The video was published today on mainstream media and Eli Cohen’s relatives watched the moments he was hung in front of a crowd in a public square in Damascus.
“There were tears and nerves as we watched, how they lowered him down from the rope into the coffin, to see three cars circling around and to see the crowd in the square with celebratory music blaring, it’s not easy,” Cohen said.
“These days it isn’t easy regardless but when these kinds of things come up, it haunts our minds and our souls,” Cohen added.
“I hadn’t seen the movie, only pictures,” Cohen emphasized, “the children saw it today and obviously the sadness echoed in our souls. I just hope someone reveals where Eli is buried so we can bring him. That there is one patriot who will reveal where the body is, so we can have peace.”
“If it’s the prime Minister or if it’s the head of the Mossad, they should fight to bring Eli home,” she said, “we need a man who will bring Eli home to restore our peace. Even in death there is honesty,” she said emphasizing that there is no graveside for her to mourn on.
In a rare video, Israeli spy Eli Cohen is seen after his hanging and while his body is being taken down from the gallows.
The video contains footage shot by official Syrian television. The footage was captured by Syrian rebels during the civil war and given over to Israeli hands.
Cohen joined Israeli intelligence in May 1960. He signed up with Unit 188 of the Military Intelligence Directorate, which later became part of the Mossad. The unit then became known as the vaunted "Caesarea" unit, the "special operations" unit.
In his work for Caesarea, Cohen masqueraded as an Arab in order to facilitate Jews from Egypt making Aliyah to Israel. He himself had only moved to Israel when he was 33, three years before he was drafted into intelligence.
In 1961, Cohen was already married and a father to one daughter. He was sent to Argentina, where he assumed the identity of a Syrian exile working as a merchant. Cohen built connections with senior Syrian officials over the next few years and gathered valuable information for Israel.
On the 18th of January, 1965, Eli Cohen was captured. Three Syrian intelligence officers, led by Colonel Suweidani, head of Syrian intelligence, broke into his apartment. Cohen was hanged in Marjeh Square in Damascus, leaving a wife and three children in Israel.
"I ask of you," he wrote to his wife Nadia, "don't mourn for the past, but rather look to the future."