The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

  ..: Israel’s First Madam In Lebanon :..
June 3, 2007

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What motivates me to write about Shulamit Cohen is my encounter with her corrupt son David Kishik, whom I met years ago in the course of my journalistic work, and who turned the Israeli Military-Civil Administration Headquarter in the West bank into a central for furthering his lucrative business transactions and private projects around land theft, mostly from Palestinians but also from Jewish settlers. David has relied on the power and influence of his mother Shulamit, a former madam and national hero of the Israeli Jews, to go unpunished for the crimes he committed as a military officer at the military headquarter, and after his army service, for over 30 years.

Who is Israel’s first Madam ?

A portrait of Shula Cohen during her days in Beirut

“Shulamit Arazi Cohen” is “Shulamit Cohen Kishik” is “Schulamit Mayer Cohen” is “Shula Cohen”. These are some of the names of this former Jewish prostitute, madam and Mossad agent in Lebanon. She provided the State of Israel with valuable state secrets from Lebanon and Syria, and, together with her associates, she is responsible for causing grave troubles to whole banking system of Lebanon of the time. Shulamit (short “Shula”) is also the mother of the corrupt Israeli officer at the Israeli Military-Civil Headquarter in Beit Il, David Kishik. For her actions she has become an Israeli national hero, but her story was whitened and re-invented for purposes of public consumption. Few know the real story.

Shulamit Arazi Cohen was born in 1920 in Argentina to a father who was a trader by profession. The family relocated to Baaqubah, north of Bagdad, in Iraq, and later they moved to Al-Basra in southern Iraq. They emigrated to Palestine through the Iranian port of Abadan in 1937. They arrived in Haifa, and went to live in Jerusalem.

Shulamit’s father and her brother David were killed in separate actions by Palestinian guerillas, and Azar, her first lover from Israel, was killed while stealing land from Palestinians. Her son David, about whom I will write in my next article, was apparently named after this brother.

Shulamit had lots of trouble after the death of her father, as her oldest brother decided not to participate in the responsibility for the big family left behind by their father. Shula’s mother died about a year after the death of the father. To make ends meet she went to work as a secretary in a clinic in “Zahalon Harof” Street in Tel Aviv, where she met an Israeli General native from Poland. She offered herself to him, but the officer was not interested in Shula. Instead he recruited her to work with the Mossad.

Shulamit accepted to work with the Mossad, money probably being one of her motives. Before she started her work as a spy, she was sent into training in  Ha-Kirya in Tel Aviv, where she learned to fulfill her duties as a prostitute for the Mossad. After that, she was sent to London to learn the English language and good manners, and how to “fish in troubled waters” after men of interest for her employer.

Shulamit began her work as a Mossad agent in Beirut in 1947. Her cover was her marriage to Josef Kishik, a Jewish trader from Lebanon who owned a shop in the Sarsaq market in Beirut. Josef traveled to Jerusalem to marry Shulamit in a marriage which had been arranged by their respective Rabbis, in all probability as cover for her intended activities. Under the cover of this marriage, Shulamit pursued her career as a prostitute, madam and Mossad agent, coordinating her activities with a French Jew, trader and fellow Mossad agent called George Moloko, who lived at that time in Lebanon with his wife Ann Mary.

Sexual Favors sold in Beirut

Shulamit sold her favors to hundreds of high government officials in Lebanon between 1947 and 1961. She attended to her customers in her private house in the district of Wadi abu Jamil in Beirut. The first Lebanese government official which Shula hunted down was Mahmoud Awad, who occupied six positions in the Lebanese government of the time.

Shulamit visited the office of Mr. Awad in order to renew her permit of residency in Lebanon. She dressed well and exposed herself to call his attention. During the meeting she realized that the officer was diverted from the official task at hand, looking at her body and making up pretexts for delaying the end of the meeting. She in turn left her passport in his office as a pretext, and after that she fixed a second meeting with him. Shula did not attend to this second appointment with the Mr. Mahmoud Awad on purpose. She called him pretending to be sick, asked that he send her the passport, and gave him her home address. Mr. Awad went himself to give back Shula’s passport, carrying flowers. The prostitute was waiting, and dressed for the occasion. Since this encounter, Mr. Awad became a client of Shula and a regular visitor to her bed.

Shula also succeeded in recruiting the Lebanese official “George Anton” (Antun, Antone, Antoine ?), and she established a group named “Jewish Self-Defense Forces” which infiltrated the Christian-rightist Party Al-Kataeb. With this group she helped to bring Jews from Lebanon and other Arab countries to Israel over the mountain roads of Lebanon. In the course of her mission as a spy, Shula collaborated with the director of the Olympiad Casino, where most of the Lebanese political elite indulged in gambling. In this Casino she met Camille Chamoun, President of the Lebanese Republic 1952-1958.

Camille Shamoun (pic from Wikipedia)

Shula organized a meeting between the Syrian Colonel Adib al-Shishakli, the famous revolutionary who became a President of Syria in 1951, and the Head of the Israeli Staff (1952-1953), General Mordechai Maklef, a terrorist active in the Haganah who later became the 3rd commander of the IDF.

Colonel Adib Al-Shishakli

In 1950, Shula succeeded in stealing the security protocol between the Syrian and the Lebanese governments and passed it to Israel.

Mordechai Maklef (pic from Wikipedia)

By 1956 Shula had expanded her prostitution business: she now owned five more brothels in different places in Beirut, to “fish in troubled waters” after interesting people from the Syrian and the Lebanese governments. The Mossad provided Shula with all the necessary recording equipment, like secrets cameras, to install in the bedrooms of her brothels. Shula engaged a very beautiful Armenian girl of age 14, Lucy Kobelian (or Kupelian) to her brothels as bait for fishing the hungry men. She succeeded in filming many Lebanese government officials with Lucy as well as other girls in her brothels. In this way she installed an army of sleepers within the political system of Lebanon, which hindered any decisions contrary to the interests of Israel. Given the indolent response bordering on irresponsibility from the Lebanese government to last years war of aggression from Israel, a younger generation of this army of sleepers may be in place to this day.

After Shula’s brothels had flourished due to "hard work", she successively engaged more beautiful girls. Among the so engaged were the Jewish prostitutes Rachel Raffoul, apparently native from Aleppo, the sisters Marcella and Ronit Isberans from Greece, and “Fortune”. Rachel Raffoul already had a career in prostitution behind her in Lebanon: she brought along her own stock of clients, who eventually became the clients of Shula’s brothels. Shula herself, now a made woman, was in position to sell her favors to only selected clients, meaning the higher officials and the generals from both the Syrian and Lebanese governments.

Fraud and Bankruptcy

Through the work in her brothels and her cooperation with the Mossad, Shulamit Cohen carried out a perfect spying mission in Lebanon: she and her accomplices caused huge damage to the Lebanese economy. Uniting her effort with George Moloko from the Mossad, collaborating with the Israeli coordinating officer in Beirut Eduard Hess, and relying on the help of her clients, the Lebanese official Mahmoud Awad and others, she and her accomplices embezzled and stole millions from various Lebanese banks and companies. This scandal was covered so as to avoid detection, and in the end just some minor Lebanese employees were ‘sacrificed’ to quite things down.

Edward Hess spread rumors stating that the various Lebanese banks and companies from which they had stolen and embezzled money were “bankrupt”, when they were in fact not, thus causing panic among investors and traders and so deflecting the attention from what was really going on. The stolen monies were smuggled to Israel with the help of those among Shula’s clients who helped the trek of Jews from Lebanon and other Arab countries into Israel over mountain paths. Among those who ran with the money was the Jewish trader Emil Natshoto, who escaped to Israel, as well as the Jewish trader from Tripoli Abraham Mizrahi, who escaped first to Greece and later made his way to Israel. Mizrahi’s fiancée Leila stayed back and cooperated in Shula’s network to organize the departure of other wealthy Jews from Lebanon.

Shulamit Cohen receiving an official reward for her favours rendered for Israel

The Rambo Pub

The prosperity of Shula’s Mossad mission brought her, and which she achieved under the cover of her clients from the Lebanese government, prompted her to establish a center for contacting her spies. She rented a Cafeteria in Al-Hamra’a Street, and converted it into a Pub which she called “Rambo Pub”.

At the “Rambo Pub”, many beautiful girls were engaged to hunt Shula’s clients for the Mossad. One of the people Shula recruited in this way was a simple Lebanese, Muhammad Saed Al-Abed Allah, who knew the mountain paths to sneak into Israel well. Muhammad al-Abed Allah had received good services at Shula’s night pub. He brought in his relatives Fayez and Nasrat Al-Abed Allah to receive the same services, and because they had offered to work for money. Since Shula also had business with Iraq, it looks like Lebanon was a staging are for the Iraqi Jews on their way to Israel, who were terrorized out of that country by false-flag bombings perpetrated by the Mossad with the unwitting help of the British troops present in that country.

These three relatives worked as messengers between Shula in Lebanon and the Mossad in Israel. Shula prepared her reports about the Lebanese and Syrian governments, and the three delivered them to Israel through the mountain paths. The three relatives earned good money from Shula, and the were additionally paid off with the sexual favors of the most beautiful girls at the pub. These three from the Al-Abed Allah family helped many Jews to run away from Lebanon to Israel.

Finally, the Mahmoud Awad, the government officer who had covered Shula’s operations in Lebanon, asked her for some money as a price for his services. Shula became very angry, as she had filmed him with five young girls receiving their “night services”, but in the end Mossad accepted his demands, and gave him what he wanted.

In 1958, a Syrian officer had informed a Lebanese officer about the suspected work of Shula. He got a negative and astonishing response from his colleague, “Shula is above any kind of suspicions !”.

On 9 August 1961, after 14 years of spying and working for the Mossad, Colonel Aziz Al-Ahdab arrested Shulamit Cohen, her husband Josef Kishik, Rashel Raffoul, the Lebanese official Mahmoud Awad, Muhammad, Fayez and Nasrat Al-Abed Allah and 22 other Jewish and Lebanese persons who had worked together in her spying net.

On 25 July 1962, Shulamit Cohen was sentenced to death, which sentence was later commuted to 20 years in jail. Her friend Rachel Raffoul was sentenced to 15 years in jail, and her husband Josef Kishik was released after he appealed. The Lebanese official Mahmoud Awad conveniently died of a heart attack in June 1962, while in jail and one month before the trial.

In 1967, Shulamit Cohen, Rachel Raffoul and two of the Jewish prostitutes were released in a secret prisoner exchange after the Six Day War: they were exchanged against three officers of the Syrian air force (the official version states that they were exchanged for “over 500 prisoners”).

Today Shula is a national hero of Israel and her story has been whitewashed and made “apt for public consumption”. She lives in the oldest Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, Mea Shearim, a settlement which is part of Ramot. It is the neighborhood of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish fundamentalists, the Haredim, who are probably ignorant of her past. Rachel Raffoul lives in Tel Aviv and has a son and a daughter, who both carry other family names. Of the other "girls" nothing is known.

Sign at the entrance of Mea Shearim, the neighborhood where Shulamit lives in retirement.

(Coming soon) Read the story of Shulamit Cohen's corrupt son David Kishik, as he was assigned to the Israeli military civil administration in Beit Il as a reward or “compensation” by the Israeli government to his mother for her services as a prostitute, madam and spy for the State of Israel in Lebanon. 

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