“Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service” by Bar-Zohar & Mishal

Have you noticed that generally you cannot talk about Israel without the Mossad coming into the conversation? So deep has Mossad- the Israeli Secret Service – caught the imagination of people all over the world in its six decades of existence since its inception in 1949. Michael Bar-Zohar, (a veteran of many wars for Isreal, with an in depth knowledge of the espionage industry,  and a close aide to the legendary David Ben Gurion)  and Nissim Mishal, (an eminent TV personality in Israel) have collaborated to write, “Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service” .

As a reader I was impressed  with the objectivity with which they have told the story of the much feared Mossad. They have not restricted themselves to the many triumphs that have earned it the respect of friends and foes alike. They have also written about the failures, the few botched missions that went wrong . At the end of the day it’s people who carry out missions and people do make mistakes, however highly trained or committed to their cause they might be.

Whenever Israel’s enemies have damaged their interests, anywhere in the world, retribution has been inevitable; often swift and silent. On other occasions,  the hunt for Israel’s enemies has taken stupendous efforts and time. The Eichmann case being one of them. Adolf Eichmann, a former Nazi SS officer, responsible for the killing of thousands upon thousands of Jews during World War II  was captured by the Allies in 1945 but then escaped from captivity. In 1960, a full 15 years later he was famously kidnapped from hiding in Argentina in South America by the Mossad brought to trial in Israel and hanged for his crimes in 1962.

Israel has been always quick to defend her interests, surrounded as this small country is by enemies all around her. The Mossad has been a key weapon to defend her interests through any means required to meet the objective. This book also highlights the personalities of the successive Chiefs of the Mossad over the decades and how each one of them brought to bear their own distinctive styles in Mossad’s operations. It covers many cases which till today have never been spoken of or written about in the wider world.

“By way of deception, thou shalt make war” a Biblical quote was the motto of the Mossad. How and why this agency became as feared as it is by Israel’s enemies is brought out in considerable detail in this book. Elaborate research notes lend credence to the contents to make Ben-Zohar & Mishal’s book highly readable and interesting.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in military history, work politics and spy craft.


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