Bernard Dichek
Bernard Dichek is a Canadian-Israeli filmmaker and journalist living in Tel Aviv. He is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

Inside the Mossad reveals the former Mossad agent insider spy stories – some of them even about recent incidents. One may expect to see more in this genre, but not necessarily just from Israel.

Spies and secret agents may appear to lead adventurous and extraordinary lives, but they are just like everybody else in at least one way: they have a deep desire to discuss their accomplishments and to share some form of common understanding. This is at least one of my conclusions after watching Inside the Mossad, Duki Dror’s fascinating yet troubling film about Mossad – the National Intelligence Agency of Israel – responsible for clandestine operations overseas, including assassinations.

Mossad first fell under the international spotlight in 1960 when an agency team led by politician and former intelligence officer Rafi Eitan successfully kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of Nazi Germany’s Holocaust which saw the extermination of six million Jews. Eiten ensured he was brought back to Israel and to be put on trial. That daring feat was significant not only because of its operational success but also because few questioned its moral justification as Eichmann was given a chance to defend himself in a court of law. But in the subsequent years,Mossad has carried out several operations in which terrorists and individuals considered as posing a lethal threat to the nation-state have simply been killed. Eitan, in the film, describes one such instance, in which an Israeli army officer who was discovered selling military secrets to an enemy Arab country, was kidnapped in Europe, and his body disposed of by being dropped from a plane into the Mediterranean Sea.

Mossad agents tell their stories

Eitan, 91 – along with one other retired Mossad director, 93-year-old Zvi Zamir – seems to relish the opportunity to talk about everything he had been forced to remain silent about during the course of several years. Both may have been disheartened by all the attention received by their rivals in widely-acclaimed 2012 film, The Gatekeepers, in which the former heads of Israel’s internal secret services, known as the Shin Bet (think the FBI to Mossad’s CIA), candidly discussed their successes and failures. In Inside the Mossad, filmmaker Duki Dror also seems to have shrewdly anticipated that elderly veterans like Eitan and Zamir would have little to hide and a few axes to grind.

«Particularly disturbing is the account of one Mossad agent who recruited a Bedouin shepherd in Lebanon to work as a double agent.»

Zamir seems particularly eager to vindicate blame for failing to alert the Israeli government about Egyptian and Syrian plans to attack Israel in 1973. Zamir asserts unequivocally that he provided the Israeli cabinet with a compelling intelligence report detailing the imminent Egyptian-Syrian attack well in advance of the war. According to Zamir, his reports were ignored. The subsequent surprise attack caught the army off-guard and led to the death of more than 5000 Israelis.

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