IsraelDefense’s Best of the Year: The Mossad

As the Jewish year comes to a close, the IsraelDefense staff picks the most influential or noteworthy people or entities in the defense realm this year. Amir Rapaport chose the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. Special project

Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen (PR photo: Tamir Bargig)

Last year, the year 5778 according to the Jewish calendar, positioned the Mossad (the Institute for Intelligence & Special Operations) as an untiring generator of daring operations. Naturally, the highlight of this year was the operation in which Mossad operatives delivered the Iranian nuclear documents to Israel. That was by no means everything, however: the lion's share of Mossad operations around the globe remains untold, for now. To a considerable extent, the Mossad of the year 5778 is the image of its chief, Yossi Cohen, a field operations man through and through. Cohen flourished during the days of Meir Dagan as Head of the Mossad, and Dagan appointed Cohen to the position of division head. Operationally, Cohen does everything just like Dagan, with one difference: the late Dagan had taken over a relatively small organization, which he subsequently expanded, turning it into the spearhead of the effort against the Iranian nuclear program.

Cohen no longer needs to expand the organization, which is not so small anymore. He also avoids structural changes, in view of the numerous changes his predecessor, Tamir Pardo, had introduced. The only change Cohen introduced has to do with the manner in which the Mossad conducts its operations – quite naturally. Additionally, Cohen called for a dramatic reduction of the time it takes to complete staff work efforts. His message: less talk, more action.

Like Dagan before him, Cohen regards the Iranian nuclear threat as the primary issue the Mossad faces. Among other things, the Mossad operates in every possible way to obtain information that would "incriminate" the Iranians by proving that they are pressing on with their quest for nuclear weapons. Diplomacy is the extension of the fight against the Iranian nuclear program through other means. Israel shares the intelligence information with the USA and other friendly countries. Accordingly, the revocation of the JCPOA by President Trump is yet another accomplishment of the Mossad.

Naturally, the Mossad is not an organization of diplomats. World media attributed to the organization the assassinations of nuclear experts and terrorists, with targets ranging from Iranian nationals to members of Hamas and locations ranging from Asia through Syria to Europe. Israel has never assumed responsibility for targeted killings, so one can never know.

On the eve of the New Jewish Year, the IDF reported that it had executed 200 attacks against Iranian objectives in Syria. As far as intelligence is concerned, the Mossad was involved in those operations, too.

So what next? The year 5779 will be another year of intensive operations by the Mossad.

Also in the project:

Ami Rojkes Dombe’s pick: Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Dan Arkin’s pick: Elbit Systems

Brig. Gen. (res.) Ephraim Lapid’s pick: Col. Roi Levi

Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel’s pick: The Students of the Pre-Military Prep Schools

Brig. Gen. (res.) Hannan Gefen’s pick: The Analysts of the IDF Intelligence Directorate & IAF

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