Mossad’s Sparrows: Honey Trap Spies & Femme Fatale Secrets

Sexpionage, sirens, and spies are all part of espionage’s dark arts but did you know Mossad’s sparrows were once blessed by an Israeli rabbi who deemed honey-pot hijinx kosher for female secret agents?

Rabbi Ari Schvat decided honey trap stings dated back to biblical lore and were fair game today, making SPYSCAPE wonder what some of Israel’s femme fatales get up to in the name of national security.

Here are three of Mossad’s alleged stings to put things in perspective.

 

 

Mordechai Vanunu

Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov famously posed as ‘Cindy’, an American tourist from Florida, and persuaded Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu to join her on a trip to Rome. Vanunu was in London at the time, spilling secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons program in 1986 to The Sunday Times. His ‘romantic’ weekend in Italy involved being drugged, kidnapped, and smuggled onto a commando boat and waiting yacht.


Mossad’s Sparrows: Honey Trap Spies & Femme Fatale Secrets

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Sexpionage, sirens, and spies are all part of espionage’s dark arts but did you know Mossad’s sparrows were once blessed by an Israeli rabbi who deemed honey-pot hijinx kosher for female secret agents?

Rabbi Ari Schvat decided honey trap stings dated back to biblical lore and were fair game today, making SPYSCAPE wonder what some of Israel’s femme fatales get up to in the name of national security.

Here are three of Mossad’s alleged stings to put things in perspective.

 

 

Mordechai Vanunu

Mossad agent Cheryl Bentov famously posed as ‘Cindy’, an American tourist from Florida, and persuaded Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu to join her on a trip to Rome. Vanunu was in London at the time, spilling secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons program in 1986 to The Sunday Times. His ‘romantic’ weekend in Italy involved being drugged, kidnapped, and smuggled onto a commando boat and waiting yacht.


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Vanunu's ordeal ended in Israel with an 18-year prison sentence. It turns out Cindy may not have been the only honey trap, however. In 2021, Israel’s Haaretz reported that another unnamed lady was waiting in the wings. Vanunu spent a decade of his term in solitary confinement and is not allowed to leave Israel.

 

Mossad honey pot Patricia Roxborough

‘Patricia Roxborough’ & Jon Swain

South African-born Sylvia Raphael Schjødt was living on an Israeli kibbutz when she was approached by Mossad to work as an agent. She spent time in Canada developing an ‘authentic’ French-Canadian accent and approached Sunday Times journalist Jon Swain in Paris when he was 21. She was beautiful, it was 1969, and she was using the name of a real-life Canadian photojournalist Patricia Roxborough. She proposed they visit Libya for a story about Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. Swain wasn’t able to get a visa, however. Years later, he discovered that ‘Patricia’ was part of a Mossad hit team who hunted down suspects after terrorists killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. She was convicted of murder in Norway. 

 

 

Ziad Ahmad Itani

The honeytrap case of Lebanese artist and playwright Ziad Ahmad Itani is one of the more bizarre tales in recent history - if it happened at all! In 2017, Al Jazeera reported that Itani was recruited by a Mossad agent posing as a Swedish woman who blackmailed him into spying by threatening to expose a compromising sex video. Itani said he was innocent, however, and that he’d made up the story under duress when he was wrongly arrested for espionage. The charges were dropped. The story doesn’t end there, however. The actor turned his arrest experience into a play, bizarrely resulting in another complaint against him.

 
Are Mossad honey trap spies still active? It is certainly possible. An ex-Mossad officer gave an interview in 2018 saying she’d often used femininity to her advantage.

“People are always less suspicious of a woman and more interested in hitting on her,” she told ynetnews. “In operations, if I wanted to recruit someone, I was supposed to give him the feeling that he had approached me rather than that I had approached him. It’s very important, and I found it easy.” 

“Over the years, I learned how to use my naïve looks in the target countries,” she added. “Everywhere, people would ask how they could help me, as if I were a little girl. I received help especially from men in the Arab world. Something in my fragile image didn’t create any suspicion.”

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