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Graphic depicts the seal of Mossad the Israeli intelligence agencyHa-Mōśād le-Mōdī`īn ū-le-Tafqīdīm Meyūhadīm; (Hebrew: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים, "The Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks") is an Israeli intelligence agency, commonly referred to as Mossad. It is responsible for intelligence collection, counter-terrorism, and covert action, including paramilitary activities. The Institute is a component of Israel Secret Intelligence Service and is separate from Military Intelligence Aman and the General Security Service Shabak.

Famous Mossad Successes
Famous Mossad Failures

Mossad is one of the world's best-known and most highly regarded intelligence agencies.

Mossad was formed in December 1949 as the "Central Institute for Coordination", at the recommendation of Reuven Shiloah to Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. Shiloah wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services — the army's intelligence department (AMAN), the General Security Service (GSS or "Shabak") and the foreign office's "political department". In March 1951, it was reorganized and made a part of the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the prime minister. Its current staff is estimated at approximately 1,200.

Mossad is a civilian service, and does not use military ranks, although most of its staff have served in the Israeli Defense Force as part of Israel's compulsory draft system, and many of them are officers.

Mossad's original motto: be-tahbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milkhamāh (Hebrew: בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה, "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety." - Proverbs XXIV, 6 or the more recognised translation "By way of deception thou shalt make war") was changed recently as part of the Mossad's public 'coming out' to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tahbūlōt yīpōl `ām; ū-teshū`āh be-rōv yo'éts (Hebrew: באין תחבולות יפול עם, ותשועה ברוב יועץ, "Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." - Proverbs XI, 14)

Its many successes in serving Israel's security interests have earned Mossad a reputation for being extremely effective as an intelligence agency. Controversy exists over cases where it has employed the tactics of kidnapping and assassination. It has also been at the forefront of several publicly embarrassing failures.

In the past several decades it is widely known that the Indian Research and Analysis Wing ("RAW") and Israeli Mossad have cultivated a deep friendship and fruitful bond of collaboration against Islamist terrorism in the region.


Mossad is headquartered in Tel Aviv and has eight departments:

Collections Department is the largest, with responsibility for espionage operations.

Political Action and Liaison Department conducts political activities and liaison with friendly foreign intelligence services and with nations with which Israel does not have normal diplomatic relations.

Special Operations Division (Metsada) conducts assassination, sabotage, and paramilitary projects.

LAP (Lohamah Psichlogit) Department is responsible for psychological warfare, propaganda and deception operations.

Research Department is responsible for intelligence synthesis.

Technology Department is responsible for development of technologies to support Mossad operations.

Famous Mossad Successes

Audio surveillance of Nikita Khrushchev's Secret Speech. The recording was later turned over to the CIA.

Location and abduction of Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann

• Assisting in Operation Moses, the immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

• Assisting in the defection and rescuing the family of Munir Redfa, an Iraqi pilot who defected and flew his MiG 21 to Israel.

• Assassination of those responsible for the Munich massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games.

• Abduction of Mordechai Vanunu in Italy 1986

• Providing highly sensitive information about Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor, destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in 1981.

• Providing intelligence for Israeli military operations, thousands of miles away from Israel, for instance, for Operation Entebbe.

• Providing intelligence for the assassination of Abu Jihad by Israeli commandos (unverified but widely believed)

The assassination of Gerald Bull (unverified but widely believed)

Famous Mossad Failures

In 1954, as part of Operation Suzannah, a post office in Alexandria, Egypt was firebombed and U.S. Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo and a British-owned theater were bombed by Mossad operatives. The aim of this false flag operation was to influence the British into cancelling or delaying their withdrawal from the Suez Canal.

In 1973, Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Arab waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, was killed. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September, the Palestinian group responsible for the Munich Massacre, who had been given shelter in Norway. The Mossad agents had used fake Canadian passports, which angered the Canadian government.

In 1981, fake British passports were discovered in a grocery bag in London, leading to a diplomatic row with Israel over Mossad involvement in an attempt to infiltrate China.

In 1997, two Mossad agents were caught in Jordan, which had signed a peace treaty with Israel, on a mission to assassinate Sheikh Khaled Mashal, a leader of Hamas, by injecting him with poison. Again, they were using fake Canadian passports. This led to a diplomatic row with Canada and Jordan, and Israel was forced to provide the poison antidote and release around 70 Palestinian prisoners, in particular the Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin — who played a prominent role in encouraging attacks on Israeli civilians (and soldiers) during the Al-Aqsa intifada — in exchange for the Mossad agents, who would otherwise have faced the death penalty for attempted murder. In March of 2004, seven years after he was released, Yassin was killed in an Israeli helicopter airstrike.

In July 2004, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident in which two Israelis, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, who were allegedly working for Mossad, attempted to obtain New Zealand passports fraudulently.  Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom later apologized to New Zealand for their actions. New Zealand cancelled several other passports believed to have been obtained by Israeli agents.. Both Kelman and Cara served half of their six month sentences and upon release were deported to Israel. Two others, an Israeli, Ze'ev Barkan, and a New Zealander, David Reznick, are believed to have been the third and fourth men involved in the passport affair but managed to leave New Zealand before being traced.

See RAW- Research Analysis Wing