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Mossad agents lighten the veil

Inside the Mossad: Imperfect Spies
Regissør: Duki Dror

The documentary Inside the Mossad reveals former Mossad agents' spy stories from the inside – some of them even about recent events. 

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

Spies and secret agents may seem to lead adventurous and totally unusual lives, but in at least one respect, they are just like the others: They have a deep desire to talk about their accomplishments and share some kind of common understanding. This is at least one of my conclusions after looking Inside the Mossad: Imperfect Spies, Duki Dror's fascinating but disturbing film about Israel's intelligence organization Mossad – responsible for secret operations in other countries, including killings.

Mossad first came under international scrutiny in 1960 when a group led by politician and former intelligence officer Rafi Eitan succeeded in kidnapping Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of Nazi Germany's Holocaust, which cost six million Jews. Eitan assured that Eichmann was brought back to Israel and brought to trial. 

This bold feat was significant not only because of the success of the operation itself, but also because few asked critical questions about its moral justification, since Eichmann was given the chance to defend himself in a courtroom. But in the years that followed, Mossad carried out many operations in which terrorists and persons deemed to pose a deadly threat to the country have simply been killed. In the film, Eitan portrays one such incident in which an Israeli army officer discovered while selling military secrets to a hostile Arab country was kidnapped in Europe. His body was then released from a plane over the Mediterranean.

Mossad agent stories

91-year-old Eitan and another retired Mossad leader, two-year-old Zvi Zamir, seem to be delighted at the opportunity to tell if everything they had committed to remain silent for so many years. Perhaps it was disappointing to both of them that the rivals got so much attention in a 2012 film that has received a lot of honorable mention: The Gatekeepers. In the film, former leaders of Israel's internal security service, known as Shin Bet (think FBI versus Mossad's CIA), talk openly about their successes and mistakes. Also in Imperfect Spies It seems that filmmaker Duku Dror has sharply assumed that aging veterans like Eitan and Zamir would have little to hide and occasionally they would like to vent.

In fact, it was Mossad that prompted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to refrain from military action against Iran.

Zamir is particularly eager to clean up allegations that he failed to warn the country's government of Egypt and Syria's attack plans against Israel in 1973. He unequivocally claims that the government hanged a convincing intelligence report detailing the attack well in advance of the war. a fact. According to Zamir, the report was ignored. The surprise attack took the army to bed and caused over 5000 Israelis to die.

Many of the ten to twelve former Mossad agents in the film seem to dismiss with a shrug that some of their activities were justified on dubious moral grounds. Particularly outrageous is the story of a Mossad agent who recruited a Bedouin shepherd in Lebanon as a double agent. The shepherd warned his Mossad contact that a Lebanese terrorist group was planning to cross the border to carry out an attack inside Israel. But when the terrorists forced him to join the attack, the Mossad agent did not take the necessary precautions to save the shepherd's life.

Pieces in the game

A dramatic episode that brings to mind John le Carré's famous novel The spy who came in from the cold, is told by Tamar – a female Mossad agent who worked with a male colleague in Egypt under the guise of being a wealthy French couple. As Carré predicts in her novel, working so closely together under intense pressure for a long time often leads to a romantic relationship. But when the couple returns to Israel, their leader insists that the relationship end, despite Tamar's protests. Another Mossad agent says that in the world they live in, humans are often just pieces of the game.

Despite the unattractive image the film presents of Mossad's activities, several of the agents – rather convincingly – suggest that the alternative to some of the extrajudicial executions would be nothing less than a war that would have cost far more people. And contrary to the view that security experts trained in the use of violence may be prone to use this skill, they often recommend restraint rather than action, as stated in The Gatekeepers.

Imperfect Spies is a striking twist to John le Carré's novel The perfect spy. 

This is also the case in an event that is portrayed in Imperfect Spies. Indeed, it was the Mossad people who made Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refrain from going to military action against Iran.

A Mossad official says in the movie that his concern that Netanyahu would command an attack on Iran's nuclear plant led him to a meeting with a US CIA colleague. Here he encouraged the CIA to support President Obama's initiative to reach a nuclear weapons agreement with Iran. The signing of the agreement prevented – at least temporarily – the possibility of Israeli military activity.

A rotten profession

The title of the movie, Imperfect Spies – a striking twist to le Carré's novel The perfect spy – says about the existence of the practitioners of this unusual and rather rotten profession. In general – and in Israel in particular. The film's moral dilemmas mean that even the most staunch advocates of Israel's right to defend itself against its many surrounding enemies will notice that Imperfect Spies is a bitter pill to swallow.

Since Israel cannot rely on other nations to defend its existence, the country is likely to continue to use Mossad as a key player in its defense arsenal. And now that the lid seems to have been removed and insider stories are coming out – some even about recent events – we can wait to see more productions in the same genre. But not necessarily just from Israel. 

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