Mossad trained Mandela in Ethiopia – Israeli state archive

2013-12-23 15:47

Israeli Mossad agents operating in Ethiopia in 1962 unwittingly trained Nelson Mandela in hand-to-hand combat, weaponry and sabotage, according to a document released by Israel’s state archives.

A letter from a Mossad official to the foreign ministry, dated October 11, 1962 titled “THE BLACK PIMPERNEL” and released to the public yesterday, recalls a conversation in which “we discussed a trainee in Ethiopia named David Mobasari, from Rhodesia”.

“The aforementioned was trained by the Ethiopians in judo, sabotage and weapons,” the letter read.

“The Black Pimpernel” was the nickname given at the time to former president Mandela, who died this month, while he was on the run from white South Africa during the liberation struggle.

According to Haaretz newspaper, which first reported the story, the term “Ethiopians” was probably a code name for Israeli Mossad agents working in Ethiopia.

“He greeted our men with (Hebrew salutation) ‘Shalom’, was familiar with the problems of (Jewish diaspora) and Israel and created the impression of an educated man,” the letter read.

“The Ethiopians tried to make him a Zionist.”

“It now emerges from photographs in newspapers on the arrest of the Black Pimpernel in South Africa that the trainee from Rhodesia was using a pseudonym, and the two are actually the same person,” the letter read.

According to the letter, Mandela took an interest in the methods of the Haganah and Jewish militias that existed before Israel’s creation in 1948.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, however, said in a statement that “it has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive (which includes his 1962 diary and notebook) that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year”.

Mandela “received military training from Algerian freedom fighters in Morocco and from the Ethiopian Riot Battalion at Kolfe outside Addis Ababa, before returning to South Africa in July 1962,” the foundation said.

“In 2009 the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s senior researcher travelled to Ethiopia and interviewed the surviving men who assisted in Mandela’s training – no evidence emerged of an Israeli connection,” it added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was chastised at home for not going to Mandela’s funeral because of “high costs”, with a parliamentary delegation attending instead.

Israel was one of South Africa’s closest allies when Pretoria, which had imprisoned Mandela, was facing UN-led sanctions in the late 1970s.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.