The daughter of Eli Cohen, the famed Israeli spy executed by the Syrians, is trying to arrange the release of 11 pro-Syrian Druse and Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails in exchange for the return of her father’s body.
The London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that Sophie Cohen visited the prisoners and their families in the Golan. She also met with Israeli officials in order to persuade them to go along with her idea.
Enemies meet, agree
One of the prisoners, who is serving his sentence in Gilboa Prison, authorized the story’s release and told reporters that he and his fellow inmates were surprised by Sophie Cohen’s visit.
“At the beginning of the meeting, she told us of her feelings as a daughter who never knew her father,” the prisoner said. “She said that she deserves a grave to visit. We understood from her that she had only learned of Syrian prisoners held in Israeli jails a few months ago.”
Sophie Cohen also asked the prisoners and their families to set up a committee that would work on a plan to gain the release of the 11 in exchange for the body of Eli Cohen. She also suggested demonstrations and a letter-writing campaign to effectuate the plan.
According to the prisoner, he, his fellow inmates and their families all see eye to eye with Cohen on the plan “but the issue demands the approval of senior officials in Damascus.”
Not the first time
This is not the first attempt to bring the bones of Eli Cohen back to Israel. Over the years, the Cohen Family, particularly Eli’s widow Nadia and his brother Morris, has tried but failed to get a Syrian response to its various proposals.
The last attempt involved Nadia appealing directly to Syrian president Basher al-Assad in a videotaped message.