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The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel in the Yom Kippur War

The Bloody Valley of Tears Battle, Yom Kippur War (Photo: wikicommons/IDF)

So many of the Advocates and Allies we bring you are those who heroes during the Holocaust. However, history gives us other such heroes, who have proven themselves to be friends of the Jewish people during other eras. This week, Uri Bar-Joseph writes in The Daily Beast of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian who spied for Israel in the early 1970s, alerting the Jewish state to an impending attack by Egypt and Syria during the Yom Kippur War:

Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of the late Egyptian leader Gamel Abdel Nasser and aide-de-camp of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, had secretly provided intelligence to the Mossad since 1970. For some time now, he had been warning the Israelis that Sadat wasn’t bluffing about a massive coordinated attack. But after too many leaks of Sadat’s previous plans, Sadat had kept the precise day and time of the attack almost entirely to himself. Understanding that war was close, Marwan, who was traveling in Paris on Thursday, October 4, signaled to his handler in the Mossad, whom we know only as “Dubi,” demanding an urgent meeting in London with the chief of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir. Zamir took the first flight to London the next morning.

Marwan made his way to London as well. There he learned from a friend who worked for EgyptAir that the airline had received orders to reroute their civilian aircraft to safer locations—orders that were then abruptly rescinded. This was all Marwan needed to hear. From his hotel room he made a few calls to colleagues in Egypt, and by noon on Friday he was certain that the attack plans had finally been set in motion.

The secure arrangement of a meeting with the Mossad chief and Dubi, however, would take some time. The hours ticked away on Friday, October 5, into the night of Yom Kippur...

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