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Israelis You Should Know: Shulamit Cohen-Kishik

Shulamit Cohen-Kishik (Photo: Guy Esel)

Surrounded by enemies who seek her ultimate destruction, Israel has been forced to produce heroes throughout her existence. This past weekend, the Jewish state sadly lost one of these heroes. Ynet News' Itamar Eichner writes about Shulamit Cohen-Kishik, the 100-year-old grandmother who once spent 14 years undercover for the Mossad in Lebanon, code-named "The Pearl":

Shulamit (Shula) Cohen-Kishik, who was an Israeli spy working as an undercover agent in Lebanon, has passed away at the age of 100.

Cohen, who was laid to rest on Sunday, is survived by her seven children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Cohen's story could have easily served as an inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

Born in 1917 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was raised by Zionist parents who immigrated to Israel when she was but a child, before the State of Israel was established.

At the young age of 16, she married Joseph Kishik, a wealthy Jewish-Lebanese businessman from Beirut, who took her back with him to Lebanon. By the time she was 24, Cohen had given birth to five children.

Cohen quickly became a prominent and active member of her community, and even managed to establish ties with senior Lebanese officials.

At the eve of the 1948 War of Independence, Cohen felt an obligation to help the budding country and—believing she could make a difference—managed with great effort to contact Israeli intelligence sources, becoming a Mossad secret agent code named "The Pearl."

Cohen spent the next 14 years helping to bring persecuted Jews from Arab countries to Israel and gathering intelligence about Lebanese military activities. She was caught smuggling in 1952, and imprisoned for 36 days...

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