The Volunteer

The Volunteer

A Canadian's Secret Life in Mossad

Book - 2007
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The riveting story of a Canadian who serves as a senior officer in Israel's legendary Mossad. In 1982 a young Michael Ross joins the legion of Canadian twenty-somethings backpacking in Europe. Through happenstance, he winds up working on a Kibbutz in Israel, where he falls in love with the land and its ancient, multi-layered history. He immerses himself in Israeli culture, converts to Judaism, and adopts his new country's struggle for survival as his own, joining the Israel Defence Force and eventually Mossad's most elite and storied covert-operations unit, Caesaria. For seven-and-a-half years, Ross worked as an undercover agent -- a classic spy. In The Volunteer, he describes his role in missions to foil attempts by Syria, Libya, and Iran to acquire advanced weapons technology. He tells of his part in the capture of three senior al Qaeda operatives who masterminded the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; a joint Mossad-FBI operation that uncovered a senior Hezbollah terrorist based in the United States; and a mission to South Africa in which he intercepted Iranian agents seeking to expand their country's military arsenal; and two-and-a-half years as Mossad's Counterterrorism Liaison Officer to the CIA and FBI. Many of the operations Ross describes have never before been revealed to the public. My first face-to-face encounter with the entity the world now knows as al Qaeda began on Friday, August 7, 1998, the day the group detonated truck bombs outside U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 291 innocents, including 12 U.S. citizens, and injuring over 4,500 African bystanders.On August 7, I was at home in Israel, enjoying a rare day off, but soon after the blasts, my pager went off. It was an urgent request to call the Mossad's 24/7 communications center. I checked in by phone, then raced to HQ in my tiny Renault, running up the two flights of stairs to the counterterrorism department. There, I found Etti, an analyst in the World Jihad branch (known informally as the department of awful Ahmeds ) and a few others studying the cable traffic from our liaison station in Nairobi. I noticed Etti had a cigarette going -- despite the no-smoking policy at HQ, it was the sort of thing a tough old hand like Etti could get away with under these circumstances. She greeted me with her usual flurry of casual obscenities, and handed me a stack of reports that brought me up to speed. -- From The Volunteer
Publisher: Toronto : M&S, c2007
ISBN: 9780771017407
Branch Call Number: 921 ROS (Dayson Collection)
Characteristics: xiii, 278 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Kay, Jonathan 1968-
Dayson Collection


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Jun 19, 2014

This is an enjoyable read of an insider's experience in the Mossad, from recruit and trainee, to field agent, to internal planner and operations coordinator, to combinations of national and foreign cultures, which has been praised by a well known ex-spy writer, an American describing the CIA.

I found the traces of Canadian expressions and ways of explaining things refreshing - they facilitate the telling.

If you have wondered about any aspect of the Mossad, how spies reconcile (or fail to) loyalties among families, employers, nations, personal religion, etc., this is for you.

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