Sunday, December 04, 2005

The truth about 'our man in Damascus'

The amazing story of 'our man in Damascus' - the Israeli spy Eli Cohen hanged 40 years ago - told by his fellow spy and brother Maurice.

"Eli has been dead for 40 years now, and though I did not kill him, I am fully aware that my failure to disclose what I knew may have sealed his fate. Like Eli, I was a member of Israeli Intelligence, a Mossad agent, now retired. It was the intersection of our lives in that agency that led to my personal hell. I will tell you this story, but let me start closer to the beginning.

"In 1914, our father, Shaul, then 12, and his parents left their home in Aleppo, Syria and immigrated to Alexandria, Egypt. Thousands of Jews fled Aleppo that year, and our mother, Sophie, seven at the time, was among them as well. Egypt was the land where our parents met and where Eli and I were born- he in 1924 and I three years later. We were the second and the third of eight children, seven of whom who survived to adulthood.

"As Jews, we were double outcasts. Egyptian Muslims were growing increasingly hostile towards Jews, and the British who ruled Egypt until 1954, did nothing to temper the discrimination. From our earliest childhood, we knew that we were interlopers in Egypt and longed to create a place where we could truly belong."

Read article in full

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