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'If you hadn't left Soviet Russia, you would have headed the KGB,' Shin Bet/Mossad founder Isser Halperin's workmates joked

June 13, 2019

Israel's political intelligence MOSSAD, one of the most powerful and closed intelligence in the world. Probably the youngest. After all, the State of Israel appeared artificially not so long ago - in May 1948. And surrounded by hostile Muslim countries. He urgently needed to create his own intelligence.

Now its agent network MOSSAD is spread all over the world and acts against external threats. Its employees are able to quickly carry out the operation anywhere in the world if necessary. At the same time, do not think that the Jews living there are agents of Israel. Fearing a surge in anti-Semitism in case of failure, there is an unspoken rule not to recruit them.

And it all started with a small group of people who were allocated several rooms in one ministerial house. They had a detachment of KIDON (in Hebrew bayonet) - three combat units of 12 people each. And now the staff of the central office of MOSSAD has no more than 1,200 employees. They have no military ranks, because this organization is civilian. For comparison: by the end of the 80s, 250 thousand people were working in the KGB system.

The founder of Israeli intelligence and its first director was a native of Soviet Belarusian Vitebsk, Israel Halperin (later Isser Harel), nicknamed "Stakhanovets". He headed MOSSAD from 1948 to 1963. By character, he is a gloomy person who does not understand humor. "If you hadn't left Soviet Russia, you would have headed the KGB," his workmates joked.

Halperin has always been a great supporter of conspiracy. Arriving in the Promised Land in the mid-1930s, he led an underground combat self-defense unit, the Israelis had such during the period when Palestine was under British rule. Even then, Jews and Arabs were at war.

When Israel was formed, Halperin headed the internal security department of the Self-Defense Forces. Then he changed his name and surname to Isser Harel, but never got rid of the Russian accent for the rest of his life.

Under him, MOSSAD performed two main tasks:

- Collection of intelligence information

- Carrying out special operations

To implement them, Harel established a intelligence training school and increased the allocation of his organization. Under him, MOSSAD began to cooperate closely with the CIA and MI-6.

Under his leadership, the main Nazi executioner of the Jews, Adolf Eichmann, who was hiding in Argentina, was found. In May 1960, MOSSAD employees stole him and secretly brought him to Israel. Harel was not afraid of the violation of international norms. He had a personal dislike for the fascists. His younger brother fought with them and died in battle on the Soviet-German front.

In 1963, MOSSAD conducted an operation in Egypt. There, German engineers helped the Egyptians to create missile weapons. Harel received information about this from Otto Skorzeny, who was recruited by him. Engineers began to be really threatened to close the program and leave Egypt.

At that time, Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion was negotiating with Germany to pay compensation for Nazi crimes against Jews. It was also expected that the Germans would supply Israel with a large batch of weapons. He needed it for possible Arab aggression.

Beg Gurion ordered MOSSAD to curtail the operation in Egypt, as it could prevent the conclusion of a treaty with Germany. The head of intelligence made arguments against it. There was a conflict of interest between the two state leaders. Harel had to give in, and he resigned.

Two years later, Isser Harel became an intelligence and counterintelligence adviser to the new Prime Minister of Israel. The execution of Israeli intelligence officer Eli Cohen in Syria had a strong moral impact on Harel. He moved away from intelligence and engaged in politics. The creator of MOSSAD died in 2003, having lived 91 years. The place of his burial is kept secret.