- Eli Cohen

Eli Cohen was the Egyptian-born son of Aleppan Jews, who worked as a spy for Israeli intelligence, the Mossad. One of his connections was Amin Al-Hafiz, a high-ranking official in Syria’s Ba’ath party, who soon returned to Syria to become president and took Cohen with him. In Damascus, President Hafiz began to groom his friend to become the next defense minister, giving him access to military secrets. For the next two years Cohen sent this valuable information to Israel.

In January 1965, one of Cohen’s radio transmissions is intercepted. He is arrested and taken to prison. On May 8, 1965, Eli Cohen is sentenced to death for espionage. His execution is broadcast on television and a crowd of 10,000 Syrians gather to cheer. His body was left to hang for six days.

“My father’s sister was the mother of Eli Cohen. I didn’t realize that we were that close to such a world famous and very powerful person. Eli Cohen was an extremely good-looking man, very versatile in languages. And he was recruited by the Mossad because he was fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, French, and Spanish. And they trained him to become a spy to infiltrate the Syrian government. They arranged to send him to South America as a cover a Syrian businessman. Ultimately, he attracted the attention of other Syrian leaders there and he infiltrated the very, very highest levels.” – Ronald Tawil, Episode 6

(Image courtesy of the National Photo Collection, Israel.)

  • Biblical Times
  • 950 BCE
  • 630s
  • 929
  • 1375
  • 1400s
  • 1492
  • 1527
  • 1565 c.
  • 1665
  • 1732
  • 1760 c.
  • 1840
  • 1869
  • 1892
  • 1909
  • 1911-1912
  • 1918
  • 1930s
  • 1935
  • 1944
  • 1945
  • 1946
  • 1947
  • 1948
  • 1949
  • 1950
  • 1951
  • 1956
  • 1956
  • 1957
  • 1958
  • 1964
  • 1965
  • 1967
  • 1972
  • 1974
  • 1975
  • 1975
  • 1980s
  • 1988
  • 1992
  • 1994