March 25, 2013, - 3:13 pm

Ben Zygier: Mossad Agent Who Committed Suicide Gave Hezbos Top Secret Info, ID’d Agents – Traitor or Out of His League?

By Debbie Schlussel

Recently, I told you about Ben Zygier, the Mossad agent from Australia, who committed suicide in an Israeli prison. The mainstream media–egged on by the anti-Israel Australian press–implied that the Israelis murdered Zygier in prison and made it look like a suicide. But now that we know more of the story–if a report in Der Speigel is to be believed, it seems like a great tragedy. I’m not sure, though, as I read the mainstream media reports, if Zygier is Israel’s biggest traitor or just a man totally out of his league for a Mossad agent job, who screwed up while trying to serve his country. I vote the latter, and that’s why I apologize to the family of Zygier for accusing him of betraying the Mossad and Israel. Am I right?


Many media reports are painting him that way–as a mole in and a traitor to the Mossad. Which do you think it is? Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida identified Zygier as one of the Mossad hit team members who allegedly killed HAMAS/Iran arms dealing terrorist Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai, and claimed that Zygier tried to get asylum in Dubai, in exchange for exposing the whole operation. The report claimed that Zygier was kidnapped by the Mossad before he was able to follow through. Do you believe that story? I don’t, even if Zygier was on the Dubai hit team (which could be true).

Ynet (Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yediot Ahronot) has a very in-depth piece on Zygier, and the story is that Zygier was an ambitious agent who didn’t produce the goods and was fed up in working for front companies trying to investigate European companies doing biz with Iran and Syria, a job that many Mossad agents do. Apparently, Zygier left the Mossad and came back, trying to earn back respect from his Mossad superiors, and it was supposedly his last chance to do so. But he made some dangerous, careless mistakes that cost lives and badly harmed the Mossad because, without the approval of his superiors, Zygier gave classified information to a Hezbollah operative he was trying to turn. He gave the names of Israeli agents working within Hezbollah and other information, in order to “prove” to the operative that he was really a Mossad agent. The Hezbo never had any intention of turning and working for Israel. Instead, he was using the entire episode to gain Israeli intelligence information.


Zygier — who was raised in Melbourne but moved to Israel about a decade before his death — was ordered back to Israel in 2007 because his bosses were unhappy with his work. In 2008 he took a leave of absence, Spiegel said, and returned to Melbourne to finish his studies after trying to recruit new agents for Israel in a bid to restore his standing with his bosses. In the process he came in contact with Hezbollah supporters, Spiegel said, and while trying to convince them to work for Mossad, disastrously spilled highly sensitive information.

This included the names of Lebanese nationals Ziad al-Homsi and Mustafa Ali Awadeh, who were arrested in May 2009 on charges of spying for Israel and later sentenced to several years of hard labour. . . . Israeli security authorities had told Zygier after his arrest that they wanted to make an example of him and demanded a prison sentence of at least 10 years.

Looks like Zygier was out of his league and got played. Should he have served 10 years in an Israeli prison for that? I don’t know. I’m sure in America, when a spy screws up, nothing happens to them. Heck, FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who committed espionage for the Russians, was still granted his government pension.

What do you think of the story? Was Ben Zygier a traitor or was he an Israeli patriot who was sadly also a careless, easily-duped cowboy?

Either way, it is a tragedy, and I feel for his family who will probably be having a less than happy Seder as we Jews celebrate Passover tonight.

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58 Responses

I agree with Debbie. Plus everyone has a breaking point. Who knows what exactly went on.

samurai on March 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I don’t give a damn for a traitor.

I’d soon as shoot him before he took more lives.

If anything, Israel was too kind to the likes of Prisoner “X”.

NormanF on March 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I do not know a whole lot other than what you wrote Debbie. In my opinion, I believe the guy just could not live knowing he screwed up and especially where two spies were killed. Some people do not know how to deal with failure and figure that suicide is their only way to deal with it. If I read what the MSM wrote on this guy, I would hesitantly say he was a traitor but then, knowing how the MSM hates Israel and especially the Mossad, why bring this to the forefront? Not until I read your piece that I finally assume that this guy was not cut out to deal with cutthroats and he could not handle the pressure. Which brings me to my other question; How did this guy just be allowed to go back in and deal with sensitive cases like this? I would think the Mossad would have better screening methods but maybe this guy slipped through the cracks. Just hope this is a very important lesson for Israeli intelligence and hopefully no repeats like this occur in the future.

Mario Gutierrez on March 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Just based on that pic of him, I’d guess that he was a traitor and double-agent.

DS_ROCKS! on March 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    DS_R, based on your comment, I would guess you are an Archie Bunker conservative.

    Visteo on March 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Hmmm, I’d have to do more research into this case but going on the 2 columns you have done on the issue, I would agree with you.

Also, these sentences…

“The Hezbo never had any intention of turning and working for Israel. Instead, he was using the entire episode to gain Israeli intelligence information.”

I’m not in the Mossad but even I would not expect a Hezbo to turn. Seems very foolish and naive to me. He didn’t know the bottom line.

Skunky on March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

The guy is creepy looking. Ive known a couple people that looked similar to him, and they were slimy little rats, too.

RT on March 25, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Ziad al-Homsi,(Muslim Sunni), the ex municipality mayor of Sa’adnayel in the Beqaa valley in Lebanon, worked with different Palestinians and Lebanese terror groups. Fought against the I.D.F in different areas of Lebanon. Was in charge of 60 terrorists in 1982 trying to stop the advancing of the I.D.F. in the area of Bayader Aladdas where three Israeli soldiers were killed and their bodies were never recovered. In 2006 while visiting China, he was approached by some personnel which already knew everything about him and was asked of the fate of the three missing soldiers. Upon his return to Lebanon after being convinced that the personnel he met were Israeli agents, he decided to become a Lebanese national hero in his view and approached a Huzbollah member of the Lebanese parliament with his encounter who assured him that he would relay the info to a security official in the terror group. After waiting for a couple of months with no response, he met with a Lebanese intelligent officer where they agreed for him to carry on with his mission and fed him some information to give to some personnel he was supposed to meet in Thailand.

During all his meetings with the Israeli agents who supplied him with some data and a radio to keep in touch, the Lebanese intelligent agency and the Huzbollah security liaison officer in that agency were aware of his movements and intentions.

Upon his last meeting with the personnel in Thailand, he was provided with data about the location of the three I.D.F. missing bodies and his job was to confirm such location when he arrives back in Lebanon.

Back in Lebanon he requested legal protection from his handler so he become the national hero in his mind after exposing such matter, instead he was arrested after a short while with being a traitor working for the enemies which in this case is Israel.

He was found guilty and sentenced for 15 years by a Lebanese military tribunal which after about three years, the same tribunal headed by another judge acquitted him and in some ways became a hero in the eyes of many.

Why he was imprisoned and then freed? It is the Sunni/Shia Islamic agenda or at the same time the 8th/14th of March political agenda in Lebanon.

As for Mustafa Ali Awadeh, that is a different story for another time.

A Mossad agent is trained to do what others can’t do, to expect the unexpected, to handle his or her informants in the most secured ways.

Zygier didn’t handle the situation right. He missed many steps and signs.

Ambition could be fateful if you are not cautious.

Daniel. on March 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm

He looks like Larry Bird’s kid….

IceNoMore on March 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

It’s important that the public be informed of his crimes. Allowing speculation to persist has no benefit.

Visteo on March 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

We hope passover was good Debbie.
As I said in my very first comment on your site. “A mistake”.As it was claimed that he was going to reveal the workings of Mossad in relation to the liquidation of a hamas person in another country under the cover of another countries passport. I never believed any person ,so deeply involved in the protection of Israel could be so evil.
Some years ago I read the excellent book on the lives of the Secret and previously unknown boss of the NKVD ,then KGB in the former soviet union. Most interesting was the description of how operatives could be turned and how easy it was. It seems as though hamas was playing him like the proverbial fish ,while his employer knew what he was doing .I would guess the latter was an attempt to find genuine hamas agents in their midst and it went wrong with Ben taking his own life .

This Business of spying requires a lot of very hard work and it takes a person of great intellectual ability to work a person in the”the field” as they never work alone. Ben,it would appear, tried to work alone and was a victim of his own feelings of patriotism. May we remember him as a true person.

Aron B on March 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I wonder if he was even in the Mossad to begin with. Seems to me they would have simply killed him and then blamed his death on the Arabs in Dubai.

Sta tus MoNkey y on March 27, 2013 at 8:23 am

Sounds like the tragic death of a young man and a waste of a precious life.

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