Report: Zygier was not alone in Mossad recruitment
Two other Australian-Israelis, Paul Y. and David Z., were working for Mossad at the same time as Ben Zygier, 'Der Spiegel' reports.
Zygier's gravestone Photo: REUTERS/Brandon Malone
Ben Zygier was not the only Australian recruited by Mossad, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday.
The report stated that two other Australian native Jews, "Paul Y." and "David Z.," were working with Zygier out of a Milan base, which specialized in the sale of satellite communications technology, and a front for the Israel foreign intelligence service Mossad.
According to Der Spiegel, Australian Jews are particularly attractive to the Mossad because of a quirk in the law: Australians are allowed to change their first and last names once a year, a simple way to adopt a new identity.
In Zygier's youth, he reportedly became involved with the "Community Security Group" in Melbourne, a kind of Jewish community defense team. According to Der Spiegel, groups like this one are often linked to Mossad, and this was probably close to the time of Zygier's recruitment, as well as "Paul Y." and "David Z."
Zygier emigrated to Israel after he completed his education, and Paul Y., and David Z., allegedly did as well, all holding Israeli and Australian citizenship. This lead to their recruitment by Mossad, said Der Spiegel.
Meanwhile, the three men applied for new names and Australian passports. Der Spiegel also said Ben Zygier became Benjamin Burrows or Benjamin Allen, and Y. and Z. changed their names too.
According to the report, in 2009 their repeated name changes sparked the interest of Australian authorities and when Zygier handed them his old passports, it was filled with Iranian entry visas. Reportedly, Paul Y. had a passport containing visas from from Syria, Iran, Egypt and Dubai, while David Z. had spent time in Iran. In 2004, David Z. allegedly sought help from the Australian consulate in Tehran.
According to Der Spiegel, Paul Y. and David Z. are reported to be still living in Israel. Possibly under new names.