Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence

(coco) #1
early warning in the IDF history section. He retired from active ser-
vice in 1985.

BEN-TOV, CHERYL (1960– ).Born Cheryl Hanin in the United
States, she grew up in a Jewish family in Pennsylvania and Orlando,
Florida. She was the Mossadagent who became well known in 1986
when, under her assumed name Cindy, she persuaded Mordechai
Vanunuto go with her to Rome, where he was captured, drugged,
and transported to Israel.
Hanin had spent a semester in Israel during high school, and upon
her graduation in 1978, she immigrated to Israel and was inducted
into the Israel Defense Forces. In 1985 she married Ofer Ben-Tov, an
Israeli intelligence analyst officer in Military Intelligence. The wed-
ding was attended by many in the Israeli intelligence community,
who probably arranged Cheryl’s recruitment to the Mossad some
time before 1986. After her training, Ben-Tov became a bath levayah,
the Hebrew term used by the Mossad for a female assistant agent, a
lower rank than case officer.
Vanunu, immediately upon his release from prison in April 2004,
said that he did not believe “Cindy” was an agent of the Mossad but
of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation or Central Intelligence
Agency. According to Vanunu, he spent a week with her before he
was captured.

BEN-TSUR, MORDECHAI (MOTKE).Lieutenant Colonel Ben-
Tsur was the commander of Unit 131in the Military Intelligenceof
the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In 1951 Ben-Tsur began to set up an
espionage network in Egypt consisting of local Jews. For this pur-
pose he dispatched Major Avraham Darto Egypt posing under the
name of John Darling as a British businessman. Ben-Tsur was dis-
missed from active duty in the IDF in October 1954 following the
Bad Business.

BEN-YAIR, SHAALTIEL (1922– ).Born to Jewish settlers in Metul-
lah, on the Israel-Lebanon border, he learned Arabic fluently as a
child and went on to become one of the youngest members of the un-
derground Stern Group militia in mandatory Palestine. He was sent


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