Mossad recovers watch of Israeli national hero Eli Cohen from Syria

The Mossad made the “unequivocal determination” that the retrieved watch indeed belonged to Eli Cohen, whose intelligence gathering contributed to Israel’s stunning Six Day War victory.

By: World Israel News Staff

In a special operation, the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, returned the wristwatch of late Mossad fighter Eli Cohen to the Jewish state recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s media adviser announced in a press release Thursday.

During the annual Mossad memorial ceremony for Eli Cohen several weeks ago, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen presented to Cohen’s family the wristwatch that he wore during his mission in Syria, the adviser said.

The watch is currently on display at Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv as a memorial to the legendary fighter. It will be transferred to the custody of the family on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which falls in September.

Eli Cohen was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on December 26, 1924, “His parents, Syrian Jews from the thriving town of Aleppo, had always instilled in their educationally minded son the traditions of the Jewish people, of Zionism, and of the culture of Syria’s Jewish community in particular. In 1949 his parents and three brothers moved to Israel while Eli remained in Egypt to coordinate Jewish and Zionist activities there,” according to Jewish Virtual Library.

Famous for his espionage work in Syria from 1961 to 1965, the master spy succeeded in developing close relationships with that country’s political and military hierarchy to the point that he became chief adviser to the minister of defense.

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Eli Cohen was sentenced to death and hung publicly in 1965 after his true identity was discovered by the Syrians.

The intelligence he gathered, however, is believed to have contributed to Israel’s stunning victory during the 1967 Six Day War.

Following his execution on May 18, 1965, the wristwatch was held by an enemy state, Netanyahu’s spokesman said in a statement. After it was returned to Israel, special research and intelligence operations were carried out, culminating in the “unequivocal determination that this was indeed Eli Cohen’s watch.”

Mossad: We do not forget Eli Cohen

“I commend the fighters of the Mossad for the determined and courageous operation, the sole objective of which was to return to Israel a memento from a great fighter who greatly contributed to the security of the state,” Netanyahu stated.

“We remember Eli Cohen and do not forget. His heritage, of dedication, determination, courage and love of the homeland is our heritage,” the Mossad director affirmed.

“We remember and have maintained a close connection over the years with his family, [wife] Nadia and the children….

“The watch was part of Eli Cohen’s operational image and part of his fabricated Arab identity,” he said.