What is the story of the Israeli spy who was hanged by Syria at the crossroads?

War has once again broken out between Israel and Palestine. Shells are being fired from both sides. Thousands of people are bleeding. In such a situation, there are many stories related to Israel which are circulating in the streets of social media. One of these stories is that of Eli Cohen, who was sentenced to death by Syria for treason in his country. In 1965 he was captured and hanged in Damascus. But the circumstances surrounding his capture have since been disputed and are the source of ongoing debate. Some have argued that Cohen failed to follow procedures and attempted to send too many messages, which attracted the attention of the Syrian people. Others blamed Cohen’s superiors, saying that he was put under intense pressure to provide new information, leading to his capture.

Who was Eli Cohen?

Eliyahu (Eli) Cohen Egyptian Jew born in 1924 in Alexandria. He worked within Egypt to secretly ist other Egyptian Jews to immigrate to Israel. Cohen later became part of the Israeli espionage network in Egypt, which was exposed and destroyed by Egyptian authorities in 1954. Arriving in Israel after the Suez Crisis of 1956, Cohen volunteered to join Israel’s military intelligence service. In 1960, facing an increasingly tense border situation with Syria, the Israeli intelligence agency recruited Cohen, giving him a new alias, Kamal Amin Thabet, before sending him to gain acceptance into the Syrian expatriate community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Trained in Israel for more than six months.

What did Eli Cohen do as a Mossad agent?

In South America, Cohen presented himself as a wealthy businessman. He managed to win the friendship of many influential members of the Syrian community abroad before traveling to Damascus in early 1962 carrying their invaluable credentials. There, he led a high-profile social life, hosting parties at his home attended by high-ranking Syrian officials, from whom he was able to obtain minutely detailed information. His new friends invited him to visit Syrian military bases. To get an extensive tour of the regime’s fortifications on the Golan Heights, a strategically valuable stretch of land that Israel later captured in the 1967 Six Day War. As Cohen penetrated deeper into Syria’s political and military hierarchy, he constantly sent intelligence updates to his masters across the border.

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