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Every Spy A Prince: The Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community by Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman (177,000 words and 26 illustrations)

On the
New York Times Best Seller list for 12 weeks (August 12-October 28, 1990)

“This is a comprehensive history of Israel’s security establishment. The authors celebrate successes like Eichmann’s capture, but far more interestingly, they do not shy away from examining the security services’ failures... the book is riveting because Israel’s early intelligence feats still resonate in today’s world... the book makes valuable reading for anyone interested in Israel’s world-wide plans to deal with matters affecting its security.” — William Stevenson, Wall Street Journal

“The authors... obviously found enough talkative sources... to provide them with the remarkable case histories they describe here. Even though some of the Israeli operatives sound boastful, the book is not propaganda or disinformation. While it is filled with many examples of how Mossad pulled off major coups, the authors are at pains to point out that the Israelis sometimes goofed... The authors flesh out stories that once made headlines with fresh material. Not all the Israeli intelligence triumphs involved violence. The Israelis managed to outrun the C.I.A. and all of Western Europe’s spy agencies in getting their hands on a copy of Nikita S. Khrushchev’s secret speech in 1956 to a special Communist Party Congress in Moscow that exposed the horrors of the Stalin era... The story of the 1960 capture in Buenos Aires of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal, by Mossad and Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, is lovingly re-created. A high point of Israeli intelligence came in 1967, during the Six-Day War, when foreknowledge of enemy positions and abilities paved the way for a rapid victory. The astonishing rescue in 1976 by army commandos of hijacked passengers from Entebbe airport in distant Uganda gained added respect for Israel in the Western world. Against the triumphs, the authors balance these failures: Mossad’s misjudgments in Lebanon, Shin Bet’s killings of Arab terrorists in captivity, and the involvement of Israel in the disarray of Irangate. In addition, double agents were used in Britain and caught there; an American, Jonathan Pollard, was encouraged to spy and sell military secrets to Israel, and faulty intelligence resulted in ‘misleading the Government over the future of the occupied territories, just as a Palestinian uprising was beginning.’... [a] highly revealing book.” — Herbert Mitgang,
New York Times

“[An] utterly fascinating account of Israeli intelligence... presented here with all of its brilliance, foibles, successes and failures. Indeed, there is enough material for a dozen films. While often critical of Israel’s secret agents, Mr. Raviv... and Mr. Melman... do not neglect the mystique. They tell of Eli Cohen, the renowned spy who infiltrated the Syrian high command but was eventually caught and hanged in Damascus in 1965; of Wolfgang Lotz, known as ‘the champagne spy’ for his expensive tastes, who posed as an ex-Nazi horse breeder in Cairo in the early 60’s. They recount how the Mossad stole a MIG-21 from Iraq, commandeered five missile boats from Cherbourg harbor, assassinated Yasser Arafat’s top deputy in his home in Tunisia and, despite Lillehammer, eventually hunted down and killed a dozen Arab terrorists, including leaders of the Black September group, for the murders at the Munich Olympics. Here as well is the story of Mordecai Vanunu, who peddled the secrets of Israel’s closely guarded nuclear weapons installation at Dimona to Fleet Street, only to be lured to Rome by a female Mossad agent in a classic ‘honey trap,’ then kidnapped and returned to Israel, where he is behind bars... Mr. Raviv and Mr. Melman have done a remarkable job of penetrating Israel’s secret agencies... [they] break substantial new ground, providing as clear and comprehensive a look at Israeli intelligence as we are likely to get. They perpetuate the legend even while reducing it to a more realistic size — no mean feat in itself. And they tell some wonderful stories.” — David Wise,
New York Times

“At first glance, a detailed account of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and Aman would hardly seem like a candidate for the American best-seller list. But then, naming some of the names brings to mind the extraordinary exploits of Israel’s spies: Eli Cohen’s mission in Damascus, the gunboats abducted from Cherbourg, the rescue at Entebbe, the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, the foiling of Nizar Hindawi’s airline bombing, and the killing of Abu Jihad. Of course, the Israelis have had their share of embarrassments and failures too, most notably the Lavon affair in Egypt, the Vanunu caper, and the Iran/contra affair.
Every Spy a Prince has several virtues. Raviv and Melman resist the temptation of getting carried away by their subject matter; however sensational the exploits, their prose remains sober and their pace business-like. The authors do not merely document deeds but place them in an institutional and political context. Best of all, they make serious efforts to reach a balanced assessment of Israel’s spies. Reviewing a long list of successes and failures, their verdict is ultimately favorable: Israeli operatives, they write, strive to conduct themselves ‘in accordance with the goals and requirements set forth when Israel was born.’” — Daniel Pipes, Orbis

“Melman and Raviv document the evolution of Israeli Intelligence, and offer some fascinating views of its impressive performance. Their account describes its beginnings and growth, including case histories of both triumphs and bunglings, and recent exposés of cover-ups and scandals... Several... accounts of real-life spying read as grippingly as any Le Carré-style thriller. Highly recommended for serious espionage buffs.” —
Canadian Book Review Annual Online

“A history of Israel’s intelligence community needs to be, in essence, a history of Israel...
Every Spy a Prince... is chock-full of facts, dates, action and brief biographies for scores of spies, superspies, heroes and traitors... this book should be read by anybody seriously interested in the realities of today’s Israel.” — Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Los Angeles Times

“Everything you wanted to know about Israel’s spies and secret services — but were afraid to discover. This comprehensive history and analysis of the Israeli intelligence community offers many original insights into the secret psyche of the Jewish State... The book presents new information on some of Israel’s greatest intelligence coups and failures.” —

“Basing their work on interviews with former operatives and on declassified documents, CBS news correspondent Raviv and Israeli journalist Melman here produced a revealing critical history of the rise and decline of Israel’s vaunted security and intelligence arm.“ —
Publishers Weekly

“[A] detailed history of Israel’s intelligence agencies.“ — Steven Luxenberg,
Washington Post

“This book is must reading for citizens of countries to which Israel is hostile, and cautionary reading for citizens of any countries for which Israel professes friendship.” — Russell Warren Howe,
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Every Spy a Prince is by far the best book ever published on Israel’s intelligence community, filled with new and fascinating information, skillfully and intelligently written and, above all, bold and judicious in its assessments of the triumphs and failures of one of the most remarkable espionage organizations in the world.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“A highly readable, well-organized portrait of the main Israeli intelligence services .. . .
Every Spy a Prince is a valuable, balanced addition to the mushrooming literature about the world’s second oldest profession.” — Newsday