Title:                      MOSSAD

Author:                Michael Bar-Zohar

Bar-Zohar, Michael (2012) and Nissim Mishal. MOSSAD: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service. New York: HarperCollins

LCCN:    2013474618

UB251.I78 B374 2012


  • The Mossad is widely recognized today as the best intelligence service in the world. It is also the most enigmatic, shrouded in secrecy. This book unveils the defining and most dangerous operations that have shaped Israel and the world at large from the agency’s more than sixty-year history, among them: the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the eradication of Black September, the destruction of the Syrian nuclear facility, and the elimination of key Iranian nuclear scientists. Through intensive research and exclusive interviews with Israeli leaders and Mossad agents, authors Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal re-create these missions in detail, bringing to life the heroic operatives who risked everything in the face of unimaginable danger.–From publisher description.


  • Introduction: Alone, in the lion’s den — King of shadows — Funerals in Tehran — A hanging in Baghdad — A Soviet mole and a body at sea — “Oh, that? It’s Khrushchev’s speech–” — “Bring Eichmann dead or alive!” — Where is Yossele? — A Nazi hero at the service of the Mossad — Our man in Damascus — “I want a MIG-21!” — Those who’ll never forget — The quest for the Red Prince — The Syrian virgins — “Today we’ll be at war!” — A honey trap for the atom spy — Saddam’s supergun — Fiasco in Amman — From North Korea with love — Love and death in the afternoon — The cameras were rolling — From the land of the Queen of Sheba — Epilogue: War with Iran?


Date Posted:      November 16, 2015

Reviewed by Hayden Peake[1]

The Mossad is Israel’s foreign intelligence service. A Mossad team captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires. Another recruited an Iraqi pilot and convinced him to fly a MiG-21 to Israel. And its officers assassinated Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah terrorist who planned the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1982. It is also credited with attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists and cyber operations intended to slow Iran’s nuclear program. Authors Michael Bar-Zahar and Nissim Mishal discuss these and many other incidents in their new book MOSSAD.

The authors don’t just write about successful operations. There is a chapter on the botched attempt in Amman, Jordan, to assassinate Hezbollah leader Khaled Mash’al by injecting a poison into his ear. The King of Jordan was so incensed that he threatened to break diplomatic relations with Israel and to keep the captured assassins unless Prime Minister Netanyahu sent an antidote: he did.

Other cases included in this anthology of espionage have elements of both success and failure. The best known success concerns Mordechai Vanunu, who stole atomic secrets and was later captured in a text-book honey trap. More recently, a failure, after the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Adbel Rauf Al-Mabhouh in Dubai, the assassination team was exposed because it had not avoided closed circuit television and, the authors suggest, their fake passports didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

One case at least remains in the uncertain category. A Mossad double agent codenamed ANGEL, in reality Nasser’s son-in-law, died a mysterious death in London.

The Egyptians claimed him as their double agent and gave him an official funeral, leaving both sides to wonder if he was really a triple agent and if so, for whom. Some cases border on the bizarre. The supposed Israeli recruitment of the larger-than-life Nazi SS officer, Otto Skorzeny, is the prime example.

As with all unofficial case books of this nature, readers are left wondering how much is true. The authors do provide source notes, but they are all secondary journalistic accounts. On the other hand, some cases, as with Eichmann and Vanunu, have been officially acknowledged.

The Jonathan Pollard case probably falls into the latter category, but the authors dismiss it, only conceding that the Mossad was embarrassed and claiming that all the documents Pollard took were returned.

Bar-Zohar and Mishal have provided an interesting survey of Mossad espionage operations. It is good reading.

[1] Peake, Hayden B. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 1, Spring/Summer 2013, p. 119). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. These and many other reviews and articles may be found on line at

This entry was posted in Israel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s