Soviet Espionage in Israel, 1973–1991

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In June 1967, the Soviet Union abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Israel and withdrew its embassy staff from Tel-Aviv, including its large KGB Rezidentura. To develop new sources of intelligence in Israel, the KGB recruited under duress hundreds of Russian Jews to spy in Israel in return for allowing their families to leave the Soviet Union. Most of these ‘recruits’ abandoned their task once they reached Israel, leaving Soviet intelligence with only a small number of agents in Israel who were handled by KGB illegal case officers working out of Russian churches. These agents were able to make careers in Israel and obtain some access to confidential military information, but generally failed to reach Israel's inner circle of political and military decision makers. This inner circle was only breached in 1983 by the treachery of a highly placed former Mossad officer who offered his services to the Soviets and became the KGB's best source for secret information deep inside the Israeli government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-507
Number of pages22
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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