A ceremony honoring the Mossad intelligence agency's best officers took place Thursday evening at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.
President Shimon Peres gave citations of excellence to 12 of the espionage agency's finest, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Mossad Head Tamir Pardo in attendance.
The officers honored received the citations for standing at the forefront of the effort to thwart the unconventional weapons threat, the war on terror and the prevention of other therats against Israel.
Peres noted with satisfaction that four of the 12 employees receiving the honor are women. “I am filled with pride to see you, warriors who are also mothers to children, who defend not only their children but their countrymen.”
"You are a wonderful organization whose people are courageous and full of wisdom, who have no motive within them except to risk their own lives for the sake of their country. I salute the Mossad, its fighters and especially the 12 excellent ones.”
Netanyahu told the Mossad audience: “The citizens of Israel do not know what you are doing, but I know what great things you are doing for the security of the state. When I approve your operations, I am awed by your daring. Your imagination knows no bounds. There are four excellent female agents today. What Gal Gadot will do in a film as Wonderwoman, you do in real life. I have heard the stories of the 12 excellent agents, and I want to tell you that although your names are not known, thanks to you the Mossad's name and reputation precede it. Thank you, in the name of the citizens of the state of Israel.”
Pardo told his employees: “The strength of the Mossad is in its people, who serve in it with resourcefulness, persistence, creative thought outside the box, alongside modesty and honesty, with which campaigns can be won – even those that appear impossible and unreasonable.”
Not much can be told about the 12 recipients of the citations, except to say that they include young agents and seasoned ones, who spearhead the organization's operations, intelligence gathering and analysis. They include an intelligence gathering officer who has already received an award from the president for his groundbreaking thinking, his outstanding performance and special abilities, thanks to which the Mossad was able to realize its goals in safeguarding Israel's security interests.
Another agent who received the citation comes from the technological field. He became a central figure in the organozation after recognizing a certain technology's potential and turning it into an operational system that yields intelligence. His friends say that although many hi-tech firms are interested in hiring him, he has chosen to remain in the Mossad, where he can serve the country and make the most of his unique abilities.
Two daring female operational agents were also honored for their work in threatening arenas, where they risked their lives while displaying daring and level-headedness. One of the two left a promising career to work against Israel's most bitter foes. Her supervisors said that she used her rational and logical thinking skills to solve complex problems in a creative way. The second is a “courageous warrior” who “pushed the operational envelope.” Both are mothers and also manage to maintain “model families.”