Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal “Amazons of the Mossad”, trans. Jan Pyka, Rebis – excerpt:
Letter to the authors
I am a Mossad fighter.
I was born in Israel, in the Jordan Valley. I’ve been a Mossad fighter for twenty years. I perform my tasks with full commitment and enthusiasm. It is important that each of us, warriors and warriors, feel deeply committed to defending our nation, our families and ourselves.
But you also need a fishing line for this. I have participated in secret missions all over the world. I know how to change my identity and appearance at any time. If you met me somewhere overseas you wouldn’t recognize me – I don’t usually look like I do now unless I want attention [Liat jest niezwykle piękna, wysoka, niebieskooka, ma kręcone blond włosy]. When I hear from the loudspeakers that my team is being called into the briefing room, I feel excited. I know something is going to happen. I know that I will have my morning coffee in Tel Aviv, but I have no idea where on the globe I will have lunch.
During the Mossad operation, women perform virtually all tasks, literally all. Same as men. Sometimes women make up the majority of the team that carries out an action. The men come from the army. They know the procedures: weapons – information – ways and means. It does not concern me. I am in the gray area somewhere in the middle. As a woman, I can stay in the shadows, unnoticed.
When we Mossad Amazons read about ourselves in the papers, we always find out that we are “wonderful and breathtaking.” This is bullshit and we don’t like it at all. It is much more important to us that we are equal to men in every respect. By the way, you wrote to me that there are also “techies” among female warriors. You should write “cybersecurity specialists, engineers, IT specialists”.
You sent me the address of the cafe where we meet. Unnecessarily. Give me the name of a place in Bangkok and I’ll be there on time. I don’t need directions. I can find any place I’m supposed to be. I need to know how to think, how to act according to a detailed plan, and if circumstances change – be able to make various decisions in seconds. It is not easy to learn.
Of course, there are rules that I follow, whether or not I am involved in an operation. For example, I will never sit in a cafe with my back to the entrance. I will always pay for my drink as soon as it is served, so I can leave whenever I choose. When I am abroad and someone recognizes me and calls me by my real name, I will never turn away. After returning from my mission, I must be able to adjust to my real identity, to life in my country. My greatest joy is when the immigration officer stamps my passport. Already in the taxi I go back to my old self. This is a huge change. One day I can hold in my hand some of the most sophisticated appliances Israel has ever invented, and the next day I lose my head in front of a broken washing machine.
I am divorced, I have two daughters and a son. They don’t know what I’m doing. My little daughter once talked to me about spies and I asked her, “Maybe I could be one of them?”, To which the three-year-old replied, “You? You can’t pretend …”. I once dated a very wealthy man who was trying to impress me. He repeated that his dream was to become a Mossad warrior. “These guys can change identities just like that,” he said, snapping his fingers, “any of them could stand right under my nose and I wouldn’t even guess who he was.” I looked at him. He was very tall and I was practically standing under his nose.
Trio Nina, “Marilyn” and Kira. March 7, 2007
Ibrahim Othman got off the elevator on the fourth floor of the hotel and started towards his room, but stopped a few steps away. A young woman sat on the floor by the adjoining door and wept bitterly. Next to her was a large silver suitcase. The stranger hit her solid lid with her fists and pressed two latches as she tried to open it. In vain. Othman hesitated for a moment, then walked over to her.
– What happened? He asked in English. – Can I help you?
She raised her tearful face.
“I can’t open the suitcase,” she replied, sobbing. – I lost my key. I do not know how. I do not know what to do.
“Why don’t you ask downstairs at the reception,” he suggested. – They may know …
– They don’t know anything! I put my purse with all my papers and the key to my room inside. I can’t enter it. And … my documents and money …
“I can try to help you,” he said, slightly embarrassed.
– No, you can’t.
He knelt beside her and pressed the latches as he tried to open the suitcase. Nothing happened.
– Maybe we’ll call the reception after all? He asked again.
– It’s useless. She hesitated. “Wait a minute, someone told me once … Do you have some other wrench, screwdriver … or a pocket knife I could use?”
He threw up his arms.
– I am not sorry. Suddenly he had an idea. – Maybe a key to my room? Let’s try.
“I don’t think so,” she replied. “But … let me try.”
He gave her the key to his room. She leaned over the suitcase, with her back to him so that he couldn’t see her hands, then deftly stamped his key into some plasticine-like material hidden in her hand. Wasting no time, she slipped Othman’s key into the narrow slot above the suitcase latches, then pressed them down again. There was a metallic click.
– God! She looked at the suitcase in amazement. – Managed to!
“It worked,” he repeated after her.
She looked at him with a happy smile.
“Thank you,” she said. – Thank you very, very much. You saved me. Really!
She handed him the key and rummaged in the suitcase. He saw her pull out a large brown purse and open it.
– Here, here is my key!
He went to the door of his room.
– Thank you again! She exclaimed.
He entered the room. He had no idea the young woman had made an imprint of his key. In less than an hour, the companions of the weeping girl Nina made a copy of it. This allowed the Mossad operational team to enter the room of Ibrahim Othman, the head of the Syrian government’s nuclear power commission. The Mossad had been following Othman for a long time, but with little success. Scraps of information from various sources, most notably a report by Major Jakobi, serving in Aman, Israeli military intelligence, have raised suspicions that Syria, perhaps in the footsteps of Iran, Iraq and Libya, is trying to build its own nuclear weapons. Most Mossad experts, however, rejected this theory. One of their main arguments was that “such a venture does not suit Bashar [al-Asada]. It fit or not, the debate continued; until finally Ramsad (Mossad director) Meir Dagan decided to verify Jakobi’s hypothesis. At a meeting with the heads of the Mossad departments, Dagan stubbornly rejected all objections and doubts. In the end, he ordered by all means an answer to the question of whether Syria is building a nuclear installation. This task was entrusted to the “Keshet” (Luk) department, which specializes in sophisticated intelligence operations abroad.
Carrying out hundreds of operations a year, “Keshet” was the most active department of the Mossad. Its employees stood out for their creativity and unconventional nature. They devised ingenious actions to obtain information, documents, and devices, and developed ways of subtly stalking important enemy officials who were operating outside their home countries. Sometimes the target of surveillance and investigation were people or delegations sent by hostile governments to Europe, Asia or Africa, sometimes they were enemy allies, suppliers, and even high-ranking foreign army officers who collaborated with Israel’s enemies.
Counteracting the nuclear threat was at the top of the Mossad’s list of tasks, and Iran was at the top of the list of countries that could pose such a threat. However, Ramsad Dagan believed that if Iran was deeply involved in the nuclear project and Iraq also tried to develop a similar program, it was his duty to ensure that no other hostile country secretly built nuclear weapons. This is why he insisted that his services should find out exactly what Ibrahim Othman, the “Mister Atom” of the Syrian government, was doing.
According to foreign sources, it was Ram Ben Barak, the head of “Keshet”, who sent his men to follow Othman. The Syrian traveled a lot. “Dagan told us to find out if Syria has a nuclear program or not,” Ben Barak told a journalist many years later. – For several months, you carry out various actions around the world until you are lucky.
Someone makes a mistake in one place and someone wins in another. Meir Dagan was very persistent. Many people told him that there could be no reactor in Syria. That all these expenses and time-consuming treatments are for nothing. But we followed his orders and we did not let go. Apparently, the various operations did not bear any fruit for a long time. Sending “Keshet” teams in the footsteps of Othman cost a fortune, and the results were nil. But later Mossad officials learned that Othman was coming to Vienna for the annual conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Although he had an apartment in the Austrian capital, this time he decided to stay in a hotel and there he met a tearful Israeli amazon.
Obtaining the key to Othman’s room was the first stage of the “trio” – three stages of operations, each of which was a separate mission. In all of them, three young Mossad operational officers played the main roles.
Mossad Amazons – cover mat. press releases