The Mossad’s ‘Long Arm’ Strikes a New, Viral Target
Israel’s famed intelligence agency plays a vital role in defending the country from coronavirus
The Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence service that carries out special operations, lives up to its reputation these days, as the media informs us of its activities around the world fighting the coronavirus.
When talking about the Mossad, people usually think of a “James Bond” secret agency that carries out movie-like assassinations, espionage, counterterror ops and other daring actions. Although there is some truth in this, an important component in the Mossad’s activity is special civilian operations, like we hear about these days, while the main intelligence activity continues, far and deep.
The Mossad’s efforts and successes in fighting COVID-19 are far more difficult in a time when the streets are almost empty and the borders are closed.
The agency’s bold men and women can camouflage themselves in any crowd and operate in total invisibility while participating in a stakeout, a break-in or other intelligence objective during routine times. But in a time when all around seems frozen, operating in the shadows is harder – much harder.
The history of the Mossad includes other civilian ops, some no less complex and challenging than regular intelligence ops, starting with the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, and other secret missions to hunt down high-ranking Nazi officers; the Yossele Schumacher affair, in which the Mossad returned a small child to his family from the US; and large-scale immigration operations, spiriting Jews out of hostile countries such as Ethiopia, Yemen and Syria.
One of these large-scale ops took place in Sudan, where the Mossad built an entire diving club, including special agents serving as scuba instructors during the day and rescuing Ethiopian Jews using Israeli naval boats at night.
A civilian mission is carried out in the same manner as other missions. It starts with an extensive intelligence brief, detailed planning, and scripting as many different scenarios as possible and the ways to deal with each of them, defining access points and assessing risks. Now imagine doing all that in the era of empty cities.
According to the media, the Mossad has managed to get its hands on dozens of ventilators, tens of thousands of respirator masks and test kits, and 10 million surgical masks, thanks to the agency’s international affairs branch, which is responsible for relations with friendly and not-so-friendly states and regimes.
In a time of need, like the one we are all facing, the Mossad knows its way around rulers, kings and wheeler-dealers throughout the world, thanks to its many years of deep, under-the-radar networking.
We in Israel trust that these brave and bright teams and individuals keep doing what they are the absolute best at doing – special missions in the shadow world.