Photo: Guy Esel
Shulamit Cohen-Kishik
Photo: Guy Esel

Israeli national hero and undercover spy laid to rest

Shulamit Cohen-Kishik was an Israeli Mossad spy code named 'The Pearl' who operated undercover in Lebanon for 14 years. She passed away Sunday at the age of 100 and laid to rest in Givat Shaul, survived by dozens of grandchildren.

Shulamit (Shula) Cohen-Kishik, who was an Israeli spy working as an undercover agent in Lebanon, has passed away at the age of 100.



Cohen, who was laid to rest on Sunday, is survived by her seven children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Cohen's story could have easily served as an inspiration for a Hollywood movie.


Shulamit Cohen-Kishik (Photo: Guy Esel)
Shulamit Cohen-Kishik (Photo: Guy Esel)


Born in 1917 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was raised by Zionist parents who immigrated to Israel when she was but a child, before the State of Israel was established.


At the young age of 16, she married Joseph Kishik, a wealthy Jewish-Lebanese businessman from Beirut, who took her back with him to Lebanon. By the time she was 24, Cohen had given birth to five children.


Cohen quickly became a prominent and active member of her community, and even managed to establish ties with senior Lebanese officials.


At the eve of the 1948 War of Independence, Cohen felt an obligation to help the budding country and—believing she could make a difference—managed with great effort to contact Israeli intelligence sources, becoming a Mossad secret agent code named "The Pearl."


Cohen with her family (Photo: Guy Esel)
Cohen with her family (Photo: Guy Esel)


Cohen spent the next 14 years helping to bring persecuted Jews from Arab countries to Israel and gathering intelligence about Lebanese military activities. She was caught smuggling in 1952, and imprisoned for 36 days.


In 1961, Cohen was finally caught and arrested for espionage. She was brutally tortured during the months of her trial, and upon her conviction she was sentenced to death by hanging. Upon appeal, however, the sentence was dialed back to 20 years’ hard labor.


In 1967, Cohen was released in a secret prisoner exchange after the Six Day War. She then immigrated with her family to Jerusalem, where she spent the rest of her life.


In 2007, Cohen was chosen to light the torch for the Independence Day ceremony. "I never worked for a prize or for glory. I did what I did because I wanted to, because I loved the country and I wanted to help its establishment," she said at the ceremony.


Laid to rest
Laid to rest


Cohen passed away early Sunday morning in Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Mount Scopus, surrounded by loved ones. Her son, Itzhak Levanon—an Israeli diplomat who served as Israel's ambassador to Egypt from 2009 to 2011—said "my mother was sharp until her last moments, unbelievably so. She was a hero. I think the best word to describe her by was 'brave.' You just don't see her kind anymore these days; one of selfless giving, utter sacrifice, absolute love and uncompromising patriotism."


(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)


פרסום ראשון: 05.22.17, 09:47
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