Mandela was trained by Mossad: Archives

Mandela was trained by Mossad: Archives

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Mandela was trained by Mossad: Archives

Candles are placed infront of the images of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, during a vigil by Palestinians in Old City of Jerusalem. AFP photo

Israeli Mossad agents operating in Ethiopia in 1962 unwittingly trained Nelson Mandela in hand-to-hand combat, weaponry and sabotage, according to a document released by Israel’s state archives.

A letter from a Mossad official to the Foreign Ministry, dated Oct. 11, 1962 titled “THE BLACK PIMPERNEL” and released to the public on Dec. 22, recalls a conversation in which “we discussed a trainee in Ethiopia named David Mobasari, from Rhodesia.” 

“The aforementioned was trained by the Ethiopians in Judo, sabotage and weapons,” the letter read.

“The Black Pimpernel” was the nickname given at the time to Mandela, the revered anti-apartheid hero and former ANC leader who died this month, while he was on the run from white South Africa during the liberation struggle. According to Haaretz newspaper, which first reported the story, the term “Ethiopians” was probably a code name for Israeli Mossad agents working in Ethiopia.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, however, said in a statement that “it has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive (which includes his 1962 diary and notebook) that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year.” Israel was one of South Africa’s closest allies when Pretoria, which had imprisoned Mandela, was facing U.N.-led sanctions in the late 1970s.