SpyCast 10.3.23
Ep 605 | 10.3.23

“A Crash Course in Israeli Intelligence” – with Erez David Maisel

Show Notes


Brig. Gen. (res.) Erez David Maisel (Twitter, LinkedIn) joins Andrew (TwitterLinkedIn) to provide a crash-course in Israeli Intelligence history. Erez is a researcher and former head of the IDF’s International Cooperation Division. 

What You’ll Learn


  • Early history of intelligence in Israel
  • The origins of Israeli intelligence organizations
  • Preparing for a Nazi invasion of British Palestine
  • The shift from British to American influence on Israeli intelligence


  • The challenge of survival
  • Conflict and compromise, or lack thereof

And much, much more …

Episode Notes

This week on SpyCast, Andrew was joined by Erez David Maisel to discuss an overview of the history of intelligence and espionage in Israel. Erez formerly served as Brigadier General and Director of the Israel Defense Forces International Cooperation Unit. Currently, he an associate researcher in the Military History Department of the IDF, focusing on Cross-Boundary Defense and Public Crisis Engagement in conflict zones. 

This episode is the first in our 5-part series on Israeli Intelligence. In this month-long series, SpyCast takes a deep dive into the ins and outs of intelligence and espionage in Israel – its intricate history, agencies, major successes and failures, and current state. In this first episode, Erez helps us to lay out a broad roadmap of the history of Israeli intelligence, providing an excellent foundation of knowledge to build upon in the coming weeks. This special series will run throughout the month of October with new episodes released each week. Stay tuned!


Erez is an alumni of the University of Haifa, which sits atop the northeastern slope of Israel’s Mount Caramel mountain rage. On the western side of the range, you can find the The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that documents over 500,000 years of the history human evolution. 

Quotes of the Week

“I would say that from 1909 until probably the early eighties of the 20th century, the biggest threat is survival. You know, this fear that somebody … would come and do something. And we have to protect ourselves from that.” – Erez David Maisel.




*Beginner Resources*



  • A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion, T. Segev (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2019)
  • A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, B. Morris (Yale University Press, 2009)
  • The Sword And The Olive: A Critical History Of The Israeli Defense Force, M. Van Creveld (PublicAffairs, 2002)
  • One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, T. Segev (Picador, 2001)


Primary Sources 

*Wildcard Resource*

  • While this episode focuses mainly intelligence over the past 100 years, the history of espionage in Israel goes back much further. 
  • Check out the Story of the 12 Spies from a portion of the Torah to learn more about biblical spies!