Chronology of Zionist intelligence gathering and covert activities before the creation of the State of Israel:
Israel Pre-State Intelligence Timeline | Israel Intelligence Timeline - 1948-1955 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1956-1960 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1961-1967 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1968-1973 |Israel Intelligence Timeline 1974-1982| Israel Intelligence Timeline 1983-1991 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1992-present
Intelligence gathering and covert operations are part of the normal function of any state. Israel has spied, and been spied against. A great deal of the success of Israel, a tiny and weak state for most of its existence, and of the Zionist movement before the creation of the state, was due to its renowned information gathering and covert operations activities, carried out by the Mossad, the IDF and the Shabak. The exploits of Israeli intelligence have been lauded by its friends, and naturally enough, condemned by its enemies. Israeli intelligence has also had a number of failures, and some of them were responsible for key setbacks, such as failure to predict the Yom Kippur War.
These timelines provide detailed accounts of Israeli and Zionist covert activities since 1915.
A Timeline of Zionist and Israeli history provides further context and background
A detailed timeline of the Six Dar War 1967 Six Day War Timeline (chronology)
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|Feb. 1917||The first contact is made between the Netzah Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (NILI) center at Atlit and British intelligence in Cairo. The connection is maintained by sea for several months. The British receive useful information, especially data about location of water sources in the Negev, supplied by Aharon Aaronsohn from Cairo. This aids General Allenby in making a surprise attack on Beersheba by marching through the desert, bypassing strong Turkish resistance in Gaza.|
|Sept.||The Ottoman government intercepts a carrier pigeon sent from Atlit to Egypt, furnishing clear proof of espionage within the Jewish population. One of the group, Na'aman Belkind, is captured by the Turks.|
|1 Oct.||NILI is uncovered by the Turkish authorities, who arrest members in Zikhron Yaakov including Sarah Aaronsohn. Aaronsohn is tortured and is afraid she will give away incriminating evidence. During interrogation she excuses herself to go to the toilet and retrieves a pistol, shooting herself Oct. 5. She dies of her wounds on Oct. 9.y|
|May, 1919||Aharon Aaronsohn is killed in an air accident; Netzah Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (NILI) finally breaks up.|
|1920||The Haganah underground militia is officially established.|
|1936||Ezra Danin, together with Ephraim Dekel and Emmanuel Wilensky, lays the foundations of the Arab Department in the Haganah.|
|June 1940||Shaul Avigur, in a memorandum to the Haganah command, proposes establishing a joint countrywide information service.|
|Sept.||Avigur's proposal goes into effect, and the Information Service (Sheruth Yedioth, or Shai), the Haganah's intelligence arm, is officially established.|
|1941||The Palmach underground militia creates the Syrian Platoon, commanded by Yisrael Ben-Yehuda and Yehoshua (Josh) Palmon, who made a major specialist contribution to Shai; members of the platoon speak Arabic and operate in Syria.|
|1942||Mossad Le'Aliya Bet activities are wholly suspended since there is no possibility of smuggling Jews out of Europe, and Aliya Bet is suspended to allow cooperation with the British.|
|1943||The Palmach sets up the Arab Platoon, a unit of combat and intelligence officers disguised as Arabs for covert missions. It is known by its codename Shahar.|
|1944||The Palmach sets up the German Platoon, consisting of German speaking Palestinian Jews, commanded by Shimon Avidan. They are parachuted into Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to encourage resistance and collect intelligence. Mossad Le'Aliya Bet activities are resumed when Palestinian Jews learn the full extent of the "Final Solution."|
|1945||Yolande Harmer is recruited in Egypt to the Political Department of the Jewish Agency during a visit to Egypt by the department's head, Moshe Sharett; posing as a journalist, she is considered one of the best spies in Egypt.|
|July||Bricha (Escape), an organization for the illegal immigration movement of Jews to Palestine from postwar Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, begins activities.|
|1946||In Hadera, Palmach's Arab Platoon organizes courses on intelligence, as a result of cooperation between Zerubaval Vermal (Arbel), nicknamed Chifab, later a founder of combat intelligence in Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and Yehoshua Flomin. Participants are taught Arabic and hear lectures to gain an acquaintance with the Arabs.|
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Timeline of Israeli Intelligence & Covert Ops