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“The Impossible Spy”, a Film About Eli Cohen  

“The Impossible Spy”, a Film About Eli Cohen

From the moment I saw the film, I have been choked up with tears. The film is about a man named “Menashe” aka “Fighter 88”. On May 18, 1965, he was hanged in Marja Square, Martyrs’ Square in Damascus. Six steps led to the gallows. He cried out, “Hear O Israel,” before being hanged.

Here is some more information about the man: Thanks to the information he gathered about the Syrians’ deployment on the Golan Heights, Israel saved much manpower and effort in its victory against the Syrian military in the Six Day War. His Syrian name was Kamal Amin Thabit. He underwent strenuous training in order to accomplish his mission in Syria alone. He went from being an accountant to being Israel's number one spy. He learned to dismantle and assemble locks with a nail file, copy keys with chewing gum, use invisible ink, and make a small bomb from chemicals that you can get at any pharmacy. He memorized prayers from the Koran, learned about Syria, worked on his accent, and grew a mustache. The information Cohen passed to Israel was significant.

His Israeli identity was important to him. He used to listen to football games broadcast on Israeli radio every Saturday from his home is Damascus. One time, when his team lost, he sent a telegram from Damascus to Israel stating, “We have to play better”.

This was our man in Damascus, a man who was part of the Syrian military establishment and who knew firsthand about the fortifications in the Golan and their location. During his years of operation, he was the eyes and ears of the State of Israel in the home front and heart of Syria.
Here is link to the full-length film about the life of Eli Cohen:


In September 1964, Eli arrived in Israel on furlough. His daughters were waiting for him at home: Sophie and Irit and of course his wife Nadia, who was in an advanced stage of pregnancy with their son, Shai. His furlough was extended so that he could be present for the birth of his son and spend a few days with him. At the end of 1964, Eli Cohen returned to Damascus, and on January 26, 1965, a telegram arrived in Israel from Syrian intelligence, announcing that they had apprehended and detained Eli.

Before Eli Cohen was hanged, the Chief Rabbi of Syrian Jewry, Rabbi Nissim Indibo Cohen, prayed a final prayer with him. At 3:00 AM, the Syrians brought Eli Cohen to the square and hung him from the gallows. The public was brought in to see how “justice” is done in Syria.

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