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Red Sea Spies
Cover of Red Sea Spies
Red Sea Spies
The True Story of Mossad's Fake Diving Resort
Borrow Borrow

THE TRUE STORY THAT INSPIRED THE NETFLIX FILM THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT. 

'Secret missions, brazen deceptions and thrilling, clandestine operations – Red Sea Spies has it all. But it has something more important, too – a genuine human mission that made a difference.' David Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy

In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury holiday resort opened for business. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies, working for the Mossad – the Israeli secret service.

Providing a front for covert night-time activities, the holiday village allowed the agents to carry out an operation unlike any seen before. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help, turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel.


Written in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including an afterword from the commander who went on to become the head of the Mossad, this is the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation.

THE TRUE STORY THAT INSPIRED THE NETFLIX FILM THE RED SEA DIVING RESORT. 

'Secret missions, brazen deceptions and thrilling, clandestine operations – Red Sea Spies has it all. But it has something more important, too – a genuine human mission that made a difference.' David Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy

In the early 1980s on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury holiday resort opened for business. Catering for divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the holidaymakers know that the staff were undercover spies, working for the Mossad – the Israeli secret service.

Providing a front for covert night-time activities, the holiday village allowed the agents to carry out an operation unlike any seen before. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help, turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel.


Written in collaboration with operatives involved in the mission, endorsed as the definitive account and including an afterword from the commander who went on to become the head of the Mossad, this is the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation.

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  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2020
    The secret history of how Israel spirited thousands of Ethiopian Jews out of their war-torn country well before it became known in the world press. Despite the vague and misleading title of this well-crafted investigative report, Berg, the Middle East editor of the BBC News website, tells an amazing story of the dogged behind-the-scenes workings of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence agency, from the late 1970s to the '90s. Largely ignored until Menachem Begin, a refugee of Nazi persecution, became prime minister of Israel in 1977, the Ethiopian Jews were a devout minority community whom some considered the descendants of the lost Tribe of Dan. They regarded Jerusalem as their spiritual home and followed the tenets of Judaism, such as circumcision, keeping kosher, and observing the Sabbath--although they still believed the Holy Land was occupied by the Romans. When their security was threatened by the outbreak of wars with Ethiopia's insurgent neighbors, the Jews became a political pawn between Ethiopia and Israel--the latter spurred by the determined Begin administration to get the lost Jews safely to Israel, by land, air, or sea, from 1979 onward. Led by Mossad and a team that included Ethiopian Jew Ferede Aklum, the Jews, often traded for arms, were spirited through the Arous Village "resort" in Sudan, which the Israelis essentially bought and reconfigured as a ruse for their efforts in the early 1980s. The careful duplicity with which the Mossad agents acted is a marvel to read, and Berg meticulously re-creates the detail and dialogue. Eventually, the U.S. became involved when the refugee crisis worsened in the mid-1980s. From the first secret airlift until 1991, writes the author, who includes helpful maps and a list of the significant characters, 28,695 Ethiopian Jews were transported to Israel, "about 80 percent of their entire community." Berg's account of the operation--remarkable due to its duration, execution, and success--reads like a spy novel.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 17, 2020
    BBC journalist Berg’s outstanding debut reveals the true story of a secret Israeli operation to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, using a fake holiday resort as a base of operations. Ethiopian Jews had long been cut off from the rest of the world, living in poverty and oppression, and many of them faced hardship and death to walk across the border to Sudan, where they wound up in horrific refugee camps. One such Jew, Ferede Aklum, sent telegrams to aid agencies asking for help, and Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, launched Operation Brothers in Sudan, run by a Mossad agent named Dani with assistance from Aklum. As part of the scheme, Dani created a false company to lease an abandoned diving resort on the Red Sea from the Sudanese government and used it for years as a base to smuggle out people via airlifts and ships. Between 1979 and 1983, Operation Brothers relocated 28,695 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Berg’s moving, well-researched book stands as the definitive account of this heroic rescue mission. It deserves a wide readership.

  • Library Journal

    March 20, 2020

    For centuries, the highlands of Ethiopia were home to a small community of Jews who maintained that Israel was their ancestral land. In the late 1970s, Israel recognized their right to settle there, but moving the community was no simple undertaking. Berg, the Middle East editor for the BBC News website, details the daring operation to bring the Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Israel tasked the Mossad with creating an evacuation plan. But owing to conflicts in Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan, the Ethiopian Jews had to escape in secret. As the number of people wanting to flee grew, the Mossad rented a seaside holiday village from the Sudanese government and set it up as a base for smuggling small groups by sea, hiding escapees right under the noses of vacationers and the government. Drawing from extensive interviews with the leaders of the operation, Berg provides firsthand details, which results in a riveting narrative, reminiscent of a spy novel. VERDICT The coordination that went into this operation is nothing short of incredible. Berg's captivating writing and in-depth research make this a must-have for fans of espionage tales.--Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The True Story of Mossad's Fake Diving Resort
Raffi Berg
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