During the years of the state of Israel, there have been many stories about Israeli spies. The most famous one is the story of Eli Cohen.
Eli Cohen (Hebrew: אלי כהן) worked as a Mossad agent in Damascus, Syria under the alias of Kamal Amin Ta’abet from 1962 until his exposure and execution on May 18, 1965.
Cohen was able to supply considerable details on Syrian political and military matters because of his strong interpersonal skills and abilities to build close ties with business, military, Ba’ath Party leaders and Syrian President Amin el Hafiz. He was hanged in Martyr’s Square with the television cameras rolling for the entire world to see.
Eli was privy to secrets of the Syrian elite including those of national security. Cohen was considered to be named the Syrian Deputy Minister of Defense. He was the only civilian to receive private tours of military installations, even being photographed in the then Syrian controlled Golan Heights with high ranking Syrian officials looking over into Israel.
As a result, Eli sent highly informative reports back to Israel detailing the Syrian water deviation project and each and every one of the outposts on the Golan, including tank traps designed to impede an Israeli attack.
Eli’s influence on Syrian officials helped Israel beyond measure. Eli suggested that the Syrians plant trees on the Golan near each of their fortifications. Based on the eucalyptus trees, Israel knew exactly where the Syrian fortifications were.
In June 1967, two years after his death, the intelligence Eli Cohen provided enabled Israel the ability to capture the Golan Heights in two days as part of Israel’s victory in the Six Days War.
Eli Cohen was the greatest Mossad agent Israel has ever known. He was greatly admired by all, including the Syrians. His deeds fed and are still feeding the imagination and fantasy of many. He is a hero who sacrificed his life for the sake of Israel, his fellow Jews, his children, and his family.
Until this day, the Syrian government still has not returned his remains to his family for a proper Jewish burial in Israel, where ‘Kaddish’ can be said at his gravesite.