web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Yolande Gabai Harmer: Israel’s Secret Heroine


Yolande Gabai Harmer

Yolande Gabai Harmer

Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.

Yolande Harmer was not only Jewish but, as he was to discover, a dedicated Zionist. Sharett, noting the incredible range of contacts this fabulous young Jewess maintained, conceived of recruiting her as a secret agent for the then Jewish settlement in Palestine.

To his amazement, the elegant charmer accepted the mission with enthusiasm, in time becoming Israel’s top spy.

Who was this mysterious seductress, referred to as “Israel’s Mata Hari” and who contributed more than any other to the establishment of the Jewish State? Born in Alexandria to Jewish parents, Yolande, as per the customs of the times, was married off at the age of seventeen to a respectable businessman named Jacques de Botton. A year later the teenage bride became a mother. Her son, Guilbert de Botton, would become a prominent entrepreneur, and his son, Alain de Botton, a world-famous philosopher.

Yolande and Jacques separated after a time and the lovely divorcee evolved into a sparkling socialite and popular journalist.

After the fateful a cocktail party when Sharett recruited her, she went into high gear gathering intelligence in King Farouk’s court in Cairo and made many other important contacts. The senior editors of Al-Ahram, the most widely circulated Egyptian daily newspaper, divulged information to her. Tak ed-Din as-Sulh, the chief assistant of Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam, known as Azzam pasha and Mahmoud Mahlouf, son of the Grand Mufti of Cairo were her admirers and sources of vital intelligence.

When the Swedish ambassador to Egypt, Widar Bagge, became enamored with her, she swayed him to sympathize with the Zionist struggle for self-determination and the freedom of the Jewish people. Eli Peleg, a Yishuv emissary in Cairo, reported Yolande’s success with Bagge: “Several months ago he was indifferent to our cause, but today he is an enthusiastic Zionist.”

Yolande provided the Yishuv with important strategic information, including the texts of resolutions adopted by the Arab League in 1947 and 1948 declaring that they “will sacrifice all the political and economic interest of the Arab world in order to save Arab Palestine.” She also uncovered Arab military plans for the end of the British Mandate for Palestine.

However, during her work in Egypt she often risked not only her own life, but the life of her son, Guilbert. By July 1948, Yoland Harmer’s fabulous luck ran out, and she was arrested. In August 1948 due to her high-placed contacts, she was freed and deported to Paris. Despite her declining health she continued to work for the Middle East Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, becoming a key figure in that department by 1949. In Paris she maintained her Egyptian contacts, continuing to provide Israel with valuable information to the end.

In 1959, Yolande Gabai Har-Mor’s battle with cancer ended. Israel’s remarkable grand lady died in anonymity; only a few have been aware of her great contribution to the establishment of our State.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Yolande Gabai Harmer: Israel’s Secret Heroine”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Harvard seal, "veritas," on the side of a Harvard building.
Harvard Will Investigate, But Will it Reverse SodaStream Boycott?
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

book-elisha-davidson

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

book-path-for-life

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

South-Florida-logo

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

Bais Toras Menachem is proud to welcome its new staff member, Yaakov Mark, who will be the Administrator as well as Ort College and GED class coordinator.

Because she is keenly aware that anti-Semitism may start with the Jews but never ends with the Jews, she makes the logical connection between the opprobrium for both America and Israel so commonplace on the political left.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
LBJ-112114

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Over the years there has been no shortage of reporting about Devorah Halberstam, Ari’s mother. Even in Israel, thousands of miles from the Halberstam home, there have been frequent references in the media to Ari’s mother. Do you know why?

When Hitler entered Prague in March 1939, many Czech Jews managed to escape to Palestine, including Alice’s twin Mariane and her families.

Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.

Who is Rachel Azaria? Would you have guessed that this dynamo is a religious, 35-year-old woman, mother of four children, ranging in ages from ten years to eight months?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/yolande-gabai-harmer-israels-secret-heroine/2013/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: