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Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services Paperback – January 1, 1992

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Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services + Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service + Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel's Secret Wars: Updated & Revised
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 634 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802132863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132864
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cataloguing half a century of Israeli intelligence's triumphs, debacles and infighting, this dense work will be of most use to specialists.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This just may turn out to be the definitive work on the Jewish state's highly touted and often emulated intelligence operations. The authors have crafted a comprehensive and very readable guide to the labyrinthine history of Israel's efforts to spy on its Arab, Palestinian, European, American, and global neighbors from the 1930s to the present. Their ability to provide such encyclopedic coverage is bolstered by access to previously classified and unavailable diaries, reports, and documents. While Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman's Every Spy a Prince ( LJ 7/90) and Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy's By Way of Deception ( LJ 11/15/90) cover this same topic and are worth reading, the first suffers from a tendency to preach about Israeli ethics and the latter is a very personal accounting of spycraft without much historical coverage. Secret Wars avoids these faults and is a "must buy" for any library with any size collection in the area.
- David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 19 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject.
J. Gay
I started reading this book on a slow day at work and had it finished by the next day.
The Intelligence network of Israel have been acclaimed the best in the world.
Melvin Hunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By M. Conrad Hunter on July 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
For students of the history and evolution of intelligence and it's major players, ISRAEL'S SECRET WARS is one of the best comprehensive surveys of the subject available. Messer's. Black and Morris provide a balanced, thoughtfully researched, and well-written account of the complex world of intelligence operations.

The concluding points taken are poignant, and pithy.

o Israel has consistently been good at human intelligence, the oldest form of spycraft, which remains, despite sophisticated surveillance satellites, computer cryptanalysis and the other vast technological advances of recent years, the best way to find out what an enemy is doing, thinking and planning.

o The classic ideological spy, motivated by a belief in the system of his country's enemy, does not exist in the Middle East conflict. There are no closet Arab Zionists, no Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian or Palestinian Kim Philbys who believe that the transformation of Palestine into Israel, the dispossession and partial exile of an Arab people, is a good and positive thing.

o Ingenuity, ruthlessness and dishonesty have played their part in this history, as they have done, and continue to do, to a greater or lesser degree, in the work of all intelligence and security services everywhere.

o Israel's secret services have always gone far beyond the traditional tasks of espionage and counter-espionage. Early operational versatility - was carried over {from the British}into the years of independence.

o Obtaining weapons and advanced technologies secretly, and often illegally, and denying them to enemies remain a preoccupation.

o Using the media to disseminate stories and warnings that help Israeli operations and undermine the country's enemies has long been a speciality.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on May 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Israel was spying on its Arab neighbors before it even formally existed, and has been doing it ever since. Back when the Haganah was battling the irregular Arab insurgents in the period of the British Mandate, warning of when those insurgents were going to attack, and where, was almost required. Fortunately, various Israelis who had lived among the Arabs and spoke their language were able to infiltrate those Arab groups, or suborn members of them, and gain the needed information.
When the War of Independance was won, the Israeli intelligence network settled into three different services: the Mossad, for external intelligence, the Shin Bet, for internal security, and the Aman, for military intelligence. This book covers all three in about equal measure, with digressions for other services like the small research unit that employed Jonathan Pollard, for instance. Much of the story remains classified, and is therefore either murky or just incomplete, or even unknown and not repeated here at all.
There's a scene in the movie Gettysburg where a Confederate spy named Harrison (played by the actor Cooper Huckabee) complains to his employer, Confederate General James Longstreet (Tom Berenger). Harrison had been an actor before the war, and he doesn't like spying because if you do it well, no one knows. It's only when you screw up that you get noticed. The same thing is true in the case of this book: especially in the last chapters, the story is a chronicle of the times the organization was in the news, and a spy organization like the Mossad or Shin Bet does its best to stay out of the headlines. When they fail, it's usually because of something they did wrong, or something they tried that failed. It would have been interesting to read about some of their successes too.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Melvin Hunt on August 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a very interesting book. It gave a good background ans history of the intelligence services that serve Israel. You have to remember that Israel's very existance depends upon them having an above average intelligence machine. The Intelligence network of Israel have been acclaimed the best in the world.This book besides describing the intelligence services also tell of some of the operation that have been launched by these services. This book describes how the Israel intelligence services provided the location of all aircraft of the Arab world allowing the Israelis to destroy the aircraft of the Arab world and turn the six day war into a rout. The book also details the Israeli services gaining revenge on the terrorists who were responsible for the murder of the Israeli Olympic team during the 1972 olympics. There is also a section about the kidnapping of Adolph Eichmann(the man in charge of the Final Solution) from Argentina. Especially interesting was the bombing of the Iraqui nuclear reactor that was made possible by Israeli intelligence. This book contains some very interesting reading about the accomplishments of Israeli Intelligence. This is an outstanding book that I certainly enjoyed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Israel's Secret Wars Ian Black and Benny Morris explore the "secret" wars Israel fought against its Arab and Palestinian foes from the pre-state institutions of the Yishuv to 1990. They begin with the earliest manifestations of an intelligence service in the attempts of the Jewish Agency's Arab Department, following the Arab revolt of the 1930s, to keep files on Arab affairs. These note cards stored in a file cabinets became the cornerstone of Israel's espionage industry. With the founding of the state, Black and Morris take us through the evolution of these cards into the Mossad (the equivalent of the CIA) and the Shin Bet (roughly equivalent to the FBI) and their challenges in the Sinai Campaign of 1956, the Six Days War of 1967, occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the struggle against Palestinian terrorism in the 1970s, both in Israel and abroad, and the Intifada in the late 80s. The book is seemingly exhaustive in its use of available sources, is well written and generally non-judgmental, keeping its conclusions close to the "facts." Overall it is the kind of scholarship we have come to expect from a first class historian like Benny Morris.
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