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Museums in Israel: Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center

The Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center is devoted to shedding light on some of the more secretive chapters in Israel’s history. The Center’s mission is to honor, remember, and preserve information on members of Israel’s intelligence agencies and program as a whole. It has biographies and mission summaries of Mossad agents (the agency that operates abroad) and the Shin-Bet (the internal surveillance agency). Located in Tel Aviv and established in the mid 1980s, the Center was created in response to public pressure on the Israeli intelligence community for more overarching transparency. These demands were however met with fear and resistance by agents who are still operating and could be endangered by information from the past. A committee carefully reviews and approves any material that is released to the public. The Center includes programs, lectures, and a theatre with films on Israeli intelligence operations and publishes a newsletter.

The Center grants the “Hero of Silence” award, given to honor those civilians, both Israeli and foreign, who greatly assisted Israel's intelligence services. As of 2009, the Center had honored eight people with the award, but seven of the eight recipients' identities remain a secret. The eighth recipient, Shulamit Kishak-Cohen, was a Beirut woman who ran a smuggling network bringing Jews to Israel in the 1950s.

Some of the biographies displayed at the center are those of Shalom Pani, a forger who created passports for thousands of Moroccan Jews and the papers necessary to transport Eichmann to Israel for his trial, and Rachel Spinner, a long-time Mossad cook who cooked for Jordanian King Hussein when he secretly visited Israel. The Center also contains details on the three-year operation of Egyptian Jew Eli Cohen in Damascus and his infiltration of the Syrian government in the 1960s under the name Kamal Amin Thabit.

Sources: Jerusalem Post