Mossad


Mossad
(Hamossad Lemodiin Vetafkidim Meyuhadim)
   The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, otherwise known as Mossad, was appointed by the state of Israel to collect information, analyze intelligence, and perform special covert operations beyond its borders. It operates according to the Biblical precept, "Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14).
   David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, voiced his views on the establishment of intelligence agencies to operate on behalf of the nascent state. On 7 June 1948, he held his first meeting on this matter with intelligence officials. On 13 December 1949, Ben-Gurion appointed foreign ministry special operations' adviser and former Jewish Agency state department official Reuven Shiloah to establish and head the "Institute for Collating and Co-ordinating Intelligence Operations." This date is considered the date the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations was established.
   On 2 March 1951, as a result of the experience gained in running state intelligence agencies, particularly in overseas' operations, Ben-Gurion ordered Shiloah to set up the "directorate" within the Institute for Coordination to take all overseas intelligence operations under its wing. The foreign ministry and, to a lesser extent, other agencies had hitherto operated abroad. Shiloah served as Mossad director until 1963. He and Ben-Gurion shaped the Mossad to address the reality and the needs of the state of Israel in its early years.
   Over the years, the Mossad expanded into many fields, the most prominent of which were covert intelligence gathering beyond Israel's borders; developing and maintaining special diplomatic and other covert relations; preventing the development and procurement of nonconventional weapons by hostile countries; preventing terrorist acts against Israeli targets abroad; bringing Jews home from countries where official aliya agencies are not allowed to operate; producing strategic, political, and operational intelligence; and planning and carrying out special operations beyond Israel's borders.
   The directorate was the initial incarnation of the main collection unit in the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. In 1952, Shiloah retired, and General Security Agency chief Isser Harel was appointed in his stead. More recently, Mossad chiefs have included Shabtai Shavit, Danny Yatom, and Ephraim Halevy. Although shaken by a series of highly publicized operational failures (such as the botched attempted assassination of senior Hamas operative Khaled Mashaal in Amman, Jordan, in 1997) and personnel changes, the Mossad remains an important component of Israel's intelligence and security community.
   Meir Dagan was appointed director of the Mossad by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in August 2002, replacing outgoing director Halevy. He was reconfirmed until the end of 2008 by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in February 2007.
   See also Eichmann, Adolf (1906-62).

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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