Updated: Jan 13
We all hear about the Israeli Mossad's greatest missions and agents but do you know how the institute was established?
In December of 1949, after the War of Independence, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wanted to form a central body that would coordinate all the intelligence information from the existing security departments – AMAN (Army Intelligence), SHABAK (Internal Security Service), and the political department of the foreign office.
After months of planning, Ben Gurion and his close friend, intelligence specialist Reuven Shiloach, formed the “Central Institute for Coordination” AKA the Mossad, which became officially operational on April 1, 1951. Shiloach became the first of a long list of honorable and professional Mossad directors.
The Mossad's responsibilities are vast and diverse, such as helping Jewish communities in need all around the world or hunting down escaped Nazi war criminals. On May 11, 1960, the Mossad managed to capture Adolph Eichmann, the head of the Jewish Division in the Gestapo, and one of the main orchestrators of the Holocaust. In this secret and dangerous covert operation, Mossad agents led by Director Isser Harel successfully kidnapped Eichmann outside his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and brought him to Israel to stand trial. After being convicted of 15 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Eichmann was executed on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramlah.
Naturally, the Mossad’s MO (methods of operation) are kept a secret, adding to the mysterious aura that surrounds its activity. Although many operations are attributed to the Mossad, in most cases Israel chooses not to confirm or deny its involvement. Such operations include the assassinations of Hezbollah and Hamas chiefs, Imad Mughniyeh and Mahmoud al – Mabhuh, and more recent assassinations in Iran and Syria.
The Not So Secret Operations
However, there are several operations that Mossad has confirmed its involvement in, including the assassination of the Munich Olympics terrorists and the attainment of Iranian nuclear files in 2018. The secrecy behind the Mossad attracts attention all around the world. Many books and films were written about the Mossad or its operations, from authors John le Carre and Daniel Silva, to film director Stephen Spielberg.