Spies of No Country: Israel's Secret Agents at the Birth of the Mossad

Spies of No Country: Israel's Secret Agents at the Birth of the Mossad

by Matti Friedman
Spies of No Country: Israel's Secret Agents at the Birth of the Mossad

Spies of No Country: Israel's Secret Agents at the Birth of the Mossad

by Matti Friedman



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“Wondrous . . . Compelling . . . Piercing.” —The New York Times Book Review

Award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s tale of Israel’s first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff—but it’s all true.

The four spies were young, Jewish, and born in Arab countries. In 1948, at the outbreak of war in Palestine, they went undercover in Beirut, spending two years running sabotage operations and sending crucial intelligence back home. It was dangerous work. Of the dozen members of their ragtag unit, five would be caught and executed—but the remainder would emerge as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency. 

Journalist and award-winning author Matti Friedman’s masterfully told and meticulously researched tale of Israel’s first spies reads like an espionage novel—but it’s all true. Spies of No Country is about the slippery identities of these spies, but it’s also about the complicated identity of Israel, a country that presents itself as Western but in fact has more citizens with Middle Eastern roots, just like the spies of this fascinating narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616209414
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: eBook
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,023,289
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Matti Friedman’s 2016 book Pumpkinflowers was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book and as one of Amazon’s 10 Best Books of the Year. It was selected as one of the year’s best by Booklist, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. His first book, The Aleppo Codex, won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize, the ALA’s Sophie Brody Medal, and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for history. A former AssociatedPress correspondent, Friedman has reported from Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, the Caucasus, and Washington, DC, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. Friedman grew up in Toronto and now lives with his family in Jerusalem.  

Table of Contents

The Spies xv

Preface xvii

Part I Haifa

1 The Scout 3

2 At Camp 18

3 The Garage 25

4 The Watcher (1) 33

5 Tiger 38

6 Isaac 42

7 Operation Starling 65

8 Cedar 72

9 The Watcher (2) 82

Part II Beirut

10 Kim 93

11 Exceptional Opportunities 100

12 The Fall of Israel 107

13 The Three Moons Kiosk 118

14 Casino Méditerranée 127

15 Hitler's Yacht 135

16 The Saboteur 148

17 The Gallows 153

18 The Jewish State 162

19 Georgette 178

20 The Redhead 193

21 Home 207

Epilogue 215

Notes on Sources 221

Acknowledgments 244

Questions for Discussion 246

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