Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

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BENDMAN, YONAH.Up to the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur
War, Lieutenant Colonel Bendman served as head of Branch 6in
the Research Division of Military Intelligence(MI), responsible for
Egypt, Sudan, and North Africa. Bendman was considered an expe-
rienced analyst, having served previously as head of the military sec-
tion in Branch 6. His reputation had developed following his rejec-
tion in April and May 1973 of early warnings that the Egyptian army
maneuvers then planned would develop into war; his analysis on that
occasion proved correct. Bendman based his assessments on the
Concept, according to which Egypt was not ready for war. In the 24
hours before the Yom Kippur War was launched, he still clung to the
Concept and was reluctant to accept the recommendation of his col-
leagues in MI to write on the daily information summary sheet that
the probability of war was high. Instead, on his own initiative, he
wrote that there was a low probabilityof war. In 1974 the Agranat
Commissionrecommended that Bendman should not continue to
work on intelligence assessments. In fact, he had already been moved
from Branch 6 on 8 October 1973, in the early days of the war. He re-
tired from the Israel Defense Forces in 1974.

BEN-ELISSAR, ELIYAHU (1932–2000).The Polish-born Ben-Elissar
was a member of the Israeli intelligence community. He had studied
at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained a doctorate in the University of
Geneva. Ben-Elissar spoke fluent French and could pass easily as a
Frenchman or a Belgian. In 1958 he was stationed in Paris and served
as case officer for the Mossadin Europe. He retired from the Mossad
in 1965. Ben-Elissar was appointed as the first Israeli ambassador to
Egypt on 5 January 1980 after Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt was
concluded in 1979. Subsequently, Eliyahu Ben-Elishar was a member
of the Knesset for many years and chaired its Defense and Foreign Af-
fairs Committee. He returned to diplomatic service as Israel’s ambas-
sador to the United States (1996–1998) and France (1998–2000). Ben-
Elissar was found dead, from natural causes, in a hotel room in Paris
in September 2000.

BEN-GAL, YOSEF.A former Mossadagent, Ben-Gal was involved in
the Damocles Operation. He was arrested on 15 March 1963 by the
Swiss police for threatening Heide Görke, the daughter of one of the


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