This week, a Golani combat soldier, Amos Sinai, received the Israeli President’s Outstanding Soldier Award. His ultra-orthodox father, Avraham, stood right next to him. Amos’s given name was originally Abbas and his father, who was a Muslim Shi’ite, was named Ibrahim. The father served in Hezbollah and was activated as a spy for Israel by a young agent handler of the 504 Unit named Yoav “Poli” Mordechai, who is currently the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories in the IDF. When the agent’s life was in danger, he and his son were smuggled into Israel.
Amos and Avraham Sinai with their family Channel 2 News
Avraham Sinai is a proud father. This week, his son Amos received the President’s Outstanding Soldier Award. The Golani 51st Battalion soldier received an honor reserved for the few and the finest. As he rehearsed for the award ceremony on Mount Herzl, his father excitedly walked around the city he calls home: Tzfat.
Clues about this story and its hero can be found in the compact streets of the city. If it were written as a movie script, it would probably get turned down for being too unbelievable. You would most likely believe it to be science fiction. So, how would you explain the fact that Abraham Sinai was born in Lebanon as a Muslim Shi’ite named Ibrahim Yassin? Well, let’s find out.
Ibrahim Yassin was born in a Lebanese Shi’ite village, experiencing the horrors of the Lebanese Civil War firsthand. Much like many of Lebanon’s oppressed Shi’ite, he was forced to deal with foreign occupiers: The Syrian military. But worst of all, in his eyes, were the Palestinians. “The Palestinians tied our daughter onto two cars and each one drove in a different direction,” he tells. “And she’s screaming, and the cars begin to stretch her. I saw this in front of my eyes in my home’s backyard.”
Then, the IDF entered Lebanon. For many including Ibrahim, the IDF was initially received as a liberating force. His first encounter with the Israeli military is one he will never forget, as it ignited his love for Israel. “My wife was giving birth and there was nobody to help,” he says. “There’s no car in the village, no health clinic, and no midwife. An IDF patrol passes on the road. We put all sorts of symbols on the roof, such as maps of Lebanon. Contrary to procedures, the forces entered the village placing their own lives at risk.” The forces called a helicopter into the village and brought Ibrahim’s wife to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Ibrahim Yassin changed his name to Abraham Sinai Channel 2 News
Ibrahim then began cooperating with Israel by passing over intelligence. But his actions did not go unnoticed, as Hezbollah grew suspicious of him and his family. He was kidnapped and taken to an underground bunker, where he was interrogated and tortured for months. His interrogator at the time was a young member in the terror organization, who later on became one of Hezbollah’s largest murderers: Imad Fayez Mughniyeh. After two months of interrogations, the terror organization brought Ibrahim’s family to Lebanon from Israel. His infant son was burned in front of his eyes.
After months of interrogation, Hezbollah was convinced that Ibrahim was innocent. He was released and decided to take revenge on the organization responsible for ruining his life, and he became a mole. He joined Hezbollah, took advantage of his rank and began passing information over to Israel, all while in the depths of the murderous terror organization. He was hailed as a phenomenal agent: For more than ten years he passed along golden information about Hezbollah onto the IDF. From time to time he would emerge at Israel’s border to meet with his agent handler and would return to his position in Lebanon.
The President’s Outstanding Soldier, Amos Sinai Channel 2 News
In 1997, Israel decided that life in Lebanon was too dangerous for Ibrahim. He, his wife, and his five children were all smuggled into Israel, and Ibrahim became Abraham. Today, he is not willing to even think about the possibility of returning to Lebanon. “It’s hell there and it’s heaven here,” he says. “Why would I miss hell?”
After witnessing countless deaths and experiencing calamities on a near biblical scale, Abraham built a new life. This week, he not only celebrated Israel’s independence, but also his own. He looks at his son and can say with pride: I won.