web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Bibi: ‘Death From Above, Death From Below’ Will Not Continue
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

What Hashem desires most is that we learn to connect with each other as children in the same family.

Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

Respler-072514

The real solution to bullying is to empower the bullied child.

Time outs increases compliance and positive behavior far more than other forms of discipline

Interestingly, sometimes people who have a very high self-awareness may experience intense reactions to circumstances that others might respond to more mildly.

“You Touro graduates are automatically soldiers in [Israel’s] struggle, and we count on you,” Rothstein told the graduates.

The lemonana was something else. Never had we seen a green drink look so enticing.

On his marriage, he wrote: “This is what I believe: something of the core, of the essence of this meaningful and life-affirming Judaism will not be absent from our home” (1882).

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
LBJ-032814-Halberstam

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?

LBJ-031414

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?

The relatively young Eitam battalion has become instrumental in IDF Southern Command’s Division 80’s efforts to keep up with the ever-changing security situation in Sinai after the fall of the Mubarak regime – and the entry of terrorist elements to the region.

Eishet Chayil is a hymn customarily recited on Friday evenings before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal. It is a twenty-two verse poem at the conclusion of the book of Mishlei, describing the woman of valor as the ideal wife and mother.

The Nazi officers and their wives were flattered to have the beautiful, poised Arab aristocrat at their parties.

Widow of world-famous nuclear scientist and human rights activist, Dr. Andre Sakharov, and an outstanding activist in her own right, Yelena Bonner was invited to speak of the suffering she endured in Stalinist Russia. Instead, the 86-year-old leader of the Russian human rights movement chose to speak about Israel and the Jews. Why?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: