A documentary about Yolande Gabai de Botton (née Harmor), a sophisticated Jewish woman from Alexandria who risked her son’s life and her own collecting intelligence in Egypt while undercover as a reporter. She built up a network of informers, even within The Moslem Brotherhood which provided invaluable information leading up to the creation of the state of Israel.
She was an Israeli spy who probably would have fit more comfortably in the U.S. State Department than her own country’s diplomatic corps. She was a committed Zionist, but her real home was Cairo. Her name was Yolande Gabai de Botton (nee Harmor) and she is considered Israel’s greatest spy. Dan Wolman documents her glamorous but dangerous career in Yolande: an Unsung Heroine, which screens during the
Educated in France, Harmor was a dazzling light on Cairo’s social circuit. She put her charm to good use, gleaning intelligence from highly placed Egyptian officials on behalf of the prospective State of Israel. Ostensibly working as a journalist, she built up a network of informers, even within the Muslim Brotherhood, which proved invaluable to Ben-Gurion (BG as her son knew him) leading up to Israel’s formal establishment. In fact, her final coup was so significant it essentially spelled the end of her espionage work. More ominously, it also attracted the attention of the Brotherhood.
Clearly, Cairo represented Harmor’s glory days, in all respects. Given her affinity for the Egypt and its culture, she was considered something of a dove during her frustrating stint in Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
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