(1912 - 2003)
Isser Harel started out in 1930 as a young Russian
immigrant to Israel on a kibbutz.
He later founded his own orange company. He will be best remembered,
however, as the first director of the Mossad.
By the 1940s Harel joined the Haganah and the British auxiliary forces to fight the Nazis.
He headed the intelligence branch of the Haganah in 1942. It was Harel
who sank the Irgun ship
the Altalena, upon orders
given by David Ben-Gurion.
Harel quickly climbed the ranks of the Israeli elite,
ultimately becoming the first head of the Shin
Bet, Israel's internal security service. He was the Mossad director
from 1952-1963, where he directed both the Shin
Bet and the Mossad.
He is credited with developing a close relationship
with the CIA and, together the United States, Israel collected information
about the Soviet Union. He also created the Trident Network in which
Israel, Iran, and Turkey collected intelligence about the Egyptian government.
Harel was known for his dedication to defending Israel
and protecting democracy within the Jewish state. During his tenure
as the Mossad chief, he led two famous operations. The first was the capture in 1960 of Adolf
Eichmann, one of the Nazi architects of the Final Solution. The
other involved Yosseleh Schumacher, the grandson of an ultra-Orthodox
Brooklynite, who, in 1959, was prevented from kidnaping his son and
enrolling him in a religious school.
In 1962, Harel learned that the Germans were assisting
the Egyptians in developing missile technology. According to Reuven
Merhav, former long-time member of the intelligence community, the technology
was far inferior to Israel's and not a threat to her security; nevertheless,
Harel believed it necessary to intimidate Germany. This angered Ben-Gurion.
As a result of irreconcilable differences with the
Prime Minister, Harel resigned from the Mossad in 1963.
After his career in intelligence, Harel was primarily
a writer. His best known book, The House on Garibaldi Street (1975), recounts the capture of Eichmann.
He died in Israel on February 19, 2003.
Educational; David B.Green, The
Jerusalem Report. "He Set the Standards: Isser Harel 1912-2003,"
(March 24, 2003); The