Mossad Women Upset over Choice of Honoree

Dozens of women who served in the Mossad unite against honor Sima Shine with lighting of beacon on Independence Day.

Gil Ronen ,

Miriam Peretz lighting a beacon (file)
Miriam Peretz lighting a beacon (file)
Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

Dozens of women who served in the Mossad have united in opposition to the decision to award ex-Mossad employee Sima Shine with the honor of lighting a beacon in the main Independence Day ceremony at Har Herzl.

Shine is the deputy director of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and is in charge of the Iran desk. She previously served as the Deputy Head of the National Security Council and Head of Research in the Intelligence Division of the Mossad.

The women – sixty in number, according to some reports – wrote an angry letter to Culture Minister Limor Livnat, in which they disputed that Shine is “the woman who served in the most senior position in Israel's espionage establishment” and was “a trailblazer.”

They claim that this is “a false representation and a deception of the public,” and that Shine does not meet the criteria set by the public committee that selected the beacon lighters. They claim that other women have held more senior roles than Shine, including Aliza Magen, who was Deputy Head of the Mossad.

The women point out that Shine was nominated for the honor by her current boss, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, and are adamant that if Mossad had been asked to select a female trailblazer, she would never have been chosen.

"She is not remembered by anyone as someone who reached unusual achievements,” they wrote.

Another point raised against Shine is that her positions were all desk jobs, whereas Mossad's real "stars," be they male or female, are agents who risk their lives in the field.

Steinitz replied, saying that Shine was the first woman to be appointed as Head of Research Division in the Mossad. “Regrettably, no [other] woman was ever appointed to this position, to this day, in Mossad or Military Intelligence.”

The women behind the letter added that they expect Shine to forego the honor of lighting the beacon, but sources close to her said she would go ahead with participation in the the ceremony as planned. Sources siding with Shine noted that former Mossad Head Meir Dagan appointed her to head the Research Division. They also asked why the women who signed the letter are not divulging their names, seeing as they no longer serve in the Mossad.