An Israeli media report saying that President Reuven Rivlin asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence with Syria to effect the return of the remains of the spy Eli Cohen to Israel was neither confirmed nor denied by Rivlin’s office on Wednesday.
Cohen’s espionage on behalf of Israel is legendary. He was sent by the Mossad to Syria as an undercover agent in 1962 and rose to a senior position in the Syrian government from which he supplied Israel with vital security secrets. Cohen was exposed, tortured and executed on May 18, 1965.
Rivlin was reportedly briefed by Israeli defense officials prior to leaving for Moscow. The meeting was also attended by Cohen’s widow Nadia Cohen, who for more than half a century has sought a way to bring her husband’s remains back to Israel for a Jewish burial.
According to the report, Putin listened to Rivlin’s request and agreed to look into the matter.