Eli Cohen

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Eli Cohen

Eli Cohen (in Hebrew אלי כהן) (Alexandria, Egypt, December 26, 1924 – Damascus, Syria, May 18, 1965) was a famous Israeli spy.

Eli_Cohen’s Biography

Monument in his honor on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem.

Eli Cohen was recognized as one of the most successful spies of modern times. Born in Egypt, Cohen contributed to pro-Syrian activities in Egypt in the 1950s, but the most important part of his career began when he was recruited by Israeli military intelligence in 1960. He was given a false identity as a Syrian Arab who returned to Syria after living in Argentina. To establish his alibi, Cohen went to Argentina in 1961 and the following year he moved to Damascus. During the following years, using the nickname of Kamel Amin Tsa’abet (commonly pronounced as Sa’bet or Tha’bet), Cohen successfully won the trust of several Syrian military and government officials, and sent intelligence messages to Israel for radio, secret letters and, occasionally, visiting Israel in person. His most famous achievement was his trip to the Syrian fortifications of the Golan Heights. In 1964 its control was transferred to the Mossad as part of the reorganization carried out in the Israeli intelligence systems. In January 1965 he was caught in the act by Soviet experts sending radio messages and for this fact he was convicted of espionage. Despite international efforts for Syria to change the death sentence, including that of Pope Paul VI, it was posted publicly in a Damascus square. To this day, Syria refuses to return the remains of Eli Cohen to his family for a burial in Israel.

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