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The BBC's Jon Leyne
"Spying is no longer the attractive career option it once was"
 real 28k

Sunday, 30 July, 2000, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Mossad advertises for spies
Swiss policemen spirit the agent into court
A Mossad agent faced trial in Switzerland earlier this month
Israel's secret service is shedding its veil of secrecy by launching a public drive for recruits for the first time.

Advertisements to be placed in newspapers will say recruits should be aged 25-35 and be tempted by a "thrilling" career.

Press advert
The advert will appear in the Israeli press on Monday

Applicants are invited to send in a resume to join "an elite unit which demands both exceptional skills and exceptional motivation".

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak approved the campaign, in the face of reported difficulties in attracting newcomers.

"We have more need of secret agents than ever, because of the dangers that continue to threaten us," former Mossad head Yitzhak Hofi told Israel public radio.

"But we face relentless competition from the world of hi-tech, which offers very attractive salaries and career structures."


Mossad is opening up. Not to everyone, not to many, but perhaps to you

Advert
Another former Mossad head, Shabtai Shavit, said the peace process had changed the priorities of young Israelis, "who now find material success more attractive than joining the security services".

Other top intelligence agencies such as the United States' CIA and Britain's MI5 have already started such recruitment campaigns.

Setbacks

For years Mossad enjoyed a reputation as one of the world's elite intelligence agencies, but has suffered some public embarrassments recently.

One agent was arrested after a bungled wire-tapping operation in Switzerland in 1998, and was given a one-year suspended sentence earlier this month.

That arrest - together with a failed assassination attempt on a Hamas leader in Jordan - forced the resignation of the agency's then chief, Danny Yatom.

Morale in the once legendary intelligence service was reported to be at rock-bottom at that point.

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07 Jul 00 | Europe
Mossad spy found guilty
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