Eli Cohen's voice heard on radio

Syrian interview with undercover spy aired 45 years after his death.

May 30, 2010 17:20
1 minute read.
Eli Cohen's voice heard on radio

eli cohen 224.88. (photo credit: )


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Eli Cohen's voice was heard Sunday on the radio, 45 years after he was executed in Damascus. The special interview, aired by Army Radio, was conducted with the Israeli spy several months before his true identity was discovered.

Cohen could be heard describing the community of Syrian expatriates in South America in snippets broadcast by the radio station. Though Cohen himself was born in Egypt, he was sent to Syria disguised as Kamel Amin Thaabet, a Syrian who decided to return to his homeland after spending many years in Argentina.

Upon his arrival to Damascus in 1962, Cohen - disguised as Thaabet - quickly rose to prominence as a tour operator and businessman, gaining the friendship and trust of many officials in the Syrian elite. Throughout the next four years, he would regularly correspond with his handlers in Israel, passing information that contributed to the IDF's victory in the Six-Day War.

In 1965, Cohen was caught in the act of transmitting information to Israel. He was tried and found guilty of espionage, and hanged publicly in May of that year.

'Syrian expatriates speak, hear Arabic'

In the interview aired Sunday, Cohen spoke in flawless Arabic of the beautiful streets of Buenos Aires and the Arabic music he enjoyed listening to with his fellow expatriates. He did not name specific places or people, but rather described in general his impressions of the land he had purportedly returned to.

"Some things about Syria are more beautiful than I thought, and others less so," he told his interviewer. Asked about the cultural identity of the expatriates, he replied, "The expatriates speak Arabic, the melodies are Arab, the music is Arabic, and we even get news from Syria."

Army Radio also interviewed Cohen's widow Nadia, who pleaded with Syria to "show goodwill" and send her late husband's remains to Israel. "He has been punished enough," she said.

The full interview will be aired by Army Radio at 7 p.m. on Sunday

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