Mossad Brings Home Watch of Israeli Spy Executed in Syria; Netanyahu Hails 'Brave' Op

The Mossad says it regained the hand watch of Eli Cohen, spy who was executed in Syria in 1965. Spy's widow: 'Mossad spoke to us a couple of months ago when the watch was up for sale'

Mossad spy Eli Cohen, executed in Syria in 1965
Archive photo, Eli Cohen estate

The Mossad espionage agency said Thursday that it regained the hand watch of Eli Cohen, spy who was executed in Syria in 1965. 

In the yearly memorial service held in Cohen's honor several weeks ago, Mossad director Yosi Cohen presented the watch his family. 

The watch of famous Israeli spy executed in Syria that the Mossad brought back
Amos Ben Gershom/Laam

>> 1965: A Humiliated Syria Hangs Israeli Spy Eli Cohen

The watch had been held by Syria after Cohen was executed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the Mossad for a "brave action, the goal of which was to return to Israel the memory of a great fighter who contributed significantly to Israel's security."

His widow, Nadia Cohen, told Israeli media that the watch was bought, but she did not know where. "Mossad spoke to us a couple of months ago when the watch was up for sale," she said. "I felt it was part of his body, his blood is on that watch."

Eli Cohen's daughter told Israeli radio that "this is very exciting, it's the first and only thing we have from dad." 

Asked where the watch came from, Cohen's daughter said that the watch "was in an enemy country, probably Syria. It was bought on the internet."

The Prime Minister's Office declined to comment on where the watch was purchased. 

Nadia Cohen added: "The watch has been in Israel for a number of months. This is exciting news. God willing one day his body will be returned too."