an Israeli Navy ship waiting for them at sea, and from the ship to the Hercules Air Force transport aircraft.

“With a woman, the subject feels less vulnerable,” says former deputy head of the Mossad, Ram Ben-Barak. - He is confident in his attractiveness to women. A man will not believe that a woman who tells him, “You are so cool, so successful,” has a secret goal. If a man is engaged in the development of the object, he will be on the alert. The woman melts the ice.

- Which woman is more successful in such operations - "blue stocking" or "wonder woman"?

- Combination. The agent must be different from what the Mossad agents think.

- If female agents were gathered in one room, would you say that they are all beautiful?

Ben-Barak thinks and replies with a smile:

- Yes. But this is not a condition for hiring.

- But is it generally desirable?

- Well, yes, something like that ...

Femme Fatale

A former senior employee recalls: “One day there was information that a candidate had appeared for a job in my department. She has high marks, but she's too pretty. I must admit: bright beauty is a limitation. The agent who will be turned to on the street is not good. And here is the picture girl. Okay, we made an appointment at the cafe. A lady comes in, dressed very modestly, but extraordinarily beautiful. We talked and I decided to accept it. But the verification process for service in the Mossad is lengthy, and she eventually decided to refuse. Aliza Magen (then deputy chief of the Mossad) called and said: “This is my relative, so I did not intervene at first. But you should know: I appreciate that you did not reject her for her beauty. "

- What kind of women is the Mossad looking for?

- First of all, they are able to adapt to the environment and very attentive. You don't have to be Marilyn Monroe to seduce. All female agents are attractive but do not look like beauty pageant winners.

And Mirella Gal loses her temper when she is told about the image of a femme fatale. “Seduction is not the main goal of agents. This is rather a very unusual situation. It is in the James Bond films that all women are beautiful. Agents are people who do not stand out from the crowd. They usually dress in the colors of depression: blue, black. My friends even laugh at me because of this. ”

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