”You are part of us,” Nadia Cohen told Mendi Safadi.  “You are part of our heart.  You are part of our blood.”  

According to a recent report, Nadia Cohen, the widow of the legendary late Israeli spy Elie Cohen, is endorsing Mendi Safadi as a Likud candidate for the Knesset.   In a statement she made, Nadia stated that Safadi was very helpful towards her: “Mendi is very connected to this.  He looked for the missing soldier to see if there is a piece of information about him, whether he is alive and whether there is information that can be found on him.  He looked for information about Eli Cohen’s burial place and he is constantly working on this.  This information was passed onto the government, so that they would know how to deal with it.”

Nadia Cohen emphasized that she is very appreciative of Safadi’s efforts to discover the fate of her late husband for it is not simple and engaging in such work is very dangerous.  She told Safadi: “You are part of us.  You are part of our heart.  You are part of our blood.  This is important.  At this opportunity, there will be a new government and I very much hope that you will be part of it.”  In response, Safadi told her: “I will continue to do all that I can and I hope that we will succeed to bring his bones back to Israel.”

According to the report, Safadi brought a video clip to Israel that no one knew existed for 51 years.  The video clip documented the execution of Eli Cohen.  The rare video clip shows Eli Cohen on the gallows and documents his body being taken down from the gallows into a coffin.  The video displays his coffin being taken away for burial.   “I cannot reveal the names of the people who helped us with this issue for obvious reasons but for 5 years we worked hard on this in order to get more details and more information on our missing people,” Safadi declared in a TV interview on the issue.

Some analysts have argued that there is a strong possibility for Israel to utilize the Syrian Civil War as an opportunity in order to obtain more information about what happened to Eli Cohen’s body including where he is buried, so that his body can be brought back to Israel.  Indeed, Safadi noted that the rare video was obtained via the Syrian Opposition, who obtained it either from the archives of Syria’s Television or from the government.

Cohen in the 1960’s traveled to Argentina, where he managed to infiltrate inside of the Syrian diplomatic community.   From there, he went to Syria, where he managed to infiltrate inside of the Ba’ath Party and to obtain information that was critical for Israel’s security.  He passed the intelligence onto Israel.  His intelligence information was very useful to Israel during the Six Days War.   However, he was caught and never made it back to Israel.  He was executed publicly in 1965, as anti-Semitic mobs celebrated his death in Damascus.

Syria so far has refused to return his bones to Israel, although there has been talk that Syria may do so in the future.  Nadia had written a passionate letter to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, hoping that she will obtain his sympathy so that she can have mental peace in her old age.   She has also appealed to locals in Syria to tell Israel where her late husband is buried so that his bones can be brought back to Israel.  Although she so far has not managed to get her late husband’s bones back, her appeals did lead to progress on the issue.

Last summer, the Mossad managed to recover his wristwatch from local Syrians who sold it to them.  In an interview with Yedioth Achronot, Cohen’s daughter Sofi Ben-Dor stated: “There was great excitement for it was the only item of dad that came back.  We have nothing else besides that.”  Elie Cohen is survived by three children, six grandchildren and an elderly wife in her eighties.


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Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara's former chief of staff. In addition, she is a counter-terror analyst at the Islamic Theology on Counter-Terrorism, a think tank run by British Pakistani dissident Noor Dahri. For over 6 years, she is a Middle East based journalist, covering radical Islam, terrorism, human rights abuses in the Muslim world, minority rights abuses in the Muslim world, women's rights issues in the Muslim world, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish Diaspora, anti-Semitism, international affairs and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground breaking book that was endorsed by former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara.