Last KGB Spy to be Released in Israel

Information about his arrest and conviction was kept secret within 10 years
The most high-ranking Soviet spy detained in Israel, Marcus Klingberg, will be released from under house arrest in two weeks. Marcus Klingberg, 84, has been serving his 20-year sentence for revelation of Israel’s secrets to the Soviet Union. He has been under house arrest since 1998. The punishment was commuted for house arrest because of the prisoner’s poor health: he had suffered from several cerebral hemorrhages by 1998.

Information about arrest of the Soviet spy appeared for the first time in 1991; by that moment, the leading Israeli scientist Marcus Klingberg had been in prison for eight years already. However, Israel’s military censorship allowed journalists to report just basic information concerning the event, no details. Klingberg worked at one of Israel’s most secret military objects. He was arrested in January 1983, and in four months, the man was accused of espionage in favor of the Soviet Union. His family had to keep the information about Klingberg’s location secret. Sometimes the relatives even had to say lies to journalists when they were asked questions about Marcus.

Currently, Marcus Klingberg is 84 years old. Within the years of 1957-1975, he took the post of vice-president of the secret Biological Institute near Tel Aviv and informed the Soviet Union about secret chemical and biological programs of Israel. This spy activity seriously undermined Israel’s capability to protect itself from attacks using weapons of mass destruction.

Yossi Melman, Israeli intelligence specialist, the co-author of a new book called “The Spies: Israel’s Counter- Espionage Wars” says: “No doubt, the case of Marcus Klingberg is the most destructive spy scandal over the whole history of Israel.”

Marcus Klingberg immigrated in Israel in 1948. At the beginning of WWII he escaped from Poland and studied medicine in the Soviet Union. Then he served in the Israeli army as a doctor, worked in the Biological Institute in Nes Ziona and lectured medicine in the University of Tel Aviv. The Institute has been secret for several decades; its activity is still controlled by the military censorship. Scientists of the Institute have been working for Israeli military structures since the country became independent.

In accordance with the information published abroad, the Institute started serious developments of weapons of mass destruction, vaccines and antidotes for different killing substances only at the beginning of the 1960s, when Egypt used a toxic gas during the civil war in Yemen. As Melman informed, Klingberg contacted the USSR for the first time in 1957, and soon after that he started his espionage activity.

Over the years of his work at the Institute, Marcus Klingberg handed results of all researches, including those concerning antidotes developed in Israel, over to the Soviet Union. During the “cold war” the USSR cooperated with the Arab nations. The Israeli authorities decided that information about the vaccines developed in Israel became available for the Arab intelligence services, which certainly deprived the country of effective protection.

Yossi Melman wrote that Klingberg was guided by ideological motives, although at the very beginning he could be recruited as an agent with the help of blackmail. Marcus Klingberg felt obliged to the Soviet Union, where he had found refuge from Nazis and studied medicine. He believed in the doctrine of the deterrent balance; he thought that peace would be guaranteed only in case if the West and the East would had the same weapon.

Israel’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies, Mossad and Shin Beth has been suspecting Klingberg of espionage for many years, but shadowing brought no results. The scientist also successfully passed the lie detector test.

In January 1983, Shin Beth officers decided to employ different methods. They informed Klingberg they wanted to send him to Malaysia where a chemical plant blew up. In several days, the man left home with a suitcase, but he was delivered not to an airport but to some apartment for interrogations that lasted for several days.

Within ten days, Shin Beth investigators browbeat Klingberg and even threatened him with death, and finally wrung a confession from him. The scientists told about his relations with the USSR in detail. In his words, he wasn’t paid for the information he provided.

It is supposed that when the Soviet ex-spy is released, he will go to Paris where his daughter and grand-daughter live.

Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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