The establishment of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad ("institute"), first, as the Central Institute for Coordination on 13 December 1949, and then, as the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations on 1 April 1951 came a few years after the Second World War, which claimed the lives of millions of Jews and amid a series of Israeli-Arab wars in the Middle East.
Mossad's Early Ops Were Matter of Survival for Israel
"This organisation was founded shortly after the Holocaust in order to prevent another genocide of Jews", says Avigdor Eskin, an Israeli political commentator and publicist. "Israel was a new-born state surrounded by enemies who sought to destroy it. Therefore, the gathering of information about enemies and special operations on their territory was a matter of survival for Israel".
According to the publicist, the Holocaust – the mass genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany and its allies, referred to as the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", by Adolf Hitler – affected Israel's determination to shield its people from further persecution in the future.
"Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan kept on his table the picture of his grandfather humiliated by the Nazis", Eskin notes, recalling that after its establishment Mossad kicked off the hunt for Nazi war criminals in 1959 and continued the mission through 1991.
Yad Vashem, the world's Holocaust remembrance centre, later unveiled an extensive study on Mossad’s operations entitled "The Pursuit of Nazi War Criminals" to the public.
'Mossad Doesn't Punish Enemies But Prevents Threats'
Mossad's primary task is to collect intelligence, Eskin highlights.
"Mossad is a daring service with the most remarkable achievements", he says. "Just to remind you, it was Mossad who got the full text of Nikita Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party and obtained the Soviet MIG-21 airplane. Also, Mossad played an important part in many of the glorious operations by the IDF. Or, for example, less than two years ago Mossad agents smuggled 110,000 secret files on the Iranian nuclear programme out of Tehran. Mossad is much more than just an intelligence service for Israel".
In April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the country's secret service had broken into an Iranian archive and obtained a plethora of secret materials allegedly indicating that the Islamic Republic had sought to develop a nuclear weapon. The announcement preceded Donald Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. Iran denounced the accusations aimed at pushing the US president towards tearing the atomic accord apart.
Commenting on criticism of Mossad's hit operations, the Israeli publicist underscores that the intelligence agency "does not punish enemies, but rather acts to prevent real threats".
"One can argue that it was different in the past, but this is the case in recent decades - not punishing and not retaliating but effectively preventing", Eskin reiterates. "Some of Mossad's operations were large scale and very daring, like in the case of Iran".
Besides this, the liquidation of terrorists allegedly carried out by Mossad, is a method that is being exercised by counter-terrorist intelligence units worldwide, including American and Russian secret services, the publicist remarks.
"Therefore no terrorist can sleep quietly during the night if he is engaged in murderous plans during the day", he notes.
'Mossad Started Establishing Liaisons With Arab Leaders in Late 1950s'
One would be surprised to know that it is Mossad who played a central role in building bridges between Israel and Arab states, Eskin stresses. Since its foundation in 1948 Israel has been repeatedly subjected to attacks from its Arab neighbours with some of them maintaining an anti-Israeli embargo until the mid-1990s.
"Mossad chiefs and top officers tried to establish liaisons with Arab leaders since the late 1950s", the Israeli publicist recalls. "On the one hand, Mossad was behind the most effective anti-terrorist operations but on the other hand – the same Mossad promoted peace and cooperation. Many people talk today about very special cooperation between Israel and different Arab countries. Mossad is behind this".
Indeed, in a May 2019 interview with The Jerusalem Post former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo pointed out that Israeli and Saudi intelligence agencies have maintained behind-the-scenes relations since the early 2010s.
Previously, in November and December 2017 former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, Minister Yuval Steinitz and then-CIA director Mike Pompeo issued statements confirming contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia's agents.
"Things must be done to protect the very existence of Israel", Eskin says. "Mossad is here to secure the right of the people of Israel to sleep calmly at night".
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