Eli Cohen Trail
Eli Cohen Trail
Between 1962 and 1965, Eli Cohen worked in Damascus under an assumed name. He was known as “Kamel Amin Thaabet”, and he assumed the role of a Syrian businessman who returned from Argentina to his homeland. In January of 1965 he was caught, and on May 17th he was hanged.
In Syria, those condemned to death are hanged with their bill of indictment pinned to their clothes. It is said that before his death, Eli Cohen said aloud in Hebrew in front of the entire crowd in the city square: “I request to remove this indictment from me. I am not a spy, but a messenger of my people, of the People of Israel.” The Syrians present were shocked, and – although this was not usually done – they removed the bill of indictment from his clothes, and he was left with only a white robe. Only after his death by hanging, did they again pin the indictment on his clothes.
During his work as a spy for Israel, Eli Cohen passed on much vital information about Syrian army activity on the border of the Golan Heights, the Jordan Headwaters Diversion Project, and the battle over water in the area. Thanks to Eli Cohen’s work, there were many great successes in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War: strategic control, control over water sources, and a large area for villages and farms.
The Eli Cohen Trail connects 8 stations that are adjacent to Road 98 – the eastern road of the Golan – which is 70 kilometers long. Every station is connection in some way to the work and activities of Eli Cohen in Syria.
In this article, we are referring to the stations from south to north. The trailhead is the parking lot of Hamat Gader, and the last station is next to Kibbutz Merom Golan.
The artist who created the sculptures is Yuval Lupan of Kibbutz Ginnosar, and the entire Eli Cohen Trail project is the brainchild of tour guide Gil Brenner.