Middle East

Israel's Mossad spy agency on the hunt for women agents

'Its not what you've done, it's who you are - the Mossad is recruiting case officers with special character traits', a message on Mossad's English-language website says Image copyright Mossad
Image caption A message on Mossad's English-language website

Israel's shadowy international spy agency, Mossad, is seeking to bolster its ranks with more women, launching its first recruitment drive specifically targeting females.

"Powerful women needed," ads published in national newspapers say alongside the face of a woman obscured in shadow.

Mossad already has a staff that is 40% female, with 24% of them in key senior roles, local media report.

Women have been praised as better secret agents by a former Mossad chief.

Tamir Pardo said in 2012 that female agents "have a distinct advantage in secret warfare because of their ability to multitask" and they "suppress their ego in order to attain goals," according to the Jerusalem Post.

"Contrary to stereotypes, you see that women's abilities are superior to men in terms of understanding the territory, reading situations, spatial awareness. When they're good, they're very good," the then-agency chief said.

The Mossad website tells would-be female recruits: "It's not what you've done, it's who you are."

Have you got what it takes to be a spy?


The Mossad ('The Institute')

  • The international arm of Israel's intelligence service was founded in 1949
  • It is one of the most feared and fabled secret intelligence services in the world. The agency has both been lauded for daring operations and accused of cold-blooded murder
  • It first proved its ambition and global reach with the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960 in Argentina
  • "They are looking for honest crooks. They take people like me - I'm not a crook, I'm a very obedient citizen of the country of Israel - and then they teach you how to steal, and they teach you, sometimes, to kill, and they teach you to do things which normal people don't do, actually criminals do," Gad Shimron, a former Mossad agent, told the BBC in 2010

Listen to BBC Radio 4 documentary 'The Mossad' (2010)


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