Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

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The State of Israel was established only in 1948, but in its 57 years of
existence its intelligence community has won the image of a “super-
man.” Most espionage movies somehow contrive to mention the Israeli
Mossad, which has probably become the most ubiquitous Hebrew word
everywhere after shalom. Countless books have been written on the Is-
raeli intelligence community, especially the Mossad.
Much of the literature about the Mossad may be considered pure fic-
tion, but the fact is that many observers regard Israel’s intelligence com-
munity as among the most professional and effective in the world and as
a leading reason for Israel’s success in its conflicts with the Arab states.
Its missions encompass not only the main task of ascertaining the plans
and strengths of the Arab military forces opposing Israel but also the
work of combating Arab terrorism in Israel and abroad against Israeli
and Jewish targets, collecting sensitive technical data, and conducting
political liaison and propaganda operations.
The Israeli intelligence community is comprised of four separate
components, each with distinct objectives. The Mossadis responsible
for intelligence gathering and operations in foreign countries. The Is-
raeli Security Agencycontrols internal security and, after 1967, intelli-
gence within the occupied territories. Military Intelligenceis responsi-
ble for collecting military, geographic, and economic intelligence,
particularly in the Arab world and along Israel’s borders. The Center for
Political Researchin the Foreign Ministry prepares analysis for gov-
ernment policy makers based on raw intelligence as well as on longer
analytical papers.
The Mossad, and likewise elite units of the Israel Defense Forces,
have achieved many notable successes. Most of them remain secret and
unknown. The known ones are still impressive and are covered in the
dictionary. They include the capture of the high-ranking Nazi Adolf

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